My kids are addicted to chicken fried rice. It’s probably because we take them to restaurants where food is so spicy that the only thing they can eat on the menu is the fried rice. In the last few years they have been systematically ordering fried rice when we go to any Asian restaurant in Sydney.
But when we don’t go out much because we’re busy fixing up our house (an endless task) I make them my special “Chicken fried rice with Vietnamese mint”. I get so many positive statements and so much praise that I make myself a favour putting this one on the menu.
What makes this chicken very tasty and special, is the beautiful herb I put in it. We grow Vietnamese mint in the garden. It is a very big and healthy bush. I steal a leaf every time I walk past it. It is simply delicious.
If you’re an Asian cuisine pro, you’ll notice that I make things outside the golden rules. I don’t use a wok, I don’t heat the oil first, I mix cultures and ingredients. I would surely do my French snob attitude if someone did this to French cuisine. I am totally double-faced here…
In the case of fried rice, I want to do things quick and to my taste without fuss. So I just follow a simple sequence of events. Splash of oil in cold pan, I drop the cut ginger and garlic or grate it over the pan with my beloved Microplane.
I used to heat the oil but if I take too much time to cut things, or forget the oil while I am dealing with a kid or the burning dessert, I carbonise the garlic which gives a bitter taste to the dish… Now my strategy is to drop everything cold in the pan and heat, keeping an eye on it :)
I divide my bunch of Vietnamese mint and keep 10% to sprinkle at the end with chopped scallions and lime. The rest goes into the pan.
I even keep a few nice little heads of mint to decorate the bowl(s).
When the tasteless vegetable oil (canola) is hot and the ginger & garlic is fragrant but not burnt, I drop the chopped chicken. My trick is: I very quickly spread it without stirring, just making sure the bits are well spread.
I leave them untouched at very high temperature until I see one piece is well caramelised. Then I stir quickly once and leave it be for a few minutes.
When I think the chicken is golden enough but still very tender and even uncooked inside, I push it at the back of the pan. I tilt it to get oil running towards me. I drop 3 whole eggs there.
I scramble them a little and mix is with the rest. I add the sauces and rice. More sauces to adjust the taste.
I hope you like my Asian fusion version of Chicken fried rice. Let me know how you found this recipe :)
If you don’t have Vietnamese mint, use coriander or shiso or just leave it out. But if ever you find this special Vietnamese mint, please do use it. It makes the dish.
- 2 cups of rice
- 3 tbs tasteless vegetable oil such as canola or peanut
- 2 cloves of garlic
- a 3 cm knob of ginger
- 600 g chicken thighs (boneless, skinless) and/or breast
- 3 eggs
- 3 scallions or spring onions
- 1 big brown onion (optional)
- 4 twigs of Vietnamese mint: keep the cute top leaves to decorate the bowl(s); keep 1 twig to sprinkle at the end.
- 1 tbs grated palm sugar
- ½ cup light soy sauce
- 3 tbs fish sauce
- 2 tbs rice vinegar
- 1 cup frozen peas
- ½ lime juice (optional)
- At least an hour before making the stir fry (up to a day before), pour dry rice in a non-stick saucepan. Rinse it until water is clear. Cover with water until you have 1.5 cm of water over the rice. Put a lid on the pan. Place on high heat until it starts boiling, then reduce to low heat for 10 to 15 mins, until the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked. Tip in a cold bowl and leave it to dry, uncovered on the kitchen bench from 1 h to overnight.
- When rice is cold and dried enough, start the stir-fry. Chop chicken in 2 to 3 cm cubes. Chop scallions in 3 cm bits, same with Vietnamese mint (Keep the top part or leaves of the mint to decorate, keep the equivalent of a chopped twig in a separate bowl to sprinkle at the end), chop onion in 1 to 2 cm bits and set all this aside in separate plates or bowls.
- Pour oil in a large frying pan. Finely chop or grate ginger and garlic. Tip in the pan.
- Heat pan at high temperature. When oil is hot and ginger & garlic are fragrant but not burnt, drop chicken. My trick is: very quickly spread it without stirring, just make sure the bits are well spread. Leave them untouched at very high temperature until you check one piece and it's well caramelised. Then I stir quickly once and leave it be for a few minutes.
- When chicken is golden but still very tender and even uncooked inside, push it at the back of the pan. Tilt it to get oil running towards you. Drop 3 whole eggs there. Scramble them a little and mix is with the rest.
- Tip palm sugar. Let chicken caramelise a bit.
- Tip sauces (soy, fish, vinegar) let them coat the chicken and caramelise more.
- Add 90% of chopped Vietnamese mint.
- Tip rice, stir well and break the lumps .Stir in the chopped brown onion. Once everything is well combined correct seasoning by adding soy if not salted enough. Keep stirring on high heat to caramelise rice.
- Off the stove, add chopped scallions, the rest of the mint, lime juice. Stir well. If you want, tip in a serving plate or serving bowls and place the top of the Vietnamese leaves to decorate. Serve.