Chicken Fried Rice is one of those meals I turn to when I’m craving easy, comfort food. I make this meal often because it’s a universal favorite in our family and I almost always have the ingredients on hand. Chicken fried rice makes fantastic leftovers, which motivates me to make an extra big batch. My daughter especially loves when I pack this dish for her school lunch.
There’s a number of ways that my chicken fried rice is different from the norm. The typical flavor of chicken fried rice, although comforting, is fairly bland and is mostly a salty soy flavor. While I enjoy the basic chicken fried rice dish, I find myself craving a more full-bodied flavor.
I’ve added more interest with fennel seeds, which is a seasoning you find in Chinese Five Spice Powder. I also create a huge flavor boost by separately browning fresh ginger and garlic low and slow in olive oil, and folding this fragrant toasted paste into the rice at the last minute.
Another difference in this version of chicken fried rice is using brown instead of white rice. Brown rice adds more fiber and nutrients to the dish. For more motivation to make the switch, read here about brown versus white rice. The brown rice taste is enhanced in this recipe by browning the rice and adding plenty of extra seasoning.
Another healthy adaptation I make is the addition of black beans. The beans give the dish more heft and texture interest, and this means you need less chicken. Just about everyone who’s tried my fried rice comments on the tasty touch of black beans.
Chicken Fried Rice as Fast Food
This chicken fried rice recipe is put together in about 20 minutes if you prepare your ingredients ahead of time. I always like to have cooked chicken on hand, either in the fridge or freezer. Read here for my easiest baked chicken breast method.
The night before I make this dish, I’ll prepare mounds of rice in our rice cooker. Cooled rice makes for a better textured rice once re-cooked. If you pre-chop the onions and cabbage and have them ready-to-go in the fridge, it means less mess and effort at dinner time. I hope you enjoy one of our family favorites!