Skip the take-out and cook this delicious pork fried rice in less than 20 minutes. Enjoy the mix of fluffy rice, tender pork and crunchy veggies coated with umami-filled seasoning. Learn tips and tricks to cook it to perfection.
A quick all-in-one dish
In a Chinese household, cooked rice never goes to waste. One of the quickest and easiest ways to make use of leftover rice is to turn it into fried rice the following day. It can be as simple as a classic Egg Fried Rice or something more elaborate like my Beef and Pineapple Fried Rice.
Today’s recipe, pork fried rice, is an all-in-one recipe replete with protein from ground pork, eggs, carbs from rice, nutrients and fibre from the veggies. Quickly tossing these with savoury seasoning turns it into a restaurant-worthy dish made in the comfort of your kitchen.
This makes it an ideal lunch or dinner meal to make on a hectic weekday for those on the go. You can even cut back on prep time by using pre-cut, frozen veggies.
The key to making perfect fried rice
Frying rice is not a complicated feat to accomplish. However, there are certain things that you need to take note of to achieve impeccably cooked fried rice that is both fluffy and tasty.
- Use leftover rice that hasn’t been overcooked. Day-old, refrigerated rice is ideal. If you are cooking rice with the purpose of frying it the following day, make sure to keep it on the dry side and not to overcook. Mushy grains of rice will not work well for this recipe.
- Keep the heat high and stir-fry quickly. Have you seen the stoves they use in Chinese restaurants? They are called volcano burners because of the extremely high heat they emit. This is key in making perfectly seared stir-fries quickly. Your home burner is unlikely to be that hot but retaining the highest heat possible would help a lot. It is also imperative that you have all your ingredients ready and within reach, as you won’t have time to do the chopping and measuring once the heat is on.
- Make a balanced Sauce. The stir-fry sauce you use will make or break your dish. You want to make it light yet flavourful. This recipe uses oyster sauce for its umami taste, light and dark soy sauces for its saltiness and colour, and a dash of white pepper for its mild heat.
Precook the rice
While you can technically use any type of white rice for fried rice recipes, jasmine rice is my No.1 choice. It cooks up very fluffy and has a subtle nutty aroma that I enjoy. Short-grain rice is starchier, so it requires more attention not to overcook it. Basmati is not used in Chinese cooking but would work too for this dish.
Plan ahead and cook the rice a day before. Chill it in the fridge to make it drier, firmer and less sticky. Use a fork to loosen the grains before you start frying.
It’s fine to cook the rice the usual way, in a rice cooker or a stovetop pot. However, if you wish to go the extra mile and make the fluffiest fried rice, try cooking it in a steamer basket or a strainer (technique explained in my post on Three Ways to Cook Rice). Using this method, you can fry it once it cools down to room temperature (no refrigeration needed).
- Pork. For this recipe, I used minced pork for convenience. If you happen to have Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork), ham, bacon, etc, feel free to substitute. You can also replace pork with other proteins like minced beef, chicken or turkey.
- Vegetables. I used carrots and frozen peas to keep it simple. Do not let this stop you from using other veggies, though. This is the perfect recipe to use up what’s available in your fridge. Veggies like bell pepper, sweetcorn, celery, courgette, broccoli, green beans, mushroom, etc. are all good choices. A frozen pre-diced pack of veggies is a life-saver when you are in a hurry.
- Aromatics: Onion, ginger, garlic are fried with the pork, while scallions (green onions) are for garnishing.
- Oil. Use a neutral flavoured oil with a high smoke point like peanut, soybean, canola, corn, rapeseed, etc.
- Seasoning. A mixture of oyster sauce, light and dark soy sauce, and white pepper makes a light yet flavorful blend. No additional salt is needed.
- Optional serving sauce: Sesame oil, chilli oil, chilli garlic sauce, black bean sauce, etc.
Make it vegetarian: Swap the pork with tofu and use vegetarian stir-fry sauce, or mushroom vegetarian stir-fry sauce as substitutes for oyster sauce.
Make it gluten-free: Use tamari instead of soy sauce and select a gluten-free oyster sauce.
Here are the three simple steps to cook pork fried rice. Before you start, make sure you have all the ingredients within easy reach.
Step 1: Fry the Egg
Crack the eggs into a small bowl and lightly whisk. Preheat an empty, well-seasoned wok over high heat until it’s smoking hot. Add oil then move your wok around until the oil covers a larger area.
Add the beaten egg and let the bottom set before stirring to help the running part flow. Scramble it with a spatula until it separates into smaller pieces. Remove from the wok and set aside.
Step 2: Fry the pork
Retain high heat. Pour more oil into the wok then add minced pork. Distribute the meat evenly to make sure it covers the hot surface as much as possible to get a good sear.
Once the bottom has lightly browned, flip and toss until it just loses its pink colour.
Stir in finely chopped onion, minced garlic and ginger. Fry until the onion becomes translucent.
Step 3: Fry the vegetables and rice
Add peas and diced carrots and continue frying for 30 seconds or so.
Put in the egg and cooked rice. Toss vigorously to separate and evenly heat the grains.
Finally, pour the sauce mixture over (remember to mix all the seasonings before you start cooking). Give everything a good stir. Once all elements are well coated and piping hot, dish out and garnish with chopped scallions before serving.
🛎 NOTE: If you don’t have a traditional wok, feel free to use a modern non-stick wok or a high-sided frying pan/skillet. When using cookware with a non-stick coating, it is important to never heat it empty. Always start by adding oil first, then heat it up.
Store and reheat
Let leftover pork fried rice cool completely before placing it in a tightly sealed container. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a wok/pan without additional oil (Sprinkle a little water if necessary).
Other take-out classics
Pork Fried Rice (猪肉炒饭)
For the seasoning
For the stir-fry
- 2 tablespoon neutral cooking oil, divided
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup minced pork, about 225g/8oz
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- ½ cup peas, about 50g/1.8oz
- ½ cup carrot, diced, about 50g/1.8oz
- 3 cups cold cooked white rice, about 400g/14oz (see note 2)
- Scallions, finely chopped, for garnishing
Mix the sauce
- In a small bowl, mix oyster sauce, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and white pepper. Set aside.
Fry the egg
- Heat an empty, well-seasoned wok over high heat until smoking hot. Add 1 tablespoon of oil (see note 3 if using other cookware). Swirl to coat a bigger perimeter.
- Pour in the beaten egg. Once it begins to set at the bottom, stir to help the running part flow. Use a spatula to scramble so that it turns into small pieces. Transfer out and set aside.
Fry the pork
- Pour the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil into the wok. Add minced pork. Spread and flatten it to ensure maximum contact with the wok. Wait for the bottom part to get lightly browned. Then flip and stir to fry it thoroughly.
- Once the pork loses its pink colour, add onion, garlic and ginger. Fry until the onion becomes a little transparent.
Fry the vegetables & rice
- Stir in peas and carrots. Retain the high heat to fry for 30 seconds or so. Add rice and return the egg to the wok. Cook for a further 30-40 seconds.
- Pour the sauce mixture over. Toss and stir constantly to ensure an even coating. Once all the ingredients are piping hot, turn off the heat. Sprinkle scallions over and give everything a final toss.