Sunday, February 17, 2008

Fried Rice......Learn how I dress up my "Leftover Queen" !

At the work-area of my grandma’s kitchen, my mother and aunt sit around a small high-table- chopping board, cutting beans and carrots, some diced and some julienned ….. my grandma gives them a plate with thinnest omelets which they cut into thin strips while the elderly maid of the house, doing the laundry, slips in some gossip story which she gathered on her latest visit to the local market…… and me sitting there cross-legged in one corner, with my ears and eyes wide open, watching the whole activity…..I enjoyed those moments listening to their warm chit-chats……juicy gossips….chop-chops……… leading to a plate of fancy looking dishes like fried rice and noodles !

Those days these dishes were some sort of special foods made only when all of them get-together at my grandma’s house . Down the road, somewhere I remember my mother getting all excited at the mere mention of the popular Chinese restaurant in town, Chiyang, and all of us visiting this chic restaurant, with uncles and aunts. In that dimly lit restaurant, I remember my mother ordering her favourite sweet corn chicken soup; somehow the sweet corns did not make a very good first impression with me and I sat there waiting for the rest of the food to be served……that tangy smell of the dishes and exotic look of the fried rice did tickle my taste buds even at that very young age. My mother tried different permutations and combinations to reproduce the same look and taste but still that fancy restaurant won over her daughter. After a while, Bimbis became the talk of the town, especially among the teenagers, with its fancy menu and self-service counters; and on one of my visits there, I saw the sous-chef throwing veggies into a huge pan, followed by that sizzling sound and then holding the pan effortlessly with his right hand and doing tossing technique quite impressively. The fried rice I tasted there had some resemblance to that of the first chic restaurant I mentioned earlier. From there it has been a relentless travel, finding the other pieces of the big puzzle, to dress up fried rice the way I wanted it to be!!

Till now, I have not come close anywhere to” that taste” of my childhood love, but here is what the best I have come up with and surprisingly, now this happens to be “the” recipe my friend R has been looking for and has been asking me to blog for a long-long time now. Fried rice, a popular Chinese dish cooked with leftover rice fried along with some veggies and meat and seasoned with soy sauce has been so popular in India that it has innumerable Indo-Chinese versions to it. It has become so accepted and admired among the Keralites that fried rice has become one main dish served at the time of family gatherings and this is mostly an Indo-Chinese or I am afraid to note, a Kerala-Chinese version!!! I would not be surprised, two-three decades from now, if a school kid claims it to be a staple food of Kerala!!! No offence to anyone here, but the frequency at which we whip up this dish and the adaptability to this one, combined with the fast pace at which the “cereal generation” is growing up, makes me wonder about such a probability.

When I first started cooking this dish, there were a number of times I had to cook the rice twice as the first batch would have got too mushy and sticky, making the final dish look like a sticky rice ball. Some cooking show that caught my attention while flipping channels came up with the best tip ever,” use leftover refrigerated rice when you make fried rice”. That’s when I realized, it is important that rice should be completely cooled and grains should be separated. My mother shared the second best tip, “never miss spring onions, celery and capsicum”. I always stick to these two pointers while preparing it and then adjust the seasonings and sauces, to my taste. Please note that this recipe is developed purely to appease my taste-buds so it may or may not suite your palate :)

Ingredients: To Fry & Cook the Rice:
  • 1 ½ cup Basmati Rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil or vegetable oil
  • Salt to Taste
For the final cooking:
  • 1 tbsp ginger & garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup boneless chicken, cooked and shredded into small pieces
  • 1 large egg, to scramble
  • 3 tbsp carrot, chopped into small pieces
  • 4 tbsp bell peppers/capsicum (green & red), chopped into small pieces
  • 2tbsp cabbage, finely chopped (Optional)
  • ¼ cup celery, chopped into small piece
  • 1 ½ tbsp white bulb of scallions/green onions/spring onion, chopped into small pieces
  • ¼ cup green stalks of, scallions/green onions/spring onion, chopped into small pieces
  • 2-3 tbsp Olive oil/vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • ½ - ¾ tbsp soy sauce
  • ½- ¾ tbsp green chili sauce
  • ½ tbsp rice vinegar
  • ½ tbsp ketchup
  • ½ tsp black or white pepper, freshly ground
  • Salt to taste
  • Wash and drain the rice on a paper towel. When it is medium dry, heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan and add rice to this and stir continuously for less than a minute in low heat and transfer it to a microwave safe bowl and pour 3 cups of water and sat to taste; pop it in the microwave and cook for 23-25 minutes or until rice is done. Stove-top Method: Boil water in a heavy bottom cooking vessel, and when it comes to boil, add rice and bring it to a boil again and then reduce the flame and cook covered in low-medium heat, until rice is fully done and water is absorbed.
  • Using a fork, gently separate the rice, so as not to get sticky (or even transfer to a large platter) and the rice should be cooled thoroughly before you start the final cooking. (Note: You may use leftover rice for this preparation or refrigerate the freshly cooked rice to make sure that it is completely cool and not to end up with mushy rice.)
  • Heat up 1 tbsp oil, in a large wok or any round-bottomed vessel, throw in chopped ginger and garlic, when it is medium hot and stir-fry till it turn transparent. Do not let it burn. Now add the white bulb of the scallions/spring onions , stir; add bell peppers, carrots, celery and stir fry, with a dash of salt and pepper, for 1 -2 minutes in medium heat and when it is soft yet crunchy, add the chopped cabbage and half of the green stalks of scallions/spring onion. Toss everything together as leaves get cooked fast and transfer to a plate or depending on your expertise and largeness of the pan, you may slide everything to the side of the wok.
  • Add the rest of the olive/vegetable oil, and break one large egg, directly into the pan; with a quick salt and pepper action, stir the egg continuously to get fine scrambled egg and transfer to a plate or slide to the side of the wok. (Note: Alternatively, you can make an omelet and cut them into fine pieces on a chopping board.) Add the cooked shredded boneless chicken and toss them in oil with a mild seasoning of salt and pepper, transfer to a plate or slide to the side of the wok.
  • Heat 1 tbsp sesame oil, add the cooked and cooled rice and stir well, in medium-high heat. When the rice is warm and separated nicely, add the cooked veggies, scrambled egg and shredded chicken and mix well. Now start sprinkling rice vinegar, sauces and ketchup one by one and stir and mix well. Do a taste test and adjust the salt and turn off the stove. Remove the wok from the stove and add the rest of the green stalks of the scallions/spring onion, mix well. The heat from the rice will slowly soften the leaves, leaving a nice aroma to the entire dish. (Note: the strength of the soy sauce and green chily sauce differ depending on the brands, so any addition of these ingredients should be in small drops if you use more than what is suggested in the recipe.)

Here’s a carry-out box ready for YOU with a fortune cookie :)

Have a great week ahead!

No part of the content ( articles, photographs, recipes) of this blog may be reproduced without my written permission.Copyright © 2007-2010 All rights reserved.


  1. Dear,What a coincidence!Y'day I was thinking about the Bimbis and the high chairs , the hot fried Rice and Cauliflower manchurian,which we used to have on our practical days...That taste is still in my memory...Your fried rice exactly looks like the one from Chiyang..Mukalile Bimbis le Biriyani kazhichittundo??

  2. "I would not be surprised,2-3 decades from now,if a school kid claims it to be a staple food of kerala!"
    Shn, u need not wait 2-3 decades;even now kids have started thinking like this!

    U reminded me of Bimbis' taste ;used to visit almost daily as my office was very near &their taste was addictive!
    Hey,ure fried rice as well as the post re great as always;&photos especially the last one with the fortune cookie is superb!:)

  3. I do love these kind of dishes. They are so comforting and easy. Love all the flavors you used!

  4. Nice post! I think most people of many generations began their exploration of Chinese food with Sweet Corn Chicken soup and Chilli Chicken and Fried Rice. I have been to Bimbis, ages ago, are you talking about a place in Cochin?

  5. u r a gd story teller mishy. i could very well imagine u and ur family enjoying chinese meal:)
    i am surprised at the way we indians adopting other cuisines to suit our taste:) well, chinese(To be precise indo-chinese) is my fav too and i like to experiment using indian ingredients when making them:) can i have that carry-out box plz plz...

  6. i love your write ups and the presentation and the fried rice looks sinfully delicious....i am sure it tastes also!

  7. Lovely post mishmash! The Fried Rice looks great and the green box too..:D


  8. A very good visual appeal and your blogtorial brings memories.
    Well done , mishmash !

  9. shn, fried rice is my favourite way to use up leftover rice...your's look s lovely...and is that box coming my way ;-)

  10. Hi girl, sorry I late to come here, had a routine dental appointment at 8.30, just came home.
    Fried rice looks like a whole meal in meal in one. Loved reading the childhood experience. I agree, we never cam reproduce the same taste as our grandmothers did but we can always try!:))

  11. Love the way you narrate and picturize your memories with the food you present. I have not tried bimbis not able to relate to that.But your fried rice looks picture perfect.

  12. This is a good way to make Fried Rice, as you said there are sooo many variations, and everytime the result is unique and delicious:) Love the garnish and the take out box..cute!

  13. you took me down the memory lane ... when our gang used to trail down from class trying to escape sister Beata's class and end up savoring the aromas and taste of Bimbis:)
    this is the easiest dish we can come up with to satisfy the taste buds of the cereal generation.

  14. I had no idea that fried rice was so popular in Kerala. I can't remember my mom ever making this. I do make this a lot though, and with leftover rice.;-)

    Love your take-out box.:)

  15. Beautiful pics! love fried rice!!

  16. Mishmash you used to go to Bimbis. We used to be regulars there. As i had to go near to the jos junction for Maths tution :-(( was never good with numbers.
    When ever i go back home i still go to bimbis.
    I do agree in my place fried rice was made only for special occasion.
    The way you wrote about maid giving all the new gossips, even in our place it was like that :-)))

  17. Shn, that fried rice looks so phenomenal, it's not even funny! Thanks for the helpful tips. I loved your story... Made me a bit nostalgic thinking about my family. Nice post! :)

  18. I like reading this post ,it reminded me about our first intro to chinese food joints ...
    urs way of making fried rice looks so delicious ...
    we also make fried rice whenevr we have some left over form our afternoon meals ..
    hugs and smiles

  19. Thanks for that cute take-out box, Shn :). Awesome story and food, i am thinking of the countless platters of fried rice and bowlfuls of hot-and-sour soup that i polished off in Chung-Wah :-D.

  20. I also make the rice inthe morning for making fried rice in the evening. missed the celery and sp onion this time, next time will heed to ur mom's tip.

  21. love your post It reminds me of my childhood days. I always wondered how the restaurant fried rice looks so perfect now I see the point . Thanks for the wonderful tips and nice recipe. Love the Take out box.

  22. The maid gossiping about a story reminded me of my 'those' days :-) Will always cherish, love and miss them.. 'Chinese Fried Rice' and 'Tamate Ka Kut' combo is a fav in my house. Love it anytime..

  23. always love to read your stories and experiences. Fried rice is really a meal in itself. Can just about add any leftover to it , and Viola !!! u have a meal !!

  24. mishmash....same here .....two yrs back i had tasted chinese fried rice in "avenue regent" a restaurant in cochin..and i was hooked to it...may be i was too hungry or my taste buds were extra-ordinary that day...but till date my taste buds havent experienced anything like that.....
    beautiful presentation esp the carry out box ..very unique color..

  25. That looks perfect Shn and so well packaged too... cute.

  26. mm..although i love fried rice a lot..for me given proper naadan onnu any day!!;-P

    maybe fried rice is something to be relished once in a while..fried rice looks very appetiszing..thats the best part of it!! :-)

    and as always very enjoyable read a big fan of Bimbis too..

  27. Your grandma made all these? She rocks. If I decide to make fried rice the next day, I will make sure there is leftover white rice from the previous day. It helps.

  28. loved ur carry out box!! and i know what you are talking about the kerala - chinese version!! :))

  29. Your pix are just breathtaking and I am craving some good ole indo chinese myself. Hmmmm perhaps will change the menu from tomato rice to fried rice ;o)

  30. This dish is an absolute favourite of mine and everytime I make it, I try something different :) I wish I was there to have some with you.

  31. that looks lovely. i normally make pulao :) love the packing and the cute fortune cookie. u get to buy them as such, is it? (the cookies i mean)

  32. Heard about the places you mentioned..never been to them....Lovely read and great recipe

  33. One of my fav...The write up is great...and the off to ou..i have heard about bimbis..but never been to one :(

  34. hi,
    absolutely love u r write ups and recipes and the amazing details u give to simplify it.pls dont ever close u r blog.can u blog a recipe using chicken sausage? most malayalee hindus dont have a clue how to make it.
    regards r

  35. Shn, pls drop by my blog when you get a moment. There's a surprise for you waiting there! :)

  36. SO yummy... and I agree with you about the thing you say will happen in 2-3 decades... it may well become the quintessential Mallu rice.

  37. I make fried rice very similar to yours Shn and hence I can say that this really comes close to the ones we get in restaurants.I second your mum that capsicum and celery are essential for its taste.I would also include scrambled egg.

    I think in Kerala ,vegetable ghee rice is also known generally as fried rice.And thank you Shn, I made your vegetable ghee rice and I have stopped looking for another recipe.It was the best!

  38. Yummy and clever...nicely dressed indeed!

  39. KF, mukalile bimbis' kayari biriyani kazhikkan pocket money kondu pattillayirunnu....student life alle....appo engane oru plate fried rice & manchurian okke vangi share cheythu kazhikkumayirunnu.....:)

    Liz, yeah....cant blame these kids as they get lots of exposure .....and think that only fried chicken and burger is exciting enough :)

    Meeta, thank you :)

    Sra, I'm talking about one of the bimbis in cochin, there were a handful of locations for bimbis that time...:)

    Sia, yeah I know about your love for indo-chinese....have seen quite a few dishes in your blog :) sure, carry out center is still open, u can take one :P

    Saswati, Siri, Anamika, Sunita, Thank you girls.....every home has their own versions of this particular one and still it comes out tasty right :)

    Asha, pls dont say sorry, you re never late, really appreciate your continued support and feedbacks :) we can never reproduce the taste from grandma's kitchen and so is the case with such fancy restaurants that lured us during our childhood :)

    Pravs, Namratha, RV Thanks a bunch :)

    Nanditha, we used to be at 'the oven' enjoying their yummy chicken rolls and chocolate dipped donuts :D

    Tbc, Manasi, Thank You :)

    happy Cook, I was also never good with numbers....jos junction ennoke paranju enne nostalgic aakkiyallo.. :)

    kalai, jaya, Thank you friends :)

    Musical, where is chung-wah..?

    Vimmi, shriya Mona, kajal, Thankuuuu :)

    Rashmi, most of the restaurants in cochin serves very good fried rice....Av. Regent is one among them...then there was another one Pandal, which also to used serve one of the tastiest fried rice...

    Laavanya, Thanks :)

    Mathew, naadan oonu - oru heavenly feeling aanu....athum nalla naadan restuarant/chaaya-kada-yil ninnum kittunna oonu with meen curry, thoran, pappadam et al...slurrrp! :)

    Suganya, oh yes, granny was quite a talented cook..used to prepare lots of exotic dishes...miss her a lot:(

    Superchef, Anuzi, Cynthia, Thanks girls :)

    nags, yes dear, u can buy them and most of the take -out places give one or two along with the orders. You may give a blog search if you want to try them at home, I have seen few posts where it's baked at home kitchens.

    Rachel, mahe, Thank you so much....:)

    ANonymous, Thanks for following my posts and would post one recipe soon. Hope you re referring to hot dogs we get back home and not the Italian sausage we get here. Btw, pls dont let your personal inferences into a generalized statement, as I'm a mal hindu and my families cook this a lot and these days I dont think there is any such visible differences when it comes to cooking and food, unless and until if someone's a vegetarian by choice!

    Kalai, Thanks dear....I was flattered :)

    Raaga, yeah even I doubt that.....!

    Sumitha, yeah...back home its a mid point bw'n fried rice and ghee rice....:) Thanks for the feedback dear...happy to know that you liked it a lot :)

    Cakespy, Thanks :)


  40. late aayippoyi.. :)
    love fried rice, and your story too..

  41. I really love your Chinese take-out box... and your version of fried rice. Your mom is so right, spring onion for me is a must.

  42. Nice reading ur story..nice recipe..ur final pic looks so cute..

  43. Arrrgh! If the recipe blogosphere were a commodity market, you'd be the market leader. Hmmmph!


    This time I decided I was NOT going to use your recipe. I thought I'll check out some other sites for a fried rice recipe. But you know what? They were all lacking. I checked out nearly 30 bloges. Ew!

    And I'm back now with my tail between my legs. (wait a minute! :O when did I grow a tail?? Ahem! nevermind)

    You've spoiled me for other foodie boggers :((


    I'm going to try this recipe tonight. Some friends are coming over. Feegars craasssed!

    Muah! Ciao!

  44. Thanx for this wonderful recipe. It turned out to be the yummiest fried rice that I had ever made!!!
    Keep up the good work.

    PS:When you get time, plz post a chinese side dish recipe to go with the rice.

  45. thank u....tomorrow is my wedding anniversary and I am going to make this...
    can u plz post any chinese side dish for this...
    chilli beaf if possible...

  46. Since some of you are fraom cochin, I have a questions to ask. My favourite restaurant while I was growing up was Malaya Restaurant.

    Has anyone tried thier chilli chicken and fried rice?

    The recipe mentioned above reminds me of Malaya fried rice.

    Great job.

  47. turned out great.....thnx for recipe

  48. Hi You have a good collection and variety of interesting recipes. you can visit my blog view my recipes and give ur comments.

  49. Hi You have a good collection and variety of interesting recipes. you can visit my blog view my recipes and give ur comments.

  50. Awesome dishes Shn.I have been visiting your blog and trying out dishes and they are all a big hit with my family and are all praises for it{ when I actually am culinarily challenged } Thanks for sharing ,you make my life easier')

  51. Please someone send me the receipe of chiyang's Chilli chicken...

  52. hi mishmash.....tried ur recipe and it turned out hsband loved it...thanks a lot :-)


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