I promised you this, the recipe for my easy and incredibly delicious Veg Fried Rice to go with the Veg Manchurian I shared yesterday, and here we are.
This is guaranteed to become your favorite vegetable fried rice recipe, or maybe even your favorite rice recipe. It really is that good, with a restaurant-like taste that's impossible to resist.
And it doesn't have to be eaten with the Manchurian, of course, although it's excellent with that. This fried rice makes a great meal by itself. Toss in some baked tofu cubes to pump up the protein.
This is the way I've been making veg fried rice for years, and I love it. The stir-fried rice comes out just perfect, and you don't have to plan ahead or make the rice a day ahead, or everything else you are usually instructed to do when making fried rice.
In fact, this recipe takes hardly any time to make. You can use leftover rice and add other veggies you have on hand. If cooking rice from scratch, put your rice to cook in the microwave (or the stovetop), prep the veggies and other ingredients, and put it all together in under five minutes. And you'll be so, so glad you did.
This is an extremely kid-friendly recipe, in case you have picky eaters around. It's rice, it's salty, and for once they won't even mind the veggies.
Ingredients for the vegetable fried rice
- Basmati rice. This might not be the kind of rice you usually use for fried rice, but it's perfect for Indo-Chinese fried rice. You can also use leftover rice, which has hardened a bit. Separate out the grains with a fork before using.
- Vegetable oil: I use avocado oil for most of my cooking, but any flavorless oil that won't burn at high temperatures is fine.
- Garlic: Tons of it.
- Green bell peppers: There's something about green bell peppers we Indians love, much more so than we love bell peppers of any other color. It's probably the fact that they are so savory and go so well with any kind of Indian cooking.
- Scallions: Because veg fried rice just wouldn't work without them.
- Carrots: For a splash of color and tons of nutrition.
- Tamari: If you want to keep this gluten-free. Soy sauce is a fine substitute
- Hot chili sauce: You can use any kind of hot sauce you have on hand here but the kind you can find in Indian groceries, labeled "chilli sauce" is awesome. Sriracha would work too, so would anything else you have on hand that's red and hot. I used the Maggi Masala Chilli Sauce and I added an Amazon affiliate link below in the recipe box so you can see what that is, but you can find it much cheaper at any Indian grocery.
- Rice vinegar: You want some tang in your rice. Rice vinegar is great, but apple cider vinegar or just plain vinegar works too.
- Liquid aminos: Indo-Chinese fried rice made in Indian restaurants and by street vendors has a great smokiness. You can't really achieve that in home cooking without burning your food, and the liquid aminos does a great job of adding smokiness without the fire.
How to make the best vegetable fried rice
- Pick the right rice: The rice is of course the most important ingredient in your fried rice, so you need to make sure you get it right. Most Indo-Chinese cooks would use basmati, not the short-grain or medium-grain rice you usually find in Chinese foods. So use basmati or another long grain, if possible.
- Cook the rice: The rice needs to be cooked just enough, but not to the point of softness. If the rice is too soft, it will mash when you fry it in the wok, and you'll have a rice pudding instead of fried rice. Not the effect you're going for. To get your rice just right, you will need to soak it for 30 minutes. Then drain, measure in the water, and toss it in the microwave. If you don't want to use a microwave, you can cook the rice on the stovetop. Bring a bit pot of salted water to boil, add the rice the way you would pasta, and cook it until the grain is just soft enough that it mashes when you apply slight pressure, but not falling apart.
- Dry the rice: That's right, you need your cooked rice grains to be as "dry" as possible so they fry up nicely in the hot wok. To do this, drain the rice thoroughly after cooking, in case there's any water left in it, then spread it in an even layer in a baking sheet and let it stand while you prep the rest of your ingredients.
- Prep the veggies: Chop the veggies really fine for the fried rice. That way they won't take too long to cook in the screaming-hot wok. I like using scallions, carrots and bell peppers. Green beans, onions, broccoli, cauliflower would all work too. You will need a ton of garlic for this recipe: I use a whole big bulb for two cups of rice.
- Sauce it right: Like with the veg manchurian you will need a medley of sauces for this recipe--although not as many--and together they'll make your fried rice taste like heaven. I use tamari (soy sauce is fine), hot chili sauce, rice vinegar and some liquid aminos which add a nice, smoky flavor. If you don't have liquid aminos you can skip it and use more tamari.
- Put it all together: The rice comes together really fast once your wok is hot, so make sure you have all ingredients prepped and ready before you turn on the stove.
What can I serve with the fried rice?
Any Indo-Chinese veggie or tofu dish will go beautifully with the fried rice.
More vegan rice recipes
Veg Fried Rice
- 2 cups basmati rice (soaked in water for 30 minutes, then drained)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 12 cloves garlic (use less if you don't like your rice garlicky)
- 3 green chili peppers (minced. Serrano or jalapeno both work. Deseed and/or use less if sensitive to heat)
- 6 scallions (finely chopped. Green and white parts separated)
- 2 medium carrots (finely chopped. You want these to be as small as you can possibly get them without grating them, so they cook quickly in the wok)
- 1 large green bell pepper (again very finely chopped into tiny bits)
- 1 tbsp hot chili sauce (see notes above for what's suitable)
- 2 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce if not gluten-free)
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp liquid aminos (optional, but nice)
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- You can either make the rice in the microwave or the stovetop. To make it in the microwave, place the drained rice in a microwave-safe bowl and add 3 cups water to it. Add salt and mix. Cook on high power for 9 minutes or until the rice is cooked about 90 percent--enough to mash it with some pressure, but not soft. Drain the rice thoroughly if there's any water remaining.To cook this on the stovetop, bring a large pot of salted water to boil, the way you would for pasta. Add the drained rice and cook about 8-9 minutes, again until the rice is about 90 percent done. Drain thoroughly.
- Spread the rice on a baking sheet in as thin a layer as possible and set aside for at least 15-20 minutes or even more if possible. The rice should cool down thoroughly.
- Heat the wok over very high heat--as high as your stove will go.
- Pour in the vegetable oil along the sides of the pan so by the time it pools at the bottom it's already hot.
- Immediately add the garlic, green chili peppers, the white part of the scallions, carrots and green bell peppers. Stir-fry rapidly for just about a minute, then add in the sauces--hot chili sauce, tamari, rice vinegar and liquid aminos. Mix them quickly and then add the rice.
- Stir-fry the rice, with the wok still on high heat, for a couple of minutes, moving it constantly so every grain of rice has an opportunity to make contact with the hot surface of the wok several times. After two to three minutes, taste the rice and add ground black pepper and more salt if needed. Mix thoroughly, turn off the heat, garnish with the green parts of the scallions and serve hot.