RECIPE: Home-style Fried Rice with Vegetables


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Bowl of fried rice with vegetables with chop sticks

RECIPE: Home-style Fried Rice with Vegetables

  • Author: Catherine Walthers


Over the years, I’ve eaten plenty of fried rice in restaurants, and while some of it has been very good, it can be greasy, salty, and disappointing. I decided to start making my own fried rice at home, and this forgiving, flexible dish has become one of my favorite ways to empty the fridge of leftovers. 

Cold, leftover rice makes the best base, because refrigerating firms up the grain and decreases the chances that the fried rice will turn mushy. I use brown rice and add vegetables like kale, napa cabbage, and carrots. Eggs and any leftover tofu, tempeh, meat or fish often make their way into the pan, too. I like to season my rice with fish sauce, which adds depth of flavor and blends right in (fish sauce is basically anchovy in clear, liquid form, nothing to be afraid of!) Few foods offer quite as much versatility as fried rice, and it reheats easily. Alongside a cup of soup, fried rice makes a filling supper; it’s also a perfect packed lunch, and even makes a great breakfast. Serves 4 to 6.


Units Scale
  • 1 cup short-grain brown rice (about 3 1/2 cups cooked rice), see note on choosing rice
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut or olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups kale, stalks removed, rinsed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups napa cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shredded carrot (1 or 2 carrots)
  • 1 cup corn kernels, stripped from 1 ear of corn (optional, if available fresh, or you have frozen locally grown corn in season)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce


  1. To make the rice: Rinse rice and place in a medium saucepan nearly filled with water and 2 pinches of salt. Bring to a boil, and then  turn to a simmer (lightly boiling) and cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. Test to see if the rice is cooked; it still will be slightly chewy. Once the rice is cooked, drain in a colander and shake several times  to release the steam. Place in a bowl and refrigerate overnight. (To make the same day, cool the rice on a baking sheet until steam is released, then refrigerate while you are chopping the vegetables.)
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of oil into a wok or your largest, heaviest skillet. Add kale and napa cabbage and cook on medium-high for 2 minutes, stirring constantly (I use tongs or two wooden spoons). Add carrot, ginger, and garlic, and stir-fry another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove vegetables to a bowl. Add an additional ½ tablespoon of oil and scramble the eggs. (Alternatively, you can scramble the eggs in a separate non-stick pan.) Add the rice, soy sauce, and fish sauce, and mix well. Add the vegetables back and stir until everything is hot. Serve immediately, and enjoy.


Which rice to choose? I always buy organic brown rice, as brown rice simply has more nutrients than white! They start out the same, but white rice is milled and polished to remove the bran and germ. In that process, white rice loses a lot of the fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, Vitamin E, iron, and even quite a bit of protein. It becomes a refined grain, rather than a whole grain. Unfortunately, both brown rice and white rice contain some levels of arsenic (more so in brown rice), a heavy metal found in the soil. Washing rice and cooking it with lots of water, as I do in this recipe, can help reduce the amount of arsenic by 57 percent, according to one study.

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Catherine Walthers
Catherine Walthers
Catherine Walthers, Bluedot’s food editor, is a Martha’s Vineyard-based writer, culinary instructor, and private chef. A former journalist, she is the author of 4 cookbooks, including Kale, Glorious Kale, Soups + Sides, and Raising the Salad Bar. She wrote an environmental guidebook called A Greener Boston published by Chronicle Books in 1992. Follow her on Instagram @catherine_walthers.
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