This Thai-inspired crab fried rice uses just 12 simple ingredients to create an insanely flavorful restaurant quality dish that is amplified by the use of lump crab meat.
Read on for the “secret” tips and tricks on how to achieve the perfect fried rice every time.
❤️ Here’s Why You’ll Love This Recipe:
- It uses just 12 minimal simple pantry staple ingredients.
- It’s gluten-free and clean eating.
- It comes together in less than 30 minutes start to finish.
- It’s a complete one pan meal that you can customize to your taste.
- You can customize the rice by adding your choice of protein or vegetables.
- It’s a great way to use up leftovers.
Here’s What You Need To Make This Easy Fried Rice:
- Cooked and Cooled Rice: While you can honestly use any kind of rice of your choice, the best options are medium grain white rice (which is what I’m using today), long grain parboiled rice, whole grain brown rice or even jasmine rice. Personally the medium grain white rice works best for me and gives me what I consider to be the ideal chewy grain that perfectly absorbs the flavors added in while still maintaining the individual grains.
- Ground White Pepper: With it’s mild heat and earthy almost fermented grassy flavor profile white pepper is ideal for this fried rice especially when combined with
- Fish Sauce: Umami, earthy and incredibly savory, fish sauce brings all needed elements that highlights and unites this fried rice.
- Tamari/Soy Sauce: Umami rich and salty, this perfectly flavors our fried rice. If you’re gluten free ensure you’re using a gluten-free brand of soy sauce or use tamari (which is soy sauce that does not contain wheat/gluten).
- Garlic: Fresh garlic works best here but you can also opt to use dehydrated garlic if preferred.
- Ginger: Freshly grated ginger root is potent but perfect for the base of our fried rice. Don’t skip it!
- Rice Vinegar: Adding vinegar to our rice is a great kick of flavor and a pop of acid but it does more than that, it helps the starches in our rice to break down which allows the rice to absorb even more flavor! You can use either seasoned or unseasoned rice vinegar. Using the seasoned variety adds just the slightest hint of sweetness which can perfectly complement your rice!
- Crab: You can use lump crab meat. Don’t use imitation crab. Not only is it not clean and contains a lot of additives and preservatives, it’s not actually crab meat. If you don’t have lump crab, you can use other seafood bites such as cooked shrimp, lobster chunks, or any cooked firm white fish like monkfish.
- Eggs: I’m using US standard large eggs. You can use whatever size you prefer to be honest.
- Oil: Opt to use peanut oil as your first choice. A great alternative is sesame oil. While sesame oil is usually a finishing oil, both of these oils have a high smoke point and imparts a mild nutty flavor to the rice. Though not conventional, another great alternative is avocado oil.
- Butter: A small pat included with the oil and melted down until browned and bubbling is a bit of a restaurant secret that imparts a phenomenally toasty flavor to the rice. You can opt to use salted or unsalted butter.
- Spring Onions: Or green onions or scallions. Added almost at the end this savory-sweet herb adds a pop of color and a fresh zing of flavor.
- Chili Garlic Sauce: Though not pictured, this optional ingredient makes a great finish to the dish as it adds a touch of seasoned heat. If you’re already familiar with the ingredient you can feel free to add it directly into the sauce that goes over the rice instead of adding it last.
Do I Need to Use Day-Old Cold Rice?
This is a bit of a trope that I’ve always known to be the recommendation and I think the reason for that is that most fried rice recipes are made from leftovers that are quickly reheated and tossed together and old/cold, day old rice is ideal for this purpose. Another reason for this trope is that ideally you DO want the rice to be as dry as possible and cold rice has dried out a bit as it’s no longer steaming or hot.
With that in mind, the answer for if you NEED to use day old rice is no. You can use rice that you’ve cooked on the same day however if you do, you’ll want to spread the hot rice out onto a sheet pan and fan it or allow it to release all of the steam/heat and come to room temperature. That will essentially remove enough moisture to ensure your fried rice isn’t soggy.
What Else Can I Add to This Fried Rice?
Vegetables! This fried rice is a perfect vessel to include some veggies in. For today’s post I’ve kept the recipe as simple and pared down as possible but when I make this rice I usually include vegetables such as diced carrots, green peas, corn or even fresh diced bell peppers are great additions. If you’d like to add in bean sprouts (highly recommended!) add them in after your fried rice is done and you’ve removed the pan from the heat, this way they retain their crunch.
Protein! While this rice has lump crab in it, you can double your protein or mix things up by adding in other proteins like cooked shrimp or cooked diced chicken etc. Whatever your choice of protein, ensure that it has been cooked in advance.
Note: Whatever additional add in you choose, I recommend using no more than about 1 cup combined, and be sure you fry your rice for an extra minute or two, tossing frequently to allow for any moisture from the add ins to dissipate to ensure your rice isn’t soggy.
✨The “Secrets” To Making A Great Fried Rice:✨
Before we begin, let’s go over some of the tips and tricks to ensure a great fried rice every single time that is as close to restaurant quality fried rice.
- Mise En Place: This step is SO important. This rice comes together quickly so you want to be sure you have all of your ingredients lined up, measured out, and ready to go. You don’t have time to leave your stove to go hunt anything down. Aside from your skillet/wok and spatula you’ll need your ingredients in this exact order:
- oil and butter
- fish sauce, tamari, rice vinegar, white pepper (combined into a sauce)
- green onion
- chili sauce (if using)
- The Pan: Use a LARGE wok or heavy bottom skillet (a well-seasoned cast iron is highly advised as a wok alternative) so that your ingredients can be spread out without being over-crowded and so that all your heat is retained and evenly distributed. Speaking of which…
- Heat: You want to crank things up as hot as your stove allows. Keep in mind in restaurants they use the equivalent of a flame thrower under their woks, we don’t have that firepower at home but nonetheless you want things to be as hot as possible so keep your heat on high. Fried rice comes together by layering and seasoning precooked and prepped ingredients so we’re not really cooking anything, just combining and heating them up.
- Timing and Order: The order of ingredients and the cook time between add ins is important for the best results. Don’t just throw everything into the pan at once. Follow the recipe and add them as recommended, taking the time to toss and fry between each add in.
- Keep it Simple: Don’t overwhelm your rice by adding in too many things. Fried rice is a simple dish of which rice is the star. Too many add ins will muddle the flavor of your dish. For that reason I’ve kept this recipe as simple as possible, however you can add to it if you like but keep it simple and limited (about a cup of add-ins).
With Our Ingredients At the Ready, Let’s Make Some Fried Rice!
(1) The first thing we’ll do is get our pan screaming hot to the point of smoking . Ensure you’re using a wok or a heavy bottom skillet.
(2,3,4) Then we’ll add in our oil and butter, once the butter is bubbling, we’ll add in our ginger, fry it for a few seconds, and then add in the garlic.
(5,6,7) The moment the garlic begins to brown, you can either:
Add veggies if using any: Add in one cup of your if you’re using any (corn, diced carrots and green peas are great choices) and flash fry them for 1-2 minutes to remove any moisture from then/or if you’re not adding in any veggies…
Add your rice: add in the rice and, using your spatula, mix your rice into the ginger/garlic oil and spread it out. Cook for a couple minutes tossing your rice as it fries, being sure to break up any clumps of rice you see.
(8) Add in the sauce made by mixing together your fish sauce, tamari, rice vinegar, and white pepper, and toss your rice to combine and evenly distribute the flavoring. Let the rice cook for a minute or two, tossing frequently.
(9) Next we’ll add in our egg. The way we’re including the eggs in this recipe is a bit of a restaurant “secret”. Instead of cooking the eggs and then breaking them up into bits and chunks, we’re going to pour the egg all over the rice and immediately mix and toss the rice to coat each grain in the egg before it cooks and sets. The end results is luxuriously coated and well seasoned rice grain that really takes this dish to the next level in terms of both taste and texture.
(10) Add in the chives and toss.
(11, 12) Add in your crab or other cooked protein and toss it with the rice, breaking the chunks up as fine as you’d like. If you like larger chunks, don’t over mix. Let your rice cook for a minute before removing it from the heat. If you like a touch of heat, add in a touch of chili garlic sauce, and toss your rice one final time.
And there you have it, a simple, easy and restaurant-worthy fried rice that comes together in absolutely no time but packs a punch when it comes to flavor. Clean, simple and delicious, you have to try this one for your next meal.
Did you try this fried rice? How did it turn out?? Did you add anything to it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to rate the recipe. See you guys for the next post! 🥰
Crab Fried Rice
- 4 cups medium grain rice or any rice of your preference, cooked
- 2 tbsp peanut oil
- 1 tbsp salted butter
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger grated
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp tamari
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- 2 large eggs beaten until frothy
- 1 cup crab meat or cooked monkfish chunks or cooked shrimp
- 1/4 cup Spring Onions chopped
- 1 tsp Chili Garlic Sauce optional - to finish
- Prep: Remove rice from fridge and let come to room temp if possible. If using freshly cooked rice, spread it onto a baking tray to allow as much steam and moisture to evaporate until your rice is cooled to room temperature.4 cups medium grain rice
- Mise En Place: This fried rice comes together quickly and on high heat so you need to be ready. Line up your ingredients in this order: oil and butter • ginger • garlic • rice • fish sauce, tamari, rice vinegar, white pepper (mixed into a sauce) • eggs • green onion • crab • chili sauce (if using)
- Make your Fried Rice: To a skillet that is HOT to the point of smoking, add oil and butter and once the butter is bubbling, add the ginger and fry for a few seconds before adding in the garlic and frying until fragrant and browned (but not burned).2 tbsp peanut oil, 1 tbsp salted butter, 1 tbsp fresh ginger, 3 cloves garlic
- Optional: If you're planning on adding in any extra veggies (corn, diced carrots, peas) then add them in now and flash fry them for 1-2 minutes.4 cups medium grain rice
- Quickly add the rice and immediately toss to coat all grains in the garlic/ginger oil and break up any chunks. Fry for a minute or two, tossing frequently.
- Add the sauce made by mixing together your fish sauce, tamari, vinegar and white pepper, and toss your rice in it, making sure all grains are coated in the seasoning and let it fry for an additional minute or two, tossing occasionally.1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp tamari, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- Spread the rice out in the pan in an even layer and pour the beaten egg over all grains then immediately toss to coat all rice grains in the egg. Let fry an additional minute.2 large eggs
- With the rice done, add in the green onion along with the chunks of crab and gently toss to incorporate it. (I recommend not over stirring so that you can keep the crab chunks intact.)1/4 cup Spring Onions, 1 cup crab meat
- Finish and Serve: If you enjoy heat, add in 1-2 tsp of chili sauce or hot oil (to taste) and serve. Garnish your plate with slices of fresh cucumber and enjoy your rice as a complete meal.1 tsp Chili Garlic Sauce
- Storage: If you have any leftovers, bring them to room temperature before putting into an airtight container and storing in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- The 4 cups of rice are measured once the rice has been fully cooked.
- Don't overdo it with the add ins, keep it to about one cup total and fry them for 1-2 minutes before adding the rice to ensure any added moisture is cooked off. Great options include diced carrots, peas, corn or even broccoli slaw. For more delicate add ins like bean sprouts, add them last after the rice is done and removed from the heat.
- Ensure that the crab or any other protein add in is precooked. Do not add in raw meat to this dish.
- Keep your heat high, work quickly and ensure you keep the ingredients moving around the wok or skillet to prevent anything from burning and ensure you allow for 1-2 minutes of cook/fry time between each set of ingredient addition so that you can layer your flavors and not have your rice be bland or one note and so you can achieve the perfect texture to your rice.