Recipe: Leftovers, pantry staples make better fried rice

The secret to a great fried rice is all in the leftovers.

Freshly cooked rice often results in a soggy, gluey dish because it continues to cook as ingredients are added to the pan. But chilling previously cooked rice changes its starches, yielding light, separate grains.

So at Milk Street, we always make way too much rice and save the extra so we have some on hand for an easy weeknight meal (leftover rice freezes well for use in fried rice). Then it’s only a matter of grabbing a few things from the pantry.

For this recipe from our book “COOKish,” which limits recipes to just six ingredients without sacrificing flavor, we took inspiration from an Anglo-Indian dish called kedgeree. Often eaten for breakfast, this curry-seasoned rice comes studded with smoked fish. Smoked haddock is classic, but we use easier-to-source smoked trout, which also offers the advantage of being ready to use straight from the package (smoked haddock requires poaching in milk).

Chopped hard-cooked eggs add a creaminess that also bulks this up into a full meal. The options for garnishes are endless, but we like the textural interest from cashews and the fresh notes from chopped cilantro.


Start to finish: 25 minutes

Servings: 4

3 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 3 pieces

1 small yellow onion, chopped

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

4 cups cooked and chilled long-grain white rice

4 ounces smoked trout, skin removed, broken into flakes

2 tablespoons curry powder

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, melt the butter until foamy. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent. Add the ginger and cook until aromatic. Using your hands, break apart any clumps in the rice and add to the skillet along with the trout, curry powder, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Stir, then cook without stirring until heated through and beginning to brown on the bottom. Season with salt and pepper.

Optional garnish: Chopped soft- or hard-cooked eggs OR chopped fresh cilantro OR chopped roasted cashews OR lemon wedges OR chutney OR a combination

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