Making Char Siu Fried Rice is my favorite way to use up leftover Chinese BBQ pork and leftover rice. Top it with a drizzle of Sriracha for a little spicy kick.
As much as I love eating Char Siu, I have to admit that every time I make it, I'm just as excited about making Char Siu Fried Rice the next day. There's no better way to use leftover Chinese BBQ Pork than to add it a batch of good ole fried rice. It's the perfect protein for fried rice, almost as if it was created with each other in mind.
The Best Rice for Chinese BBQ Pork Fried Rice
It's not so much the variety of rice that makes a good Char Siu Fried Rice but more that it needs to be refrigerated. Leftover rice is essential to making a good fried rice. It's what allows each grain of rice to separate and not stick together. This is especially true when you're using a sticky variety such as short grain or medium grain rice. If you try to cook fried rice with fresh rice, it'll quickly turn into a mushy, sticky mess.
The variety of rice I use the most for fried rice is Calrose, which is a medium grain rice. Short grain Japanese rice or Jasmine rice also work well.
Making fried rice does take some planning ahead. I always make enough or two days so I often have leftover rice. Frozen rice also works well so keep that in mind. My freezer is full of little baggies of rice and they're perfect for individual lunch portions of fried rice for me or my girls.
Add-ins for Chinese Fried Rice
The beauty of fried rice is that you can add or remove ingredients, depending on what you have on hand. The base ingredients are leftover rice, soy sauce and garlic. Anything else you add becomes your own creation and the possibilities are endless.
In this version of fried rice, I used the base ingredients and added char siu, peas, carrots, eggs and scallions. You can add or subtract anything you like. Some other ingredients I often use include edamame, corn, finely diced onions or shallots. For protein substitutes, I often use shrimp, chicken or beef. Sometimes I even allow egg to be the only protein.
Tips for Making Make Restaurant-Style Char Siu Fried Rice at Home
Restaurants have an unfair advantage over home cooks. They have high-powered gas stoves and huge woks. They also have one more thing up their sleeves (we'll get to that in a bit).
You can do two things to compensate for the smaller flame and wok you have at home.
- Cook smaller batches: As you overcrowd the wok, the wok cools down and the large quantity traps a lot of steam in the rice, which results in a mushy fried rice. It's not exactly the light fluffy fried rice you're accustomed to ordering. The most I will fry at one time in my 14 inch wok is 3 cups of cooked rice. However, less is better.
- Cook ingredients separately: This goes back to overcrowding the wok. With all the ingredients being added, the wok can get rather full and a home stove will not be able to maintain a high heat in the wok. Cook the eggs separately, then set it aside. If you're adding a protein, cook that next then set it aside. Stir fry the aromatics and veggies next, push all that aside, then stir fry the rice.
Healthier Chinese BBQ Pork Fried Rice
Going back to the other unfair advantage I mentioned earlier. Restaurants don't have to be concerned with making a healthy fried rice. They could care less how healthy it is, as long as it tastes good. If you've ever seen fried rice being made at a restaurant, you'll notice they use an insane amount of oil. A huge amount is used to scramble the eggs, and then an equally huge amount is used to fry the rice. The oil helps loosen and coats each grain of rice and prevents it from getting mushy.
If you want to get as close as possible to Chinese restaurant fried rice, feel free to add more oil during each step. I prefer to use just enough to get the rice grains loose and evenly fried. If you adhere to the tips above (cook smaller batches and cook separately), you'll have yourself a delicious Char Siu Fried Rice. A little heathier means you can eat more of it and feel less guilty!
- 3 cups leftover cooked rice, refrigerated
- 6 oz char siu, finely diced
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ¼ cup carrots, finely diced (optional)
- ¼ cup frozen peas, defrosted (optional)
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 stalks of scallions, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper, (optional)
- Have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go.
- Heat a wok or skillet over high medium-heat until it gets smoky. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and swirl it around to coat the bottom.
- Add the beaten eggs. Scramble it and break it up into small pieces then set it aside.
- Add another tablespoon of oil to the wok and add garlic and char siu. Stir fry until the garlic begins to change color. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
- Add peas and carrots and stir fry until heated through. Add the eggs back in.
- Clear the center of the wok or skillet by pushing everything to the side. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the center of the wok. Allow it to heat up, then add rice.
- Break up the rice by using the back of the spatula to press down on any lumps to break them apart. Toss the rice well so it gets coated with oil.
- Add soy sauce, salt and scallions over the rice. Now mix all the ingredients together with the rice. Continue stir frying until the rice is evenly coated with soy sauce. Serve with a light dash of white pepper.