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Chicken Fried Rice

Fried rice is a great way to bring new life to leftover white rice.  Chicken fried rice on the other hand takes it a step further by taking a leftover side dish and turning it into a meal!

Chicken fried rice in a skillet

Fried rice is believed to have started as a way of reusing leftover white rice in the Sui Dynasty about 1500 years ago! 

Today it is also a popular street food throughout Asia and different variations of fried rice have been developed all over the world.

The type of fried rice we are most familiar with in Chinese restaurants is based off of Yangzhou fried rice, other wise known as Yeung Chow fried rice.  T

his style of fried rice was which was created over 200 years ago and traditionally contains pork and seafood.

Since then however, this dish has inspired chicken fried rice, beef fried rice, and plain fried rice.

DARK MEAT VS WHITE MEAT

Most people have a preference between eating white meat or dark meat.  They both certainly have their benefits and detriments in this recipe.  

White meat has the benefit of being lean, more readily available as boneless and skinless, and it cooks quickly.  Dark meat is juicer and does not dry out as quickly making it a safer choice.

At the end of the day, you can use either white or dark meat for this recipe.  The choice is yours.  I often just choose based on what I have on hand.

IS KOSHER CHICKEN BETTER?

Yes and no. 

It is not necessarily healthier as far as bacteria is concerned, since bacteria can only safely be killed with heat. 

What is better is the quality of the chicken.

The salting process used to remove blood, as part of the koshering process, is believed to provide better quality meat.  

It creates a sort of quick dry brine.

Also, kosher animals are kept in better conditions than nonkosher animals, due to strict kosher health requirements of the animals.  They are also killed in arguably more humane conditions.

While I’ve only eaten kosher meat (so I cannot compare), I’ve been told by non-Jews who do not keep kosher that they’ve noticed that kosher chicken is of superior quality to cook with.

SHOULD YOU WASH CHICKEN?

According to the USDA, you should not wash chicken or meat because washing it spreads bacteria throughout the kitchen.

Water can splash bacteria up to 3 feet surrounding your sink, including onto counter tops, other food, towels and you (i.e. cross contamination).

A study done by Drexel University shows that it is best to move meat and poultry directly from package to pan.  The heat from cooking will kill any bacteria that may be present.

One exception would be if there are bone fragments or residue from giblets, as in a roasting chicken. In that case, feel free to rinse if you like.  However, make sure you wipe down your sink afterwards.

HOW CAN I CLEAN MY CHICKEN WITHOUT WASHING IT?

If you want to clean your chicken without washing it, wipe it down with a wet paper towel. This will remove anything other than bacteria.

Just make sure the paper towel doesn’t touch anything else and to toss the paper towel right away.

HOW TO DEFROST CHICKEN

IN THE FRIDGE

This method is the most highly recommended. Chicken typically takes a full day to thaw. Once thawed, the poultry can remain in the refrigerator for a day or two before cooking.

IN COLD WATER

This should take two to three hours.  Submerge your sealed chicken in a pot or bowl full of cold water.  Change out the water every 30 minutes or so. 

Do not use warm or hot water.  It is unhealthy to do so, can start cooking your chicken, and doesn’t do so evenly.

COOK IT FROZEN

According to the USDA, you can cook frozen chicken.  It will take 50% longer to cook, but it’s an option.  You should also cook it on a roasting rack or over vegetables, so the heat can circulate around the chicken.

IS IT SAFE TO REFREEZE RAW CHICKEN

If you have extra raw chicken that you didn’t use but want to refreeze, you can, as long as it was thawed in the fridge.

According to the USDA,“food thawed in the refrigerator is safe to refreeze without cooking.”  However, you do lose quality when refreezing previously defrosted meat. 

Every time you defrost meat, it loses moisture through thawing, which also leads to a loss in flavor.  To compensate for this, marinate the meat to add more flavor and juice.”

The USDA also says not to “refreeze any foods left outside the refrigerator longer than 2 hours; 1 hour in temperatures above 90 °F.”

SHOULD YOU BRINE?

No.  Brining actually doesn’t do anything to help poultry.  In fact, it makes it soggy rather than juicy, with watered down flavor. 

Aromatic brines and stock don’t help with flavor either.  This is because the salt pulls water molecules in, leaving most of the flavor behind.

DRY BRINING

A dry brine loosens up muscle fibers, allowing them to retain more moisture as without adding any excess liquid. 

Initially, the salt draws moisture out, then it dissolves in this liquid, creating a concentrated brine, which eventually gets reabsorbed.  This leads to more intensely flavored results.

An added benefit is that it also requires less space and mess than a water brine.  Not to mention the fact that it allows for crispier skin. 

CAN YOU DRY BRINE KOSHER POULTRY AND MEAT?

Yes.  Food experts are often under the impression that kosher meat and poultry cannot be brined and dry brined. 

This is because of the koshering process which involves salting the meat to remove the blood.  However, the process is not nearly as long as the dry brining process, and unlike a dry brine, the poultry is soaked to remove the salt.

So, since the process is quite different than a dry brine, it is fine and even recommended to dry brine kosher poultry and meat.

HOW TO STORE CHICKEN

Place cooled chicken in an airtight container or wrap in heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic wrap.  Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.

HOW TO FREEZE CHICKEN

Freeze leftovers within 3-4 days.  Place cooled chicken in an airtight container or resealable freezer bag. 

Freeze for up to 4 months.  After that, it is safe to eat. However, the quality begins to degrade.

REHEATING

When reheating place the rice in a bot sprinkle a teaspoon of water over the top to help loosen stuck, dried grains then place. 

Heat over medium heat stirring constantly to keep the grains moving, but be careful not to mash them.

Yield: 4 servings

Chicken Fried Rice

Chicken fried rice in a skillet

Chicken fried rice is an Westernized version of Chinese Yangzhou fried rice. It is a great way to take leftover white rice and turn it into a a fresh meal.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound of dark or light boneless skinless chicken, cut in half inch pieces
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup peas, optional
  • 2 cups rice, cool
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • pinch chicken bullion powder, vegetarian
  • 1 to 2 thinly sliced green onions, optional
  • Oil

Instructions

  1. Lightly coat a large non-stick skillet or wok with oil and heat.   Lower to a medium high flame and add chicken. Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes.  Place chicken on a plate and set aside.
  2. Coat with more oil if needed. Scramble the egg into small pieces.
  3. Then add the carrot and cook while constantly stirring until a fork can pierce it easily.
  4. Add the onions and cook until soft and somewhat transparent, still stirring constantly. 
  5. Add peas. At this point you can also add the green onions if you’d like. Cook for about a minute.
  6. Add rice to pan. Break up any chunks. Stir while it cooks until the rice is hot.
  7. Add soy sauce and stir for another minute or two mixing well.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 396Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 147mgSodium: 563mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 38g

Did you make this recipe?

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