Cooking the Books: Perfect Fried Rice from Heather Osborn

February 15, 2011

After I posted Sasha’s Tortilla Soup recipe last week, I started thinking it would be fun to post a recipe from a different publishing/industry professional each week. I thought, with Tuesday being the main release day in publishing, that would be the appropriate day for it. So Cooking the Books is born (with a nod to Shannon Stacey and Sarah Wendell for combining efforts to come up with the name). If there’s an industry professional you want to see share a recipe, let me know and I’ll nag ask them. (and if, you know, you happen to know someone who’s a good hand with whipping up a graphic I could use for something like this, that would be good too)

Early in January I was on Twitter (as I often am) bemoaning my ability to make good fried rice at home and Heather Osborn, executive editor at Samhain, popped up to say she had an awesome recipe. The perfect recipe, she said. I nagged her to send it to me and she agreed. Unfortunately, because I’ve been gone more than I’ve been home (and I’m gone again as this posts) I haven’t had a chance to test this out myself, but it’s on my menu for when I return! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy Heather’s fried rice.

As you can see from the recipe below, I improvise quite a bit! Feel free to modify to your own tastes — as long as you follow the basic proportions, you should have some great fried rice! This recipe is really flexible and simple, so feel free to experiment with what you like best! Heather


Rice (2-4 cups, cooked and at least one day old. Fresh rice makes awful fried rice! It should be a bit dry. I usually use a medium grain Asian white rice, but a long grain would probably work okay as well.)

Meat (About 6 to 8 ounces, minimum, chopped small a?? maybe A? inch cubes?)

Onions/Green Onions (About A? medium onion, diced same size as meat, or 3 to 4 green onions, chopped)

Oil (1-2 Tablespoons, or enough to coat the bottom of the pan)

Eggs (Depending on how much rice, between 2 to 4)

Soy Sauce (to taste)

Peas/Carrots (to taste a?? maybe 1-2 cups?)


Heat either wok or non-stick skillet on medium heat

(1), use enough oil to coat bottom of pan a?? 1-2 Tablespoons should be enough. When oil is hot, add meat and onion

(2). Saute until onion softens a bit a?? you dona??t want to brown the onion, just make it translucent. Add rice and stir together. Now, let it cook for a couple minutes without stirring

(3). After a few minutes, stir the rice and let it sit for a few more minutes without stirring. Once you start seeing some of it crisp up a little bit and get a little color, add the soy sauce

(4). This is purely to taste. I tend to like my fried rice a bit salty, so I probably use close to a third of a cup, total. I suggest adding a few tablespoons, stirring and then tasting. You can always add more soy sauce when ita??s done, so try not to go overboard now!

(5)Now for the eggs. Some people beat the eggs and then add them raw into the rice and stir to combine, which distributes the eggs throughout the rice. I prefer to scramble them in a separate pan and then add them to the rice already cooked. This makes for larger pieces of eggs, which I like. However you decide to do it, add your eggs now and stir to combine.

(6)Finally, add your peas and carrots. I use a bag of frozen peas or frozen peas & carrots. The heat of the fried rice will warm these up very quickly, so all you need to do is add them, stir to combine, and then after a minute or two, turn off the heat. Voila! Fried rice. Yum!


1. I just use a non-stick skillet a?? I dona??t own a wok!

2. My mom used to add almost any sort of meat to this a?? left over chicken, pork, ribs, steak, etc. Ita??s a great way to re-use leftovers! The true Guamanian style fried rice uses Spam (1 can). Thata??s how I make it when I am craving it!

3. This part is super hard, because you really really want to stir! But resist! With a non-stick skillet, sticking shouldna??t be a problem, and you really want some of the rice to get crispy and lightly browned. Only some of it though a?? therea??s no need to fry it to death!

4. For normal brands, I highly recommend Kikkoman. Good quality and taste. No LaChoy! Oh, and I dona??t like the low sodium versions a?? I think it gives it a funny aftertaste. Ia??d rather just use less of the regular stuff.

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