Some people like to call fried rice the ultimate comfort food and, though I always like to have a more than one option to choose from, I can’t help but agree with them.
For a start, rice is a cholesterol-free energy powerhouse that can fuel your body with carbohydrates and allow the normal function of your brain.
Second, there is something incredibly satisfying at knowing that you’ll have some use for all that leftover rice.
Finally, I always had an itch for Asian cuisine.
So, I can say that Singapore fried rice was pretty much meant to find a way into my kitchen.
A Short History of Singapore Fried Rice
The starting point of this long journey wasn’t what I expected, though.
Although it very prominently features Singapore in its name, Singapore fried rice, in fact, has nothing to do with the mentioned city-state located in Southeast Asia.
Since the city was once a trading post for the fabled East India Company, I guess Westerners simply learned of fried rice through this particular channel.
The true birthplace of fried rice is China. Although the cultivation of rice in China reaches all the way back to 12,000 BC the first mentions of fried rice can be traced back to Sui dynasty that ruled China 581-618.
Ever since, the recipe that was originally used in the province of Yangzhou (morsels of fluffy rice, prawns, veggies, etc.) became a standard way of preparing the meal.
Today, you can find a lot different fried rice recipes, but these differences are very slight and they definitely don’t point out to Singapore as a place of origin.
So, if I ever use the term Chinese rice or simply fried rice instead of Singapore style fried rice we are still talking about the same thing. And now, let’s take a quick look at the main stars of the evening before we proceed to this spicy Singapore fried rice recipe.
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His Majesty the Rice
Believe it or not, the “leftover” part plays a pretty substantial role in this dish.
If you don’t have day-old rice leftovers begging to be used, you will have to cook rice and leave it to rest for a while.
If you are impatient you can cut the waiting time to only one day, but for the best possible results, you should wait for two or three days.
There is a good reasoning behind this.
The rice that hasn’t waited long enough is wet and gloppy. If you leave it to sit for a day or two, it will get that fine dry texture that makes fried rice 100 times better.
Just don’t forget to rub the rice between the fingers to get rid of unwanted clamps.
As for the type, I prefer to use long grain rice. It’s less sticky and much fluffier than other types.
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Shrimps vs. Prawns
I was always boggled by the difference (or to put it better, the lack of it) between shrimps and prawns. As far as the taste go, they are basically the same. Well, you know what, they might as well be the same thing.
The only major distinction between these two crustaceans is that prawns have branching gills, while shrimps have small claws on two pairs of their legs.
The difference is even more blurred by the fact that in North America the term “prawn” is used to describe any large enough shrimp or prawn. The largest amongst them are often called “jumbo” or “king prawns.”
So, the choice between the two essentially boils down to the size of the shrimps/prawns you want to have on your plate. Since I first fell in love with this dish through a king prawn fried rice recipe I’ve got from my friend and I like some “meat” to my meals, I prefer to use the larger variety.
And now, it’s the time to proceed to the actual recipe for Singapore fried rice and see how’s this baby made:
Spicy Singapore Fried Rice Recipe
- 2 cups leftover rice
- 8-10 king prawns
- 3 ounces roast pork
- 3 ounces roast chicken (optional)
- 3 eggs
- 8 ounces mixed vegetables (peas, sweetcorn kernels, grated carrot, mini broccoli florets, etc.)
- 2 roughly chopped spring onions
- 1 large chili
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon butter
- Sesame oil
- Springs of coriander (optional)
- White pepper
1. Preparing the Rice
- Preparing the rice couldn’t be easier. However, as I already mentioned, if you want your meal to turn out good you have to think in advance.
- As for the very cooking, you just need to fill the pot with water (the rice-water ratio should be approximately 1:2), bring the water to boil, pour in the rice, stir in some salt and butter and cook until the rice becomes tender (18 minutes).
- Now drain the rice and pop it in the fridge.
2. Preparing the Veggies
- If you take a careful look at the ingredients, you’ll see that the veggie section is very opened to improvisation. For instance, I like to have as much color, flavor and texture in my Singapore style fried rice as possible, so I choose to cook all the ingredients separately and combine them in the final stage of preparation.
- Also, I like flavors to come off as a result of ingredients, rather than seasoning. So, for this stage, you’ll only need to equip yourself with a little bit of sesame oil and a lot of patience.
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3. Preparing the Chicken and Pork
- In this particular case, chicken and pork serve the similar purpose as veggies – they are supposed to add flavor and variety. That means that you can use both, one of them or neither.
- If you choose to add them to your meal, don’t fall into trap of adding too much seasoning – you already have enough of everything. All you need for preparation are some oil, a little bit of salt and pepper (if you want to), and 5-10 minutes behind the stove. Medium heat will do the job perfectly.
4. Preparing the Prawns
- The prawns are very easy to prepare. You just need to heat a tablespoon of sesame oil in a wok , throw in the prawns and fry them until they’re slightly seared.
- Since they are one of the main players in this delicious meal, be sure to grace them with chili, garlic, and onions while you fry them.
5. Preparing the Eggs
- There are a couple of ways to do this. Some people prefer to fry the beaten eggs (you can use the Red Copper Pan, Copper Chef pan or Gotham Steel Pan, they’re nonstick), cut them into smaller pieces and use as a garnish. Others like to scramble the eggs and add them in the later stages of cooking.
- I, for instance, choose to simply whisk the eggs and pour them over the rice at the very end. If you opt for some of the previous approaches, however, be sure to fry or scramble the eggs when all the other ingredients are already prepared because you don’t want to let them cool off.
6. Coup de Grace
And now it’s the time to bring all these beauties together.
- First, you’ll need to find a wok, heat it until it starts to smoke and add some oil.
- Then, add the rice and the eggs. If they are not already fried or scrambled, give them a minute or two to mix with the rice properly.
- Also, now is a good time to add a pinch of salt and white pepper.
- Once you’re done, you can start slowly adding the other ingredients. Choose the order that suits you the best – just keep the soy sauce and coriander for the very end.
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Finally, we are over.
And what an incredible journey that was. Sure, it took some time to get here, but as soon as you try your Singapore fried rice, you’ll see it was well-worth the wait.
And when you finally develop some skills and learn the art of multitasking… Well, who knows – maybe fried rice becomes your favorite comfort food as well. 🙂