Sunday, March 13, 2011

American Chinese Food Takeout Series - Fried Rice

Fried Rice in American-Chinese takeout place is not the type of fried rice you know in Asia. Here, fried rice is dark, extremely dark. Fried with lots of onion and scallion, the meat of choice and of course dark soy sauce. That pretty much sums up what fried rice is in the States.
When I was working in a restaurant one summer, I asked the chef what goes into the Chinese takeout fried rice to give it that dark hue. I know it has to be dark soy sauce but yet it taste different. He told me that the kitchen's secret is mushroom flavored dark soy sauce. I don't know too many people who doesn't like dark soy sauce here. Give this a try, even if it doesn't carry any resemblance to the fried rice you know at all.

Fried Rice
3 cups of cooked rice
1/2 lb chicken or pork
1/2 large onion, diced
2 stalks scallion, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp canola oil
4 Tbsp mushroom flavored dark soy

Seasoning for meat
2 tsp soy sauce
1 egg white, beaten
1 tsp chinese cooking wine or sherry
1/2 tsp sesame oil
Dash of black pepper
1 tsp cornstarch

Step 1: Prepare the ingredients. Marinade the meat for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

Step 2: Heat up a wok over high heat. Add in 2 Tbsp of oil. Heat till oil is smoky.
Step 3: Stir in the meat. Cook till no longer red.
Step 4: Add in all the onions. Cook till the onion has softened.

Step 5: Add in the rice and the remaining 1 Tbsp of oil. Stir till all the rice is well mixed with all the ingredients. Remember to constantly scrap the bottom of the pan to avoid rice from sticking onto the wok. Add in mushroom flavored dark soy and scallion. Stir till well combined.
Dish out and served.

Note: To add 'wok hei' to your fried rice, make sure the heat is on high the entire time and the wok is heated till smoking before you start cooking in it. Stir the rice in the wok longer prior to adding the dark soy sauce to enhance the 'wok hei' in your fried rice. The rice will not stick to the wok if you keep stirring.


  1. 1/2 lb. There really is no one single rule to it. You can put in more if you are a meat lover.

  2. Wow this looks good. I will have to try your recipe. I have been looking for a recipe like this one for a long time. I'm having a little bit of trouble trying to find dark soy sauce let alone mushroom flavored dark soy sauce. I will keep searching it.

    1. If there is an Asian store within the area where you live, they will carry them. I will recommend for you to get the Lee Kum Kee or Kimlan brand. They are both equally good.

  3. Hi there! great stuff. Thanks for sharing a very interesting and informative content, it helps me a lot, keep it up!

    take out lexington ma

    1. Not a problem! BTW, if you live in Lexington,MA, head over to Batambang Market in Lowell, or H-Mart in Burlington. There are a couple of Asian grocery store close to Lexington too. If all else fails, SS carries the mushroom dark soy I have mentioned over at the Asian grocery aisle. Prepared to pay an arm and a leg for it though

  4. I'm going to try this recipe! I'm from Billerica but live in San Diego now & have been searching for a recipe for a few Mass Chinese food staples cause they do not make it the same here! THANKS!

    1. Hi Laurie! I lived in Burlington, MA for years before moving to the south shore. Bet you miss the Ah So sauce too and ice-cream from Bedford Farm. I know I do!

  5. Is the dark soy a bit sweet?

    Bob, formally from Westford, MA

    1. Compared to regular soy, yes. However, it is more salty than sweet. Hope that helps