Is Fried Rice Really Healthy for You?

Found on every single Chinese take-out menu is fried rice. It nicely pairs with plenty of proteins like Kung Pao chicken or tofu; this dish still manages to taste sumptuous on its own. At a glance, it looks colorful, tasty, and nutritious but then, is fried rice healthy for you?

The question now is; is it a healthy dish or a good-looking sodium and fat bomb? Is it something you can eat as many times as you wish or should this simple dish be eaten as a rare treat?

You may love fried rice, but trust me, you do not want to compromise your health. Check out this article to see what exactly you should know about fried rice.

What Is Fried Rice?

Fried rice is a dish of cooked rice mixed with other ingredients and stir-fried in a frying pan/wok. It is a versatile dish popular in many cultures, high in fiber, low in calories, and a good source of vitamins and minerals.

Fried rice can be enjoyed as a meal and can also be paired with other meals as a side dish.

A good thing is it can be prepared to your taste owing to the variety of ingredients used to prepare it. It is a good option for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

According to Wikipedia, fried rice is a dish of cooked rice that has been stir-fried in a wok or a frying pan and is usually mixed with other ingredients such as eggs, vegetables, seafood, or meat.

It is often eaten by itself or as an accompaniment to another dish.

Fried rice is a popular component of East Asian, Southeast Asian, and certain South Asian cuisines as well as a staple national dish of Indonesia.

As a homemade dish, fried rice is typically made with ingredients left over from other dishes, leading to countless variations. First developed during the Sui Dynasty in China, and as such, all fried rice dishes can trace their origins to Chinese fried rice.

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Is Fried Rice Healthy?

Yes, it is. However, eating too much of it is not good for you. This dish is full of vitamins, healthy fiber, protein, good fat and carbs, and also contains minerals and antioxidants.

Is Fried Rice Actually Fried?

Yes, It is. The preparation method involves using oil to lightly fry the ingredients including the cooked rice. However, it isn’t the same way meat or vegetables are fried. So, the rice is usually fried in oil, but not deeply.

The frying is just to ensure the rice doesn’t stick.

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Ingredients Used in Preparing Fried Rice

As mentioned, you can customize the ingredients just how you like them. Even if you don’t have so much experience in making fried rice, it’s fairly easy to make.

Asides from the rice, which is the major thing, there are other ingredients required to prepare this colorful tasty dish.

  • 2 cups of  water  (473 mL)
  • 1 cup of medium-grain rice (195 g), either white or brown; after all, without rice, there’s no fried rice
  • ½ teaspoon of salt (2.84 g)
  • 1 tablespoon of neutral oil (15 mL) like grapeseed or canola
  • 1 small neatly chopped white onion
  • 1 cup of defrosted frozen peas and carrots (150g)
  • 1 teaspoon of finely chopped ginger (5g) and 1 teaspoon of finely chopped garlic (5g)
  • 2 lightly beaten eggs
  • 2-3 tablespoons of  soy sauce (30-44 mL)
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil (15 mL)
  • Chopped green onion (which is optional for garnishing)

You should note that the measurements may vary, as you can prepare your fried rice dish to suit your taste.

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How to Make Fried Rice

Many have asked this question. And, yes, you have to cook your rice first. Fried rice is not a difficult meal to prepare. To prepare a fried rice dish:

1. Prepare the rice

First things first, prep your rice. How do you go about this?

  • Properly rinse the rice in a strainer to remove any debris that may be on the surface of the rice.
  • Get your water to boil at high heat, and do not forget to use a big pot, keeping in mind that rice expands as it cooks.
  • Add the washed rice, and then add your salt. Do not forget to lower the heat if need be. In addition to salt, you can also add butter as a flavor if you desire. Remember you can prepare your dish as it suits you.
  • The next step is to cover your pot and let it cook for at least 18 minutes.
  • When you’re sure that the rice is done, turn off the burner, and keep the rice in the pot covered for about 2 to 3 minutes. That will allow the rice to steam a bit more.
  • Finally, spread the rice on a tray or cookie shit for about one hour to dry before drying.

2. Prepare the vegetables

  • If you don’t have a wok, which is traditionally used for preparing fried rice, you can use a frying pan or a skillet. Heat your wok or frying pan on a burner on a medium heat level for about five minutes.
  • When the pan is heated, pour in your measured amounts of neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed, and then turn the pan slowly to ensure the oil coats the pan.
  • In addition to either of the neutral oils you chose to use, you can consider using peanut or corn.
  • Fry all your vegetables, your already chopped ginger, garlic, onion, frozen peas, carrots, and your small white onions until they’re all tender. This should be done on a medium heat level.
  • If You wish to add more vegetables to your fried rice, you may consider options like chopped cabbage, chopped French beans,  bell peppers, mushrooms, water chestnuts, or chopped green onions.

3. It’s almost ready

  • The next thing to do is to mix the cooked rice, soy sauce, and sesame oil into the already mixed eggs and vegetables.
  • Mix it properly until they’re all well combined, and there are no strands of white rice here and there. If you prefer to use fish sauce or oyster sauce in place of soy sauce, you’re still good to go.
  • You can add in cooked chicken, and if necessary, freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  • After pushing your vegetables to one side of the pan, pour the beaten eggs into the other half of the pan and scramble them. Once they’re ready, pix them up with your vegetables.

Now taste your dish and see what more you may need to add if necessary. After that, fry the rice until all the ingredients are fully heated. This shouldn’t take more than five minutes, and your dish is ready. Feel free to garnish it however it suits you.

SEE: Learn How to Reheat Fried Rice Perfectly

Are There Any Health Risks With Eating Fried Rice?

After cooking fried rice, leave it at room temperature for about an hour to cool before frying it with other ingredients. The process is to ensure the rice doesn’t get clumpy or become soggy.

According to Philip Tierno, a microbiologist and clinical professor at New York University Langone Health, that process could introduce Bacillus cereus.

This is a  toxin-producing bacteria that is one of the major causes of food poisoning and is also called “fried rice syndrome.” Unfortunately, reheating the rice during frying doesn’t remove the toxins the bacteria have already produced.

Also, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Bad Bug Book, this bacteria releases two toxins that cause different illnesses. One causes diarrhea and cramps, while the other leads to vomiting.

Best Tips for Eating Fried Rice Healthily

  • Swap eggs for scrambled tofu. This way, your dish is more vegan-friendly.
  • Use brown rice instead of white rice for added fiber.
  • Instead of frying up your rice, try baking it in the oven.
  • Try combining fresh vegetables with frozen shrimp and cauliflower rice to create a healthier dish.
  • Focus on vegetables, including zucchini, carrots, broccoli, and mushrooms, and cut down on the quantity of rice.
  • Use Cauliflower rice instead. It helps eliminate calories without losing any flavor.

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FAQs

Is fried rice healthy for weight loss?

No, it is not. Fried rice is calorie-filled and covered with soy sauce and will not help you lose weight, especially white fried rice.

Is fried rice healthy during pregnancy?

Yes, it is. For pregnant women, the eggs in fried rice are healthy to eat because it has gone through thorough cooking with the rice. Pregnant women can enjoy the delicious nutrients from the dish without any side effects.

Is kimchi rice healthy for you?

Yes, it is. Kimchi rice is a very healthy dish because it consists of meats and eggs which are good sources of protein, plus the vitamins from kimchi itself.

Conclusion

Cheer up. You can have your fried rice dish, but you must prioritize your health and apply the tips of eating fried rice healthily.

The key point is to use the recipes that are good for your body and to add a decent amount of all your ingredients to get only the best out of your fried rice dish.

Thanks for reading.

Did you enjoy this article? You can get more related guides on rice here on Cheffist.