EASY BEEF FRIED RICE
The beef fried rice served on a typical Chinese takeout menu has always been one of my favorites (at least when you get to the fried rice column). You may not think twice about adding wok heat to your stir-fried meat with onions and peas.
Judy would agree with me, as I discovered it was her favorite fried rice dish just after we met! What a deal-breaker for me (among other things!)
When we’re on the road and in need of some fresh vegetables, we head to the next Chinese takeout restaurant to get our fix of greens and a decent takeout-style beef fried rice. All kidding aside, we still do this even now.
The use of MSG in cooking has been hotly debated in recent months (Monosodium Glutamate, read more about it here). It’s not uncommon for takeaway to be enhanced by a little MSG flavoring.
That MSG is still hotly debated—some say it’s fine, while others claim food poisoning—doesn’t need to be reminded. Check out some of the debate in our post about egg drop soup in the comments!
Nevertheless, as a kid of two Chinese restaurant owners, I would be lying if I said that a little MSG here and there doesn’t provide a fantastic kick and that restaurant-quality beef fried rice.
The decision to use MSG is ultimately yours, but if you’re curious and don’t have any sensitivities, this recipe for beef fried rice is an excellent starting point for your exploration.
FOR THE BEEF:
- 10 oz. of flank steak(285g, cut into bite-sized pieces)
- ¼ tsp. of salt
- 1 tbsp. of water
- 1/8 tsp. of baking soda (optional, but good for tougher cuts of meat)
- 1 tsp. of dark soy sauce (mushroom flavored preferred)
- 1 tsp. of cornstarch
- 1 tsp. of oil
FOR THE REST OF THE DISH:
- 1 tbsp. of hot water
- ¼ tsp. of sugar
- ½ tsp. of sesame oil
- 1½ tbsp. of soy sauce
- 2 tsp. of dark soy sauce
- ½ tsp. of MSG (totally optional!)
- Fresh ground white pepper
- 5 cups of cooked rice
- 3 tbsp. of canola oil (divided)
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- 1 medium onion (diced)
- 3/4 cup of peas
- 1 scallion (chopped)
- 1 tbsp. of Shaoxing wine
- First, mix the beef with salt and water, baking soda, dark soy sauce, cornstarch, and oil in a bowl. Then, cook the steak until it is no longer pink. Dispose of. Although it’s often considered bad practice to marinate meat in water, this fried rice dish benefits from adding a small amount of water to keep the beef soft and moist.
- Add the sugar, sesame oil, soy sauces (if used), MSG (if using), and white pepper to a small basin of hot water and mix well. The sauce you’ll be adding to the rice is considerably easier to prepare ahead of time, so you can start cooking right away.
- Fluff your cooked rice with a fork or your hands (you can rinse your hands in cold water if the rice starts sticking to them). It’s better to break up any clumps in cold leftover rice before cooking.
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a wok over medium-high heat, add the eggs, and scramble until they’re barely done. You can begin scooping them up when they appear to be about finished. Set them aside in the same basin you used to combine them. Afterward, you’ll re-heat them in the rice, where they’ll continue to cook.
- When the wok is hot but not burning, add 1 tablespoon of oil and coat the entire surface of the pan. Allow the marinated beef to sear for 20 seconds before moving on to the next layer. After that, cook the meat in a stir-fry until it’s 70 percent done. Put the steak in the marinade basin and let it sit for a while.
- In a wok set over medium heat, add the remaining tablespoon of oil and cook the onions for 2 minutes or until transparent. Remove any large clumps of rice with a spatula before adding it to the pot. Continue to stir-fry the rice for around 5 more minutes if it is cold from the fridge. Adding a few drops of water to huge clumps of rice will aid in their disintegration.
- Add the sauce mixture to the hot rice. Using a scooping motion, stir the rice until all of the grains are coated in the sauce. By now, the rice should be at a safe temperature. Next, add the beef and any fluids from the bowl you set aside, and continue to stir fry for a further one minute.
- Add the eggs, peas, and scallions, breaking up any large clumps. Take a 30-second break from the pan’s heat and continue stirring. Allow the wok’s outer rim to heat up before adding the rice. Pour 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine into the wok’s outside rim after about 20 seconds. Continue cooking for another 20 seconds. This way of adding wine enhances the wok hei of the food. After tasting the rice, add salt, soy sauce, and white pepper as desired. Then, serve.
- Serve immediately, and don’t forget the homemade chili oil if you’re anything like us.