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Leave Your Fried Rice In The Pan A Bit Longer For A Delightful Crust

bowl of veggie fried rice
bowl of veggie fried rice - Nungning20/Shutterstock

Fried rice needs no introduction. A prominent staple in Asian, South Asian, and Southeast Asian cuisines, this savory dish is believed to have been created in China during the Sui Dynasty. Originally considered a peasant's meal due to its central use of leftovers to mitigate the daily impacts of economic inequality, fried rice has since transcended its humble origins to become one of the world's most beloved dishes. It has inspired countless variations, including the incorporation of everything from roast pork in Cuba to beef liver in Nigeria to pineapple in Thailand.

But what if there was a way to elevate your favorite fried rice with a crispy bottom crust that sends your taste buds into a serious frenzy? There is — and it's simpler than you might think. It turns out that the crispy, delectable bottom crust — also known as the caramelized socarrat in Spanish paella — can be easily achieved in your wok. When your rice is done cooking, simply let it sit undisturbed in the pan for 45 seconds to allow the bottom of your rice to transform into a delightfully crispy crust. Then, flip it out of your pan to serve crust side up for maximum enjoyment.

Read more: 5 Rice Brands To Buy, And 5 To Avoid

Creating A Delectable Crust On Your Fried Rice

cooking fried rice in a wok
cooking fried rice in a wok - Serge_bertasius/Getty Images

The first step to creating that undeniably savory crust is choosing your rice. Medium-grain white rice, with its mild taste that serves as a great canvas for flavorful mix-ins, jasmine rice, known for its light floral aroma, or Japanese-style sushi rice, celebrated for its chewier, moist texture, are all popular choices for fried rice due to their gentle flavors and fluffy textures. But whichever rice you choose, don't forget to season your water with a pinch of salt before cooking it — this will enhance the natural flavor of the rice, creating a balanced base for your savory mix-ins. To further enliven the taste, consider adding a few bouillon cubes or minced garlic to your water to provide additional flavor.

Want to fry leftover rice from last night's meal? Go ahead — just be sure to add a few tablespoons of water and fluff your rice first, using either a fork or your hands, as rice tends to clump together when stored overnight in the refrigerator. If you wait until you're frying your rice to try to break up those clumps, you risk ending up with unevenly cooked rice — so the extra prep is essential for the best results. Then, fry your rice with your chosen mix-ins as usual, and when it's ready, remember to let it rest in the wok for up to one minute. The heat from the pan will help it to crisp up.

Delicious Pairings For Your Fried Rice

Korean fried rice topped with egg
Korean fried rice topped with egg - DronG/Shutterstock

Perhaps the best thing about fried rice is that it's fully customizable, with a variety of proteins, vegetables, and other flavors that pair well with the delicious crispy bottom crust.

If you're looking for some heat, for example, consider adding a few tablespoons of sriracha sauce to your pan before cooking, to enjoy an evenly spiced fried rice. Alternatively, for a richness in your flavor profile, cook it with butter in addition to a little oil — indeed, about three generous tablespoons of butter will elevate the flavor and enhance the taste of that crispy crust, adding decadence to every bite.

If you want to go full hibachi-style with it — and honestly, who wouldn't? — add about 10 cloves of minced garlic to your butter to give the seriously addicting robustness of restaurant-fried rice. However, you may want to use a little less garlic in your butter if you've already boiled your rice in garlic water, so it doesn't completely overpower your dish. Get creative and enjoy.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.