This classic fried rice recipe is loaded with fresh mixed veggies and aromatic spices for an incredibly hearty, flavorful vegan dish. Hands-down this is one of our favorite Chinese-inspired recipes. Not only is vegetable fried rice amazingly easy to make from scratch, it’s a naturally vegan dish that’s as good for you as it is delicious to eat. You can even tweak veg fried rice to be gluten-free simply by using GF-friendly soy sauce or tamari.
About this recipe
And although Chinese fried rice is a healthy option, it is loaded with lots of exciting flavors. Salty, umami, and savory soy sauce is balanced with spiced star anise, and raw scallions add a great pop of freshness you’ll love.
Otherwise, I’ve kept the ingredients list rather basic to allow each element to shine – the veggies really are the star here!
Fried rice with mixed veggies can be enjoyed by itself for a satisfying lunch, but it does go great with rich, saucy main dishes.
This recipe rivals even the best take out options, and I’m sure you will enjoy making it often as part of your Indo-Chinese meals.
Stir-frying at high heat in a cast-iron skillet or wok imparts a bit of smoky flavor and aroma. Though a stovetop in your home kitchen, cannot compete with the heat and temperature of the stovetops in Chinese restaurants, you can still make a great homemade fried rice.
I do not add Ajinomoto, but you can include it if you are comfortable with it. The umami, smoky flavors in my fried rice recipe come from stir-frying at high heat and adding mushrooms, toasted sesame oil to the dish.
Generally in restaurants, soy sauce is not added to fried rice, but I like to add for an umami flavor. Feel free to skip soy sauce if you do not prefer it.
How to make Fried Rice
Prepping and Cooking Rice
1. A great vegetable fried rice recipe begins with well-cooked white rice. To do so, first, soak 1 cup of basmati rice (190 to 200 grams) in water for 30 mins. Then drain and set rice aside.
TIP: You can opt for a good quality aged long-grained rice if you do not have Basmati rice. Jasmine rice will also work in a pinch.
2. In a large pot add 4 to 4.5 cups of water, ½ teaspoon salt, and 2 to 3 drops of toasted sesame oil (or any cooking oil), and set over high heat on the stovetop.
3. Let the water reach a full boil.
4. Add the soaked and drained basmati rice.
5. Simmer the rice uncovered on medium to medium-high heat.
6. Cook rice until al dente, or just about cooked. It’s important that you do not overcook rice during this step in order to make the best Chinese fried rice dish.
7. Quickly strain ice in a colander, and let it cool completely. Refrigerating rice for 30 minutes also helps. Simply cover cooked rice and refrigerate.
8. You can also rinse the rice with water so that the rice stops cooking. Use your hands to gently stir the cooked rice grains around while rinsing to ensure that every grain is cooled. Then drain thoroughly.
9. Cover cooked rice and set aside to cool.
10. While rice is cooling, finely chop the veggies. Because french beans tend to be tougher than the other mixed vegetables, I recommend chopping them very finely. You also have the option to blanch them first before adding, or you can begin cooking them in this recipe before the rest of the vegetables are added.
For my favorite version of fried rice recipe you’ll need ¼ cup of each of the following ingredients, finely chopped:
- spring white onions (scallions) (not in the image below)
- french beans
- capsicum (bell peppers, your choice of color – green, red or yellow)
Plus about 1 cup of chopped button mushrooms for great earthy, umami flavor. I also like to include 1 tablespoon of finely chopped celery for the most authentic Chinese-inspired dish. Include ¼ to ½ cup of chopped cabbage if you have them.
11. Now it’s time to stir-fry the vegetables. Start by heating 3 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil (or preferred cooking oil) in a wok or a deep skillet. Add 1 whole star anise and fry for a few seconds, until the oil becomes fragrant.
TIP: Use a good, trusted, heavy pan, skillet, or wok for stir-frying so that the tender fresh veggies do not get stuck or burn when frying at high heat.
12. Then add 1 teaspoon of finely chopped garlic, and ½ teaspoon finely chopped ginger. Cook for only a moment as you don’t want to brown or burn the garlic.
13. Add the chopped spring onions, and sauté for a minute or two on medium-low to medium heat.
14. Then add the finely chopped french beans – or, add these before the onions if you want a softer bean texture.
15. Continue to stir-fry both the onions and french beans for 2 to 3 minutes over medium to medium-high heat.
16. Now add the remaining finely chopped veggies, including mushrooms and celery. Increase the heat to high to thoroughly cook all of the ingredients.
17. Continuously toss and stir while frying so that the veggies are uniformly cooked and do not get burnt – for about 4 to 6 minutes. You want the vegetables to be hot and fried but still retain some great crunch.
18. Once the veggies have cooked, add 3 tablespoons of soy sauce. Stir well.
TIP: You can add less soy sauce if you prefer that. I recommend going for naturally brewed soy sauce or tamari.
NOTE: If you do like or prefer soy sauce, then omit it adding to the dish.
19. Taste the dish, and then add ½ a teaspoon of ground black pepper and as much salt as you like. The Chinese fried rice will already be slightly salty because of the soy sauce, so not much additional salt should be needed.
20. Mix well to combine the flavors.
Making fried rice
21. You are now ready to put everything together to make the veg fried rice. To the wok or skillet of veggies add the cooked and cooled rice – 1 cup or so at a time.
22. Reduce the heat to medium or medium-high. Use a spoon or spatula to gently fold cooked rice into the mixed vegetables.
23. With the heat still on medium to medium-high, continue to gently mix and fry the vegetables with rice for a couple of minutes.
24. You now have the option to stir in 1 tablespoon of rice wine or rice vinegar (or other mild vinegar), if you like. This adds a terrific note of sourness to the veg fried rice that isn’t necessary but is quite lovely.
25. Lastly, add more fresh chopped spring onions. You can either sprinkle on top as a garnish or mix into the fried rice to incorporate.
26. Serve vegetable fried rice hot by itself for a light yet hearty meal, or enjoy it as a side dish along with your other favorite Chinese recipes.
How long can fried rice stay in fridge?
It stays good for a couple of days. But I would recommend it to be eaten as soon as you can – many days old rice is not good for health.
How to reheat fried rice?
I usually steam them in my Instant-pot for 5 minutes. Sometimes I also stir-fry them in a skillet sprinkling a few splashes of water, so that the rice grains do not dry out.