Cantonese fried rice provides an easy way to use up rice, meat, seafood and vegetable leftovers. However for the home cook there is one major disadvantage as compared to the restaurant cook: to find a way to add a lot of heat to the wok. This we can solve by using smaller portions that are fried at the time. 

The art of making Cantonese fried rice

It starts with the rice. The cooked rice should not lump and the surface of the grains should not be too wet, otherwise they will not brown in the wok. In general try to use mid long grain rice. Right after cooking it, fluff it with a spatula to create more individual rice grains. When left untouched, it will cool down like a block. Also it is wise to let it surface dry. Use a fan to dry the fluffed rice.  Often cooks use so-called overnight rice for making fried rice.

Eggs are an important ingredient too. Strictly speaking a great fried rice van be made from rice, egg and a little soy sauce. If you are using any beans, peas or carrot pieces in the fried rice, best to par boil these after cutting. Usually 4 min par boiling is enough for the beans and 2 minutes for the others.


Special equipment

  • a wok
  • spatula
Cantonese fried rice: ©️ Nel Brouwer-van den Bergh

Cantonese fried rice

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Chinese


Ingredients for making the cooked rice

  • 3 cups large grain rice
  • 4 cups water

Ingredients for making the fried rice

  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 7 oz (200 g) diced, cubed roasted pork (optional)
  • 7 oz (200 g) choy sum (can substitute by bok choi) (optional)
  • 7 oz (150 g) onion
  • 3 eggs (6 oz or 170 g)
  • 1/2 cup egg plant (optional)
  • 1/2 cup leave cellery including stems (optional)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil (soybean, rapeseed, olive)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup carrots (optional)
  • 1 tsp mixed spices (use ground star anise, nutmeg, pepper)
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 3 spring onions cut in oblong pieces


Instructions to cook the rice

  • wash the rice repeatedly, so that the milky starchy water becomes clear. For this purpose add water to the rice, stir the rice by hand and decant. Repeat as often as needed to get a clear run-off.
  • Let the rice drain for 20 min.
  • Add 4 cups of water to the drained rice and let the rice cooker do its work
  • When ready, scoop the rice in a large bowl, fluff it with a rectangular spatula without smashing the grains and air dry it preferably using a fan. Can be stored overnight in the refrigerator.

Instruction to make the fried rice

  • Prepare all the ingredients: dice the pork meat in cubes when used, cut the shrimps if needed, cut the vegetables in small parts and julienne coarsely the choy sum when used. Cut the spring onions in oblong rings. Make the rice crumbly by using your hands.
  • Break the eggs and put the contents in a bowl
  • Par-boil the cut vegetables that need it in boiling water (in the above recipe only carrots and egg plant and if the celery stems are thick also the celery). To this extent bring a pan with slightly salted water to the boil on high fire, dump the vegetables by type in the boiling water and wait until the mixture is boiling again. Then time the cooking time. Usually 2-4 minutes, depending on the size of your cuts and the vegetable type. Scoop the vegetables with a slotted spoon and dump in a large bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain the vegetables and keep ready.
  • Place a wok on high fire
  • After a few minutes add the cooking oil
  • Then immediately add the ground spices
  • Then add the sliced garlic and the chopped onions and stir constantly
  • After a minute, add the pork and continue to stir
  • Add the eggs and stir until they become crumbly
  • Then add the cooked rice, make sure it is made loose with your spatula and fry it at high fire while stirring constantly. it should get a little brown color on the outside
  • Add the choy sum, the carrot, egg plant or celery and continue to stir
  • Add the seafood (optional)
  • Add soy sauce and some oyster sauce to taste
  • Serve immediately in a large bowl or in individual bowls


Method: stir-frying
Food allergy & intolerance information: egg
Keyword egg, fried rice, wok


  1. If you were to cook rice specifically to make fried rice the next day, use a little less water. It will help to surface brown the rice during stir-frying.
  2. If you can, use Jinhua pork, a now rather uncommon pig found in Zhejiang province in China, characterized by a black head and rear. Dice the usually salted and cured version  in small cubes and add to the rice to impair this typical South Chinese flavour to the dish.


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