Southeast Asian Fried Rice

Steamed white and brown rice mixture before frying.

I love to travel. When I had kids several years ago I thought that part of my life was over. Thankfully, I was mistaken. I have learned that family travel can be very rewarding. It's true, traveling with young kids can take more time and energy, but the rewards are immense. Kids make you slow down, which opens the possibility to make connections with people on a deeper level. Without kids, I would not have met our Thai family who shared with us their fabulous aromatic fried rice recipe.

Whenever my kids help us cook this fried rice, we are all instantly transported back to steamy Southeast Asia with its array of smells, colors and tastes.

This recipe borrows flavors and textures from Vietnam, Thailand, Burma and Singapore. Amounts are approximate; go ahead and have fun!

Lightly fried vegetables. Use whatever vegetables are in season.

1 cup of white Jasmine rice (or long grain white rice) 1/2 cup of brown long grain rice

1/4 pound of regular ground pork

1/4 pound of regular ground beef1/2 minced round onion

2 handfuls of diced broccoli

2 handfuls of diced yellow or green string beans

1 handful of sliced bok choy or similar dark leafy vegetable (optional)

1 bunch of washed and dried spinach leaves to garnish the bowls

1 egg per serving

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 tablespoon of white sugar

coconut oil for frying (or canola oil or pork fat, if you don't have)

2 squirts of fish sauce

Burmese or Singaporean dried shrimp spice

Steam the white rice and brown rice separately. Bear in mind the brown rice will take more than twice as long as the white rice to cook. If you are unsure how to steam rice follow these guides; white rice, brown rice. Once cooked, combine the two and set aside.

In a bowl, combine the meat and season with salt and sugar.

Burmese dried spice (left), fish sauce

Preheat a wok on high heat. Use a table spoon or so of oil to coat the wok. Fry the rice on high, turning gently but constantly. Stir in fish sauce and continue to cook for another two minutes or until the rice is dry and all grains are separated. Place rice aside in a bowl.

Heat wok up once again on high. Brown onion in the wok. Add the meat and fry until cooked. Add the boy choy and cook for about 30 seconds. Add rice mixture back into wok and thoroughly mix for 2 minutes. Place entire mixture back in a bowl.

Clean the wok. Reheat the wok on high. Add oil and remainder of vegetables and stir fry until cooked or about 1 1/2 minutes. Place cooked vegetables in a bowl.

In non-stick frying pan, fry eggs sunny-side up, one per person.

Plate individual bowls using the spinach as a nest at the bottom, and topping off with the fried egg. Add spice on top (optional).

Individually plated fried rice, before putting the egg on top.


I am not a fan of hiding vegetables from my kids. This recipe includes a lot of vegetables. There is something very special about the manner in which the recipe combines the ingredients; I have seen even the most picky eater polish-off a bowl, including the raw spinach! Interested in tips on how to introduce new foods including vegetables to your children? See our article "Give Peas a Chance."

Posted by Ferd van Gameren

Ferd van Gameren, a native of the Netherlands, moved to the United States chasing adventure and a graduate degree. Since then he has taught Latin, Ancient Greek and English at independent schools in Massachusetts and New York for quite a few years. After living in Canada for almost six years, he and his (Gays With Kids co-founder) husband Brian Rosenberg recently moved with their three children back to New York City.

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