How The World Eats Fried Rice: 7 Yummy Variants
Image Credit: When the rice is fried, different dishes can come up.

After hakka noodles, if there is a dish that deserves attention in Chinese cuisine is fried rice. Being an Indian, our idea of Chinese food is more or less desi Chinese and we’re not complaining. The re-imagining of Chinese dishes in an Indian fashion has led to the creation of things like chilly potato, gobhi manchurian etc. which are nowhere to be found back home. The immense popularity of desi Chinese in our country is quite evident with small shops scattered in markets like confetti, serving bright-coloured red and black gravies (schezwan and black bean) loaded on paper plates. 

I personally love Chinese food and always prefer fried rice over noodles. The fried rice served to us here can be mixed with anything from egg to chicken, prawns and shrimps and my staple order at any Chinese restaurant in India is mixed meat fried rice along with some meaty dishes. However, I was amazed to find out that it wasn’t the case in China. The people there eat fried rice post their meals or sometimes, as a standalone course without any condiments. The egg is used to flavour the rice. 

Origins of the loved fried rice can also be traced back to Sui dynasty (A.D. 589-618). The earliest fried rice was prepared during this period in the Yangzhou region of China. The idea behind inventing this dish was to avoid wastage of food. Chinese were said to strongly believe in this concept and so they devised a method of using leftover rice. Hence, fried rice came into being. 

Gradually, the technique of stir-frying rice spread to the rest of the world and we have got some lip-smacking fried rice variations since then. 

1.  Thai Fried Rice 

Thai food is famous for its red and green curries in the world but did you know that fried rice wasn’t a part of Thai cuisine since the beginning? When the egg fried rice travelled to Thailand, the people adapted it to suit their needs. One such iconic dish was the Khao Pad Sapparod or Thai Pineapple Fried Rice, where Khao means rice, Pad means stir fry and Sapparod refers to pineapple. This easy-to-make rice dish is spruced up with vegetables like carrots and beans which are flavoured with soy sauce and peanuts, not to forget the huge chunks of pineapple. 

2.  Spanish Paella 

Hailing from the Valencian region of Spain, this one-pot rice dish is best made with Arborio rice. This is a special kind of short-grain rice that is suitable for making risottos and paella. While the authentic Paella consists of spicy chorizo (sausages), you can always flavour chicken or lamb with thyme, paprika etc. The golden colour owes itself to the use of saffron which also contributes to its aroma. 

3.  Indonesian Nasi Goreng 

My first tryst with Nasi Goreng happened quite recently when I went out to try Singaporean cuisine at a recently opened restaurant in South Delhi. Upon ordering, we received a bowl of rice, topped with a poached egg that was placed upside-down along with chicken satay on skewers on the side. There was a pinch of their popular sambal sauce on the side too. The brown-coloured rice was mildly flavoured and complimented the chicken really well. 

4.  Peruvian Fried Rice

This South American dish has a history of migration and transcending borders. The Chinese settlers who moved to South America brought the fusion food with them and introduced Arroz Chaufa De Pollo to Peru. The use of ginger and soy sauce in one fried rice would surely feel like home, wouldn’t it? Here’s a recipe of another interesting Peruvian dish called Arroz Con Pollo. 

5.  Yangzhou Fried Rice 

The original Chinese fried rice, like we mentioned earlier, is made of leftover long-grain rice. The specialty of this fried rice is that it doesn’t require any additional flavourings. Each grain of rice is artistically coated with egg and soy sauce to lend it a strong taste. In most traditional recipes, roasted pork is used as the protein. This is known as Yangzhou fried rice. 

6.  Fujian Fried Rice 

Chinese fried rice which is popularly called Hokkien fried rice, is distinct from the Yangzhou version. A saucy gravy accompanies the stir-fried rice which is usually dry and consists of meat, vegetables and soy sauce. This adds flavour to the fried rice. The dish gets its name from the place of origin, wherein Hokkien is a dialect spoken in Fujian region of China.  Here’s a recipe of Hokkien noodles for you. 

So which ones have you tried already?