Eighty-two percent of the arable land in Vietnam grows rice and the country serves as the leading rice producer and exporter in the world, according to 2010 data from the International Rice Research Institute. Fried rice dishes include everything from pork -- a dish known as com chien -- to chicken or tofu. Regardless of what you're pairing your rice with, high cooking temperatures define the preparation of Vietnamese fried rice, lending it a somewhat crisp texture and roasted flavor.
Thoroughly rinse your medium-grain jasmine rice under cold water. Fill a medium-sized saucepan with water, add the rice and bring it to a boil on high heat. Boil until the rice is tender.
Strain the boiled rice and spread it evenly over a baking tray. Allow it to cool, then seal the tray with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator overnight. This makes the rice more firm, preventing a mushy fried rice dish.
Preheat an ample amount of oil, such as peanut or vegetable oil, in a large, nonstick wok when you're ready to begin cooking the dish. Use your stove's high heat setting, and don't add your ingredients until the wok is blazing hot -- this helps ensure a smoky flavor. Fry your vegetables, such as garlic, shallots, onions, peas, baby corn or carrots, for about one to three minutes, then add roughly a cup of water and cook them for another one to three minutes until they're tender and aromatic. Stir in your prepared meat or tofu ingredients -- dried shrimp and fried pork are staples of Vietnamese fried rice -- and fry them until they're heated through.
Add the chilled rice to the wok, still over high heat, once the water has evaporated. Separate any clumps that form using a long cooking spoon. Fry for about four to five minutes or more depending on your serving size. The rice should be thoroughly heated through before serving.
Add the egg, if your recipe calls for one. Use your spoon to clear a space in the center of the rice and crack the egg into that space. Keeping the heat high, stir the egg into the rice for about one to two minutes. Once the egg is cooked, add your sauces -- such as soy, oyster or fish sauce -- and seasonings, such as white or red pepper, mint flakes, cilantro or powdered vegetable or meat stock, and thoroughly stir them in.
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- Set aside leftover rice for this Vietnamese dish -- it'll save you the trouble of preparing and chilling the rice beforehand.
- Use a large wok and only prepare about one or two servings at once. If you have too much rice in the pan, you run the risk of a mushy, clumpy dish. Likewise, avoid soggy rice by limiting your sauces to just a few tablespoons per wok of fried rice.
With a diverse professional background and a decade of experience as a freelance writer, Dan has contributed lifestyle content -- from fashion to travel to fitness and more -- to publishers including Chron, Fortune, Sony, GlobalPost, ModernMom, Moviefone, Salon.com, Techwalla and dozens of others.
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