Kitchen Confidential: Secrets for BEST Chinese Fried Rice

Fresh is always best, right? Wrong!

Kitchen Confidential: Secrets for BEST Chinese Fried Rice

When you're making Chinese Fried Rice, you might be shooting yourself in the foot if you're a fresh food fanatic! There's a secret to making that perfect, hot, fluffy fried rice... and mostly it's that dreaded "L" word.

How To Make Perfect Rice In The Microwave


Here are some tips to making Chinese Fried Rice just like you get in takeout.

  • Start with perfectly cooked rice. Then package it up and put it in the fridge and ignore it until tomorrow.
  • Don't skimp on the oil.
  • Make sure your pan is very hot. They use 20,000 BTU burners in the industry to make fried rice, so there's no such thing as too hot at home. 
  • Use either a nonstick or cast iron pan-- be forewarned, a cast iron will require more oil.
  • Your day old rice is better cold. 
  • Don't crowd the rice. 2-3 cups at a time, tops!
  • Don't skimp on the salt. Salt a bit at every step, because earlier is better than later.
  • Don't get all obsessive about measurements.
  • Hold delicate vegetables like bean sprouts until after the rice has gone into the pan.
  • Taste as you go to make sure it comes out awesome.
  • Don't be afraid to experiment and make it the way YOU like it!

Classic Chinese Fried Rice

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups cold leftover rice, broken up and loose
  • 1-2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup other vegetables (snow peas, peas, carrots, sprouts, etc.) 
  • soy sauce
  • salt
  • vegetable oil
  • a handful cooked cubed chicken breast (or equivalent in shrimp or tofu), optional


 Begin with the eggs. Scramble the eggs in a little oil with a little salt over medium heat until cooked and fluffy. Remove from the pan and set aside, breaking up large clumps.

 Increase the heat to high and allow the pan to get very hot. Reserving the green onions and any delicate vegetables like sprouts, saute the hardier vegetables with a pinch of salt in about a tablespoon of oil until softened. Add the meat and saute a few minutes more, till hot.

 Add another tablespoon of oil to the hot pan and add the rice. Toss to coat and cook through - don't worry too much if a little bit sticks. Add your green onions and other delicate vegetables at the same time as the rice. 

 Just before done, add soy sauce to taste, tossing the rice to coat. Cover, remove from heat and let sit for a minute or two. This will help "unstick" the stuck rice, too.

 Fold in scrambled eggs and serve.

Feeling adventurous? Try it mixing it up with these things!

Oyster sauce in addition to / as a replacement for soy sauce.

A drizzle of sesame oil when sauteing the vegetables.

Add bacon! (Everything's better with...)

Add reconstituted dried scallops.

Green garlic.

What do you like in your fried rice?


Hummus: You're Making it Wrong

One surprising ingredient changes EVERYTHING.

Hummus: You're Making it Wrong

Would you believe me if I told you that these two spoons are hummus made from the same recipe? It's true. Except, the one on the right has one tiny little secret ingredient.

Oh hummus, one of the most popular things in the world to snack on, but so seldom made from scratch here in North America. Such a shame. Store bought hummus is so meh. And expensive.

And yet, to judge by my friends' habits, hummus is bought approximately 110,000 times as often as they make it fresh. Why? Because texture problems.

Theres eleventy million billion recipes online for hummus, and their owners don't have enough science knowledge to know the humble chickpea's kryptonite (or they just don't care, and that's cool). Therefore, a great many of of those eleventy million billion recipes are lacking one very small but very important ingredient.

You like the silky smooth, my friend? You have to have the silky smooth, my friend.

The Only Hummus Recipe You'll Ever Need

Come. I help make you silky smooth.

I don't care what recipe you have - it doesn't matter, and there are lots of hummus recipes out there even on this site, and you can pick any one of them. You can use store bought tahini or homemade tahini (it's SUPER easy to make). It doesn't matter what kind of chickpeas you want to use either. Use canned. Use dried. It don't matter none. And if your recipe suggests using a pressure cooker? Well forget that noise. You don't need it.

But what you need? You're going to need to add this:


I will tell you why.

Chickpeas (the primary ingredient of hummus) have a tough outer hull. The hull is responsible for about 78% (by my random guess) of the grit in lumpy hummus. Sure you could make yourself crazy peeling chickpeas, or you could exploit the chickpea's fatal weakness. Chickpeas are high in pectin... the same tough plant polysaccharide that is used to provide structure in jams and jellies. Pectic bonds are broken down in the presence of an alkaline substance... such as the superhero of our story, baking soda.

So! How do we go about using said superhero?

It's very simple. Either take your drained/rinsed canned chickpeas or your drained/soaked/rinsed dried chickpeas, and throw them in a skillet. Turn the heat on medium, and add a scant 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda per cup of ready-to-use chickpeas. Nothing else.

Saute the chickpeas for about three minutes, at which point you'll begin to see the outer hull fall apart. Don't worry about picking out the skins. You won't be bothered by them. 

If you're using dried chickpeas, you'll want to proceed to add water and simmer them, covered, until they're soft but not mushy (roughly 30-40m). If you're using canned chickpeas, then add water and simmer for just a few minutes.

Drain them, and proceed with your recipe... except you may want to be cautious in adding the usual amounts of oil and water. 'Cause odds are, you're going to get the silky smooth without adding copious amounts oil and water.

Enjoy. And... you're welcome. 


Easy Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo

This 10 Minute Dish is All-Natural Delicious!

Easy Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo

If you think you have to buy bottled alfredo, it's only because you have no idea how easy it is to make the real thing! Rich, delicious, creamy alfredo with no preservatives and funky stuff can be yours... in under 10 minutes. | pasta | real food |

There's a day dedicated to Fettuccini Alfredo (February 7). Who knew? But if any food deserved a national holiday, I'm on board with this.

One of my best friends is Italian. Raging Italian. As in I'm not allowed to to say certain words in front of her, like proscuitto, unless I'm also copping a half-decent Italian-American accent.

My Southern-US-Transplanted-Canadian-Fake-Italian accent is an endless source of delight to other Italians who may be in the vicinity of us while we're shopping, and trust me, living in Hamilton? There are many. This is also awkward because I love Italian food, so we discuss it frequently, so I should probably hire a professional voice tutor.

Spaghetti with Olive Oil and Garlic

I have it on good authority that Italians can't believe some of the stuff we call Italian food and how we eat it. Knowing what I do of the culture, I'm not really surprised. Italians love food, and Italian food is all about delighting in the flavour of fresh, simple, quality ingredients. When you buy a jar of alfredo sauce in the store, it is not any of those things.

Your average jar of store-bought alfredo sauce has like 10-15 ingredients, and at least half of them are thickeners and preservatives. REAL alfredo sauce, at heart, is just THREE ingredients: butter, cream, cheese.

I swear. That's it. You might have as many as five or six ingredients if you get a little saucy (badum-ching!) and add in some craziness like garlic or nutmeg, plus salt and pepper. 

So let this be a lesson: if your alfredo sauce has an unpronouncable ingredient with more than 9 letters in it, or contains any hyphens, you might be doing it wrong.

If you think you have to buy bottled alfredo, it's only because you have no idea how easy it is to make the real thing! Rich, delicious, creamy alfredo with no preservatives and funky stuff can be yours... in under 10 minutes. | pasta | real food |

I can't believe how people cheat themselves out of the joy that is real alfredo sauce. Maybe the reason why is people don't understand how easy (and fast) it is to make (seriously, like 2-3 minutes tops). If you were a fan of my Spaghetti e Olio, you know how fast that comes together! Imagine that while you're waiting for the pasta to drain, you drop a pat of butter and pour a little cream into the bottom of the pasta pot, melt the butter, thicken it with a little grated parmesan, and stir the pasta back in.

That's it. 

Don't use a can of cheap parmesan for this one--you will be very sad (sorry big brands, but it's true). Go to the deli area and get them to point you at the tubs of grated Reggiano. While you're there, grab yourself a rotisserie chicken if you want to add a little something-something, and slice some up to top your pasta.

Then prop your feet up and bask in the adoration of your family members while you make them do the dishes.

Fettuccini Alfredo

(serves four)


1 LB (450g) fettuccini pasta - fresh (soft, not dried) if possible
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra to serve
2 tbsp butter
1 cup heavy cream, divided
Salt, fresh-cracked pepper, and ground nutmeg
Grilled or roasted chicken (optional)


 Bring a large pot of lightly-salted water to a boil.

 Add the pasta, and cook 2-3 minutes (if fresh), or 7-8 minutes (if dried), until tender but still firm to bite. Drain the fettuccini in the sink, but do not rinse.

 After pouring the fettuccini into the colander, return the pot to the stove and reduce heat to medium-low. Add the butter and about 2/3 of the cream. Once the butter is fully melted and the cream is hot (but not boiling), return the pasta to the pot, and toss to coat. Sprinkle the pasta with the cheese, a dash of ground nutmeg, and additional salt and cracked pepper as you toss it, allowing it to heat through. If sauce becomes a little dry or lumpy, add a splash more cream.

 Serve immediately. Garnish with chicken and fresh chopped parsley, if desired. 

If you think you have to buy bottled alfredo, it's only because you have no idea how easy it is to make the real thing! Rich, delicious, creamy alfredo with no preservatives and funky stuff can be yours... in under 10 minutes. | pasta | real food |