Fried Rice with Ham (or Bacon) | 火腿炒飯
Fried rice made with ham or bacon is a popular item at any shop that serves fried rice. It’s a great way to clean out the fridge for moms and kids love them because it’s super tasty. There are secrets to making a fluffy, not sticky fried rice and a secret to create that “restaurant only” smoky flavor.
We were left with a 6.7 lb ham for Christmas while our family went on a vacation. I roasted it up but there were only two of us(and two puppies) so we probably still had 6.5 lb left when we were done with it. Time to think of ways to gobble up the leftover!
Fried rice is one of those one-plate dishes that’s got a bit of everything. In Taiwan it is often eaten on its own as a meal, but in the US restaurants pile it up with sweet and sour and other tasty meat dishes.
This fried rice calls for ham or bacon chopped up into 1/2″ pieces and stir fried with rice, eggs, cabbage, onion and carrots. If you’re using raw bacon then you might need to fry it up before everything else is added to the wok, but the bacon fat gives the dish a deeper flavor and it’s super tasty!
Another variation you can do with this ham fried rice recipe is to add chopped pineapple to it and it’s a “Hawaiian fried rice”! Just make sure you squeeze out most juice from the pineapple(if using pineapples from a can) so the fried rice doesn’t get soggy.
I like my fried rice loaded with veggies to make it a healthier meal, so it may seem like a lot of veggies are added to the dish. Other vegetables that would be great for this recipe are: green beans, green onions, and lettuce to substitute the cabbage.
When adding as much veg as I do, the texture of the rice often gets ruined from the moisture of the veggies. The way your rice is cooked and the choice of rice becomes really important. Both long and short grain are often used in Taiwan, short grain’s got a chewier and stickier texture and the long grain contains less moisture resulting a fluffier and dryer rice. Most restaurants in the US opt for long grain and often the Thai Jasmine rice for it’s not as hard and dry as Basamati but still soft, fluffy and flavorful when stir-fried. I’ve also found most brown rice provides amazing flavor and texture when fried, it’s one of my favorites.
When I make rice intended for frying later, I reduce the amount of water the rice is cooked with. For example: the instruction suggests cooking 1 cup of rice with 1-1/4 cup of water, I usually wash the rice, drain well and cook 1 cup of rice to 1 cup of water. Since there’s still water remaining from rinsing the rice, adding just 1 cup of water has been the perfect amount for me. This rice can be served with a main dish you’d like to eat then refrigerate the left over for frying. It’s best to use leftover rice that’s been refrigerated since the rice hardens and collapse into grains under cold temperature, makes the fried rice dry and not sticking together.
OH! and the secret to that smoky fried rice flavor? When the rice is almost done, drizzle the soy sauce around the wok so the soy sauce will burn a little then mix well with the rice. That’s where that distinct restaurant fried rice comes from. This trick works best on a gas stove, but which ever stove you’re using, turn the heat on high for best result.
Wok was one of those things in the kitchen I never thought I really needed until we started to try living a minimal life. Now I don’t really understand people who owns 20 different pots and pans. I use a wok not only for stir-frying dishes, frying eggs but also to make soup and stews. I barely take any other pans nor pots out unless I’m making a feast. Another great thing about a wok is that… I’m a MESSY cook! Seriously messy. If i make fried rice in a pan, I guarantee that there’ll be more rice around the stove than in the pan by the time I’m done with it. A wok reduces my mess by 3/4 (I’m still a mess haha). My mom’s super trained for a regular wok which has none of those non-stick coating, but the trick is to use extra extra oil. Since I don’t enjoy cooking with extra oil, I got myself a non-stick wok so I can cook healthier version of Taiwanese food with ease!
Other Christmas Leftover Recipes You Might Like:
BACON CHEESE ROLL | 培根起司捲 (Substitute bacon with ham! It’s very addicting)
VEGETARIAN RADISH CAKE FROM SCRATCH | 自製米漿素食蘿蔔糕 (Make it non vegetarian by adding chopped up ham, dried shrimp, fried shallots and dried mushroom soaked in water and diced to the recipe. That’s the kind they serve at the dimsum restaurants!)
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