Rice to the occasion


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Lenny is a whiz with fried rice. Last time she made it I was well impressed, to the point that I would eat it over stuff from a Chinese restaurant any day.

And that’s saying something. I reckon it’s really hard to replicate the flavours of your better-than-average Chinese takeaway. Maybe it’s down to MSG, which in some Asian cultures is literally known as “taste” (oh, if only you could buy good taste in powdered form). We’ve got nothing against MSG, really – it’s either in the food we buy or it isn’t – but we don’t have it in our kitchen, and don’t have any idea how, or how much of it, to use.

This version of Lenny’s secret fried rice is powered by leftover turkey, ham and pork from Christmas, with the standard accompaniments, such as peas and an omelette fried in the wok then chopped up.

Lenny’s secrets, by the way, include “loads of pepper – more than you’d think it’s possible to eat”, and sesame oil. Vegetable oil for the cooking is a must as well – don’t use olive oil (or motor oil for that matter). Maybe it’s just me, but I like fried rice to have that wokky, smokey taste of slightly burnt oil.

Slicing the mushrooms thinly is another Lenny top tip – bigger chunks will go slimey when you reheat the fried rice for lunch the next day.

In this batch I think she lost her way a bit by adding sweet chilli sauce. Tomato sauce is better (maybe there’s some MSG in it).

And don’t use as much uncut chilli sauce as she did.

- Waz

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5 Responses to “Rice to the occasion”


  • That looks great, but I have to agree with Waz that the chili sauce would overwhelm the flavour of a good fried rice.

    According to Wikipedia, Australians call those green, or spring onions, Shallots. All *the rest of the world* calls them Scallions, because shallots are those little bulby mild expensive onions.

    Thanks so much for the show!

  • Tomato sauce does contain naturally occurring MSG. As does red wine, soy sauce and the rind from Parmesan cheese.

  • Love your innovative ways of getting rid of christmas leftovers. Instead of putting in sweet chilli or ketchup for the sweet – try half a teaspoon of plain ol sugar. Thai cooking uses sugar directly in savoury dishes, its not quite msg but it is a flavour enhancer like salt and pepper.

  • To make perfect fried rice you need to cook rice the day before and spread out in a large dish and put in fridge to dry out. Makes much better fried rice. Grains seperate perfectly. Love your show. Geez Waz talk about back seat driving.

  • yeah Jan is right, you should use day-old rice that’s been refrigerated because the grains separate nicely. when stir-frying rice, you need to coat every grain of rice with seasoning while also preventing it from getting too greasy, thats the tricky part.

    i think you did well to scramble the egg first. ideally it should be light and fluffy, not too well done, unless you like your eggs well done.

    most authentic fried rice would not have a heavy hand with the spice, as that can be added later on. the meats and vegetables should have enough flavor to balance out the blandness of the rice, and that’s it. if too much flavor is added, it throws the dish out of harmonious balance, which is the tricky part to fried rice.

    fried rice is a difficult dish to make! love your show, just stumbled upon it today.

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