I have been making this delicious Chinese fried rice for many years at home in my kitchen. It always feels like a real treat and I have adapted the recipe to be gluten free and include healthier ingredients. This is lower in fat and is more nutritious than most other recipes you will find on other food blogs.
I have some pretty amazing memories attached to this dish. When I was little and my family would order takeout from our local Chinese restaurant then this was always what I went for. I can’t remember why I chose it in the first place, but once I tasted it there was no choosing anything else from the menu. Looking back, the restaurant version was deigned purely for flavor and taste and perhaps a little higher in fat than I would have realised back then. However, I have managed to replicated that experience in the form of this recipe which makes use of all those wonderful vegetables (which all have their own health benefits). I have even managed to get this recipe to be gluten free without compromising on taste in the form of my own wheat free soy sauce recipe. See the note below.
My kids all tell me this is the best fried rice in the world! Granted they haven’t tried many other versions, but they all gobble this version down very quickly. And that is saying something about my picky little eaters! Everyone always talks about hiding vegetables inside sauces for children, but in this dish the veggies are hidden in plain sight so to speak! You can add anything you like. Anything they normally wouldn’t eat can be thrown in as long as it is cut up into small enough pieces! The key when cooking for children is to chop everything up really finely before adding to the pan. My youngest wouldn’t touch onions until after he had eaten this dish and consumed them without even realising. A lot of what children won’t eat is to do with the texture rather than the flavor of certain foods.
What goes into this gluten free vegetable fried rice?
Obviously! But seriously, there are so many types of rice to choose from when picking your ingredients. The typical rice used in Chinese restaurants is short grain or occasionally long grain or American rice. I usually make this recipe with premium basmati rice for several reasons. Mainly because it is low on the glycaemic index compared with shorter grain varieties. Therefore it releases energy more slowly and keeps me and my family fuller for longer. Basmati also includes more fiber per serving which also makes this dish more filling.
The most important thing to remember when cooking this fried rice recipe is that the rice must be cooked beforehand. It should be thoroughly cooled. Ideally you would do this recipe with leftover rice from the dinner the night before. That is what I do.
The classic vegetables used in restaurant style fired rice appear in this version too. A key one is onion. For extra health benefits I use red onion. It also adds an interesting color to the finished dish. Remember you should be eating a rainbow!
Peas & corn
No fried rice dish is complete without peas and corn. Peas are high in folic acid and the corn is packed with fiber.
Adds important and famous color to the recipe. Cook them until they are soft for best results.
Red bell pepper
You can use any color pepper of your choosing for this, but red contains the most antioxidants due to its rich hue.
The addition of black beans may not be a unusual as you think. If you are familiar with genuine Asian cooking, then you will know that black beans are used frequently in authentic Chinese recipes. Another famous export from Chinese restaurants is chicken in black bean sauce which really utilizes the nutritional powerhouse that is these wonderful beans. They add great texture and flavour to my fried rice recipe and they are packed protein, iron and folate.
Chicken or tofu
In this recipe I opted to use lean chicken breast as a main source of protein but you can either leave it out completely, or replace with tofu or even soy chunks if you so choose. The great thing about fried rice is that you can add anything leftover from your fridge! It all works wonderfully well. Just make sure that if you are using meat it is cooked beforehand. Leftover chicken from another dinner work the best. It should be uniformly cut into small pieces to ensure even distribution in the final dish. This is optional though and is plenty nutritious enough if you don’t feel like adding it.
A standard chicken egg will do. Ideally, it should be free range, but this is your personal preference. It should be whisked or beaten lightly in a separate bowl ready to be added to your hot pan part way through cooking.
Gluten free soy sauce
Everything else in this dish is gluten free, but you need to take extra care when choosing the soy sauce as most versions commercially available contain wheat. Opt for a specifically gluten free version, alternatively you can make your own. I have been making my own natural gluten free soy sauce recipe for many years now and don’t miss the overpriced supermarket version at all. See the recipe here.
These can be scattered on the top if desired. They add extra crunch and authentic texture and flavor (also calcium!) to the dish. If you are making this for kids, probably it is best to leave them out.
How to make restaurant style fried rice
Prepare your vegetables beforehand. They should be finely chopped to make sure that everyone gets an even amount of everything in their bowl.
The rice used in this recipe should be pre-cooked. All authentic Chinese restaurants always have a large contained of already-cooked rice cooled and ready to fry up with their other ingredients. They also have cooked and chopped meat or tofu at the ready too.
The vegetables should be fried until softened and lightly golden. Don’t add the garlic until they are cooked and cook for one minute or so more to avoid the garlic burning.
Your egg should be beaten already in a small bowl and added to an empty section of the pan or wok. It should be quickly scrambled into small pieces and stirred into the rest of the dish. It should be golden and delicious when you are finished.
Add the rice and stir thoroughly to break up any big chunks in the grain.
The soy sauce and vibrant peas and corn should be added towards the end of cooking along with the black beans to retain color and texture. They should add a burst of juicy sweetness to the rice.
Make sure you service piping hot. This recipe works really well when served in bowls similar to how you would receive Chinese takeout from a real restaurant!
The BEST Gluten Free Fried Rice
- 2 cups of cooked rice
- 2 red onions
- 1 cup of frozen peas thawed
- 1/2 cup corn
- 1 large carrot finely diced
- 1/2 red bell pepper finely diced
- 1 egg beaten lightly
- 1/2 cup cooked black beans
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp gluten free soy sauce - see note above
- Chopped cooked chicken pork or chilled tofu (optional)
- Heat the cooking oil in a large frying pan or, ideally, a large wok to a medium-high heat.
- Chop the vegetables and start cooking by adding the onion and carrot to the hot pan.
- Stir often and allow the onion and carrot to soften.
- If you are using any meat, add the chicken or other meat of your choosing here. If you are using tofu add it now along with the bell pepper and garlic.
- After a few more minutes your vegetables should be cooked and your meat or tofu should be crisp and browned on the outside.
- Move everything in the pan aside with your wooden spoon or spatula and add the beaten egg to the pan. Stir frequently to scramble until cooked and golden.
- Give everything another stir.
- Add the soy sauce and stir throughout briefly before adding the rice.
- Add in the corn, peas and black beans.
- Stir for a few more minutes and serve.