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Whether you’re enjoying a simple homemade dish or indulging in an elaborate restaurant serving, fried rice’s delicate balance of flavors and textures makes it the perfect canvas for creative pairings. From additional protein sources to an assortment of veggies, keep reading to learn what goes good with fried rice.
Add Some Sauce or Oil
Soy sauce is a vital ingredient for achieving that classic umami flavor. Opt for a high-quality soy sauce to elevate the taste of the fried rice. Light soy sauce adds saltiness without overpowering the dish, while dark soy sauce adds a deeper color and richer flavor. Experiment with different varieties to find the perfect balance for your taste buds.
A drizzle of sesame oil can do wonders for the flavor of your fried rice. The nutty and fragrant oil pairs naturally with most Asian ingredients, enhancing the overall harmony of flavors within the dish. Aim for toasted sesame oil to achieve that authentic Chinese fried rice flavor, but remember – a little goes a long way. Moderation is key when using this potent ingredient.
Oyster sauce is another favorite for creating delectable fried rice. This rich, savory sauce adds a unique depth of flavor and a touch of sweetness that complements the other ingredients. Use sparingly, as its potent taste can quickly overpower the dish if used excessively. Vegans and vegetarians can swap traditional oyster sauce for a mushroom-based alternative without compromising flavor.
Popular Dishes to Pair with Fried Rice
Teriyaki chicken is a popular choice to pair with fried rice. The sweet and savory glaze of teriyaki sauce complements the rice, while the tender chicken adds a satisfying texture. You can choose grilled or pan-fried chicken.
Sweet and Sour Pork
Sweet and sour pork features crispy chunks of pork coated in a tangy sauce with undertones of sweetness. The satisfying crunch of the pork contrasts perfectly with the softness of the rice, while the flavors work together to create a deliciously balanced meal.
For a slightly spicier option, ginger beef is a fantastic choice to enjoy with fried rice. Thinly sliced beef is marinated in a flavorful mixture of soy sauce, ginger, and garlic before being fried until crispy. The zesty ginger adds a kick, while the savory beef creates a satisfying contrast to the rice.
The succulent, flavor-packed roast duck adds a luxurious touch to the meal, while its crispy skin brings a delightful crunch. This dish can be served with plum or hoisin sauce on the side, enhancing the overall dining experience.
Shrimp tempura is a classic Japanese dish that pairs perfectly with fried rice. Lightly battered and deep-fried to golden perfection, these crispy shrimp bring a delightful contrasting texture to the dish. Serve them alongside your favorite dipping sauce, such as soy sauce or sweet chili sauce, to complete the indulgent experience.
Honey Chili Garlic Shrimp
Transform your fried rice into a sweet and spicy delight by adding honey chili garlic shrimp. The combination of succulent shrimp, aromatic garlic, and a sticky honey-chili glaze creates a mouthwatering mix of flavors.
Fried rice becomes a magnificent main course when accompanied by pan-seared salmon. Season the salmon with a mixture of soy sauce, ginger, and lime juice before searing it to develop a flavorful crust. The crisp exterior and tender interior add a touch of sophistication to your fried rice, making it suitable for more formal occasions.
Another seafood favorite to pair with fried rice is roasted shrimp. Oven-roasting the shrimp ensures that they stay juicy while developing a wonderful caramelization on the surface. Toss them with a bit of olive oil, minced garlic, and your preferred seasonings before roasting to create a simple yet irresistible addition to your fried rice.
Bring On the Veggies
Broccoli is a nutritious and delicious vegetable to pair with fried rice. It can be simply steamed or sautéed with garlic and a touch of soy sauce. The vibrant green color contrasts nicely with the golden fried rice, adding visual appeal to the dish.
Chinese broccoli, also known as gai lan or kai lan, is another fantastic accompaniment to fried rice. The leafy green has a slightly bitter taste that complements the flavors of the rice. Commonly, Chinese broccoli is blanched or steamed and seasoned with oyster sauce to enhance its natural flavors.
Roasted asparagus is a quick and easy side dish that pairs nicely with fried rice. Toss asparagus spears in olive oil, salt, and pepper before roasting in the oven at 400°F for about 12 minutes, until tender-crisp. The asparagus brings a subtle earthiness that works well with the savory fried rice.
Hoisin Roasted Asparagus
For a twist on traditional roasted asparagus, try hoisin roasted asparagus. Toss asparagus in a mixture of hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and a little honey or maple syrup. Roast the asparagus at 400°F for 12-15 minutes, until tender. This sweet and savory version adds a depth of flavor to fried rice while still maintaining a fresh, bright taste.
Delightful Dumplings and Rolls
Chinese dumplings are a popular choice to pair with fried rice. They come in various flavors and can be steamed, boiled, or pan-fried. A favorite among many is the pork and cabbage filling, offering a savory taste. The soft and tender texture of the dumplings complements the flavors of fried rice.
Crispy and golden-brown spring rolls make for an exceptional side dish with fried rice. Filled with a mixture of vegetables like cabbage, carrots, and bean sprouts, their crunchy texture stands in contrast to soft rice. Dipping them in sweet chili sauce or soy sauce provides an extra burst of flavor.
Gyoza, also known as Japanese potstickers, are another delicious accompaniment to fried rice. Typically filled with ground pork, cabbage, and garlic chives, they have a slightly thinner wrapper than Chinese dumplings. Pan-fried for a crispy bottom and steam-cooked for a tender top, gyoza offers a pleasing variety of textures to enjoy alongside fried rice.
Asian Turkey Meatballs
For a lighter yet still flavorful option, consider Asian turkey meatballs to pair with your fried rice. Made with ground turkey, ginger, garlic, and soy sauce, these meatballs incorporate the familiar Asian flavors. Baked or pan-fried, they provide a moist and tender bite that complements the chewy texture of fried rice.
Savory Soup Suggestions
Hot and Sour Soup
Hot and sour soup is a classic Chinese dish that complements fried rice perfectly. This soup gets its heat from red pepper flakes and sourness from rice vinegar. It contains a combination of tofu, mushrooms, and bamboo shoots, adding a variety of textures to your meal.
Egg Drop Soup
Egg drop soup is a light and savory choice to go with your fried rice. It consists of tender wisps of beaten eggs mixed with chicken or vegetable broth. Typically, this soup is seasoned with a pinch of salt, white pepper, and green onions. The mild flavor profile of egg drop soup can provide a nice contrast to more flavorful fried rice dishes.
Thai Coconut Soup
Try pairing your fried rice with Thai coconut soup. This flavorful, aromatic soup combines creamy coconut milk, lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves. It often features chicken or shrimp and has a slightly spicy kick from Thai chili paste. Incorporating Thai coconut soup into your meal can enhance the overall dining experience and expand your palate.
Leftover Rice is the Best!
Did you know that cold, day-old rice that has had a chance to dry out in the refrigerator is better suited for frying as it maintains its structure when tossed in the hot wok? Freshly cooked rice can become mushy and break apart, while chilled leftover rice offers the ideal firmness and texture. Always have some handy in your fridge for a quick and satisfying meal.