Vietnamese fried rice, or “com chien,” is a popular and flavorful dish that combines rice, egg, meat or seafood, diced vegetables, and seasonings. Growing up in Vietnam, I have fond memories of the aroma of sizzling garlic and the crackling sound of the rice grains as they cook to golden perfection. The dish is commonly made with day-old rice that’s fried until crispy, then tossed with savory seasonings like fish sauce and soy sauce. The addition of meat or seafood and vegetables like peas, carrots, and scallions create a colorful and delicious medley of flavors and textures. Vietnamese fried rice is a satisfying and comforting dish that’s perfect for any meal.
What is Vietnamese fried rice?
Cơm chiên or Com chien is Vietnamese fried rice name, this is a dish made with cooked rice that is stir-fried with a variety of ingredients, such as meat, vegetables, and eggs. It is typically seasoned with fish sauce and other Vietnamese spices, giving it a savory and slightly sweet flavor.
While the exact origin of fried rice is uncertain, it is believed to have originated in China and spread throughout Asia, including Vietnam. Vietnamese fried rice differs from other types of fried rice in its use of fish sauce and other Vietnamese spices, which gives it a distinct flavor.
The taste of Vietnamese fried rice can vary depending on the ingredients used, but it is typically savory, slightly sweet, and umami-rich due to the use of fish sauce. The texture is crispy and satisfying, especially when topped with a fried egg. Overall, Vietnamese fried rice is a flavorful and comforting dish that is beloved by many.
Vietnamese fried rice recipe
If you’re looking to recreate the authentic taste of Vietnamese fried rice at home, look no further! With a few key ingredients and simple steps, you can whip up a delicious batch of com chien in no time. This recipe will guide you through the process of making crispy and flavorful Vietnamese fried rice that’s sure to impress your taste buds.
- Yield: 4 servings
- Prep time: 15 minutes
- Cook time: 15 minutes
- Total time: 30 minutes
- Course: Main dish
- Cuisine: Vietnamese
- Equipment: Wok or large frying pan, spatula, cooking oil
Vietnamese fried rice ingredients
- 4 cups cooked rice (preferably day-old)
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/2 pound meat (such as chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp), diced
- 1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
Optional ingredients for flavor and texture variation:
- 1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup pineapple, diced
- 1/4 cup cashews
For vegetarian and vegan options, you can use tofu or tempeh instead of meat, and substitute fish sauce with soy sauce or a vegan fish sauce alternative. You can also add more vegetables such as broccoli, mushrooms, or bell peppers to make a veggie-packed version of this dish.
It’s important to consider how much rice per person you will need. As a general guideline, you can estimate approximately 1/2 to 3/4 cup of uncooked rice per person.
How to make vietnamese fried rice?
Preparing the rice
- Selecting the right rice for Vietnamese fried rice: Use long-grain white rice, preferably jasmine or basmati.
- How to cook rice for fried rice: Rinse the rice in cold water until the water runs clear, then drain. Combine the rice with the appropriate amount of water (typically a 1:1.5 ratio of rice to water), and cook on low heat for about 18-20 minutes or until fully cooked. Fluff the rice with a fork and let it cool for at least 1 hour before making fried rice.
- Cooling and storing rice for optimal texture: Spread the cooked rice out on a sheet pan and let it cool to room temperature. Store the cooled rice in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before using it for fried rice.
Basic techniques for stir-frying rice
- Heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat.
- Add oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.
- Add garlic and onion, and stir-fry for about 30 seconds.
- Add the diced meat and cook until browned. If you don’t have fresh meat or seafood, you can use Vietnamese pork roll (Cha lua) instead.
- Add the frozen peas and carrots, and stir-fry for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add the cooked rice, and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes or until heated through.
- Make a well in the center of the rice, add the beaten eggs, and stir until they are fully cooked.
- Add soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and black pepper, and stir-fry for another 1-2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and garnish with scallions, cilantro, and peanuts if desired.
How to know when fried rice is done?
The fried rice is done when the rice is crispy and golden brown, and the meat and vegetables are cooked through.
How to prevent rice from becoming too sticky or too dry?
To prevent rice from becoming too sticky, use day-old rice that has been cooled in the refrigerator. Make sure the rice is fully cooked but not overcooked. To prevent rice from becoming too dry, add a small amount of water or broth when stir-frying the rice, and stir frequently to prevent sticking.
How much calories in vietnamese fried rice?
Here’s the nutrition information for one serving (about 1 1/2 cups) of Vietnamese fried rice:
|Total Fat||15 g|
|Saturated Fat||2.5 g|
|Total Carbohydrates||58 g|
|Dietary Fiber||2 g|
Serving Vietnamese fried rice
Presentation tips for a beautiful dish:
- Use a decorative serving platter to showcase the colorful ingredients.
- Garnish with fresh herbs and sliced vegetables for an eye-catching presentation.
- Serve the fried rice in individual bowls or use a large serving dish for family-style dining.
Pairing Vietnamese fried rice with other dishes and drinks:
- Serve with a side of Vietnamese spring rolls or egg rolls for a complete meal.
- Pair with a refreshing cucumber salad or a light soup such as pho or hot and sour soup.
- Pair with a cold beer, iced tea, or a refreshing glass of Vietnamese iced coffee.
Common variations in ingredients for different styles of Vietnamese fried rice
Vietnamese fried rice is a versatile dish that can be customized with a variety of ingredients to suit different tastes and preferences. Here are some common variations in ingredients for different styles of Vietnamese fried rice:
- Vietnamese chicken fried rice
- Vietnamese shrimp fried rice
- Vietnamese beef fried rice
- Vietnamese egg fried rice
- Vietnamese salted fish fried rice (com chien ca man)
- Vietnamese fried rice fish sauce
- Vietnamese fried rice with oyster sauce
- Vietnamese fried rice with Chinese sausage (com chien duong chau)
- Fried rice with crab meat (com chien cua)
- Vietnamese tomato rice (Com do)
For a unique twist on traditional Vietnamese fried rice, try making kimchi fried rice (com chien kim chi), which is made with kimchi, bacon, and eggs. No matter what variation you choose, Vietnamese fried rice is a delicious and satisfying meal that can be enjoyed any time of day.
How to store and reheat leftover Vietnamese fried rice?
- To store leftover Vietnamese fried rice, transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
- When reheating, heat the fried rice in a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. If the rice is too dry, add a splash of water or broth to moisten it.
- Stir-fry the rice for 3-4 minutes or until heated through. Make sure to stir constantly to prevent sticking and ensure even heating.
- If you prefer to reheat the fried rice in the microwave, place it in a microwave-safe dish, cover it with a damp paper towel, and heat it for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Note: It’s important to refrigerate leftover fried rice promptly and ensure it is heated to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) before consuming to avoid foodborne illness.
Why you should use leftover rice for fried rice?
- Leftover rice has less moisture: When rice is freshly cooked, it contains more moisture and steam that can make the fried rice mushy or clumpy. By using day-old rice that has been cooled and stored in the refrigerator, the rice grains are drier and more separate, making it easier to achieve that signature texture and crispy edges of fried rice.
- Leftover rice is less likely to stick: Freshly cooked rice is more likely to stick to the pan or clump together, which can be frustrating when making fried rice. Day-old rice has had more time to cool and dry out, which reduces the likelihood of sticking and clumping during the stir-frying process.
- Leftover rice is convenient: Using leftover rice is a great way to repurpose leftover food, reducing food waste and saving time. Instead of cooking a new batch of rice specifically for fried rice, you can simply use what you have on hand.
How to know when fried rice is bad?
- Foul smell: If the fried rice has a strong, unpleasant odor that smells sour, rancid, or moldy, it may have gone bad.
- Slimy texture: If the rice feels slimy or sticky to the touch, it may be a sign of bacterial growth.
- Visible mold: If you see any visible mold on the rice or vegetables, it’s a clear sign that the fried rice has gone bad and should be discarded.
- Off taste: If the fried rice has an unusual or off taste, it may be a sign of spoilage.
Is Vietnamese fried rice gluten-free?
It depends on the recipe and the ingredients used. Traditional Vietnamese fried rice made with rice, meat or seafood, and vegetables is typically gluten-free. However, some recipes may include soy sauce or oyster sauce, which may contain gluten.
If you are on a gluten-free diet, it’s important to check the ingredients of the soy sauce or oyster sauce to ensure that they are gluten-free. Alternatively, you can use a gluten-free soy sauce or a gluten-free oyster sauce substitute.
Can I use brown rice instead of white rice?
Yes, you can use brown rice instead of white rice for Vietnamese fried rice. Brown rice is a nutritious whole grain that is high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, it takes longer to cook than white rice and has a chewier texture, which may affect the texture of the fried rice.
Can I make Vietnamese fried rice ahead of time?
Yes, you can make Vietnamese fried rice ahead of time and reheat it later. Here are some tips for making fried rice ahead of time:
- Cook the rice and let it cool completely before making the fried rice. This will ensure that the rice is not too moist and won’t stick together when stir-fried.
- Store the cooked rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before making the fried rice.
- Prepare all the ingredients ahead of time, such as cutting the meat, vegetables, and herbs, so that you can easily stir-fry everything together when you’re ready to make the fried rice.
- When reheating the fried rice, stir-fry it in a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat until it’s heated through. You may need to add a small amount of liquid such as water or broth to moisten the rice, and stir constantly to prevent sticking and ensure even heating.
How can I make Vietnamese fried rice spicier?
- Use chili peppers: Add diced fresh chili peppers, such as Thai bird’s eye chilies or serrano peppers, to the fried rice. Be sure to remove the seeds if you want to reduce the heat level.
- Add chili garlic sauce: Add a spoonful of chili garlic sauce, such as sriracha or sate sauce, to the fried rice. This will add a spicy kick and a garlicky flavor.
- Add red pepper flakes: Sprinkle red pepper flakes over the fried rice to add a subtle heat. You can adjust the amount according to your desired spice level.
- Use spicy oil: Use chili oil, which is made by infusing oil with chili flakes, to stir-fry the rice. This will add a subtle spiciness to the dish.
Vietnamese fried rice vs Chinese fried rice vs Thai fried rice
Vietnamese, Chinese, and Thai fried rice are all popular variations of fried rice, but they have some differences in flavor, ingredients, and preparation:
- Vietnamese fried rice: Vietnamese fried rice typically includes jasmine rice, diced meat or seafood, vegetables, and seasonings such as fish sauce, garlic, and scallions. It’s often garnished with fresh herbs such as cilantro and served with pickled vegetables. Vietnamese fried rice is known for its light and delicate flavors and is often less greasy than other variations.
- Chinese fried rice: Chinese fried rice is made with medium-grain or short-grain rice that is stir-fried with diced meat or seafood, vegetables, and scrambled eggs. It’s typically seasoned with soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sometimes sesame oil, and may also include peas, carrots, and green onions. Chinese fried rice is often savory and slightly salty, with a slightly crispy texture.
- Thai fried rice: Thai fried rice, also known as khao phat, is made with jasmine rice, diced meat or seafood, vegetables, and seasonings such as fish sauce, garlic, and chili peppers. It’s often garnished with fresh herbs such as cilantro and served with lime wedges. Thai fried rice is known for its bold and spicy flavors, with a kick of heat from the chili peppers.
Read more: Com Tam – Vietnamese Broken Rice Recipe
With the right ingredients and cooking techniques, you can easily make Vietnamese fried rice at home and experiment with different variations such as chicken, shrimp, beef, and even kimchi. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator and reheated for a quick and convenient meal. Whether you enjoy it as a main course or as a side dish, Vietnamese fried rice is a tasty and satisfying option that is sure to please your taste buds.