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Weeknight Fried Rice

Sam Sifton's Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Croutons + Weeknight Fried Rice
Sam Sifton's Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Croutons + Weeknight Fried RiceNathan Congleton / TODAY
Cook Time:
20 mins
Prep Time:
10 mins
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Chef notes

If you keep leftover rice in the fridge and some frozen vegetables in the freezer, you'll always have dinner. Dress up these basics with some chopped aromatics, eggs and an additional protein, and you're in business.

Technique tip: Make sure your wok is properly fired up before you start cooking in it. Heat your neutral oil until shimmering — that's a fussy recipe-oriented tip, but really all you need to do is run a finger under running water then flick a splash of water into the wok. If it sizzles, the wok is preheated and you're ready to cook.

Swap option: This recipe is built to use up whatever you have on hand. Pillage liberally from the freezer (frozen vegetables! bacon! any errant raw or cooked meats!) and the fridge (fresh vegetables! cooked vegetables! leftover barbecue!); there's really no wrong ingredient here. I like chopped brisket from the barbecue joint, or pastrami from the deli, or ground pork, or bacon, or leftover roast chicken — whatever you decide on, you'll need far less than you think.


  • Cooked white or brown rice (about 1 cup per person)
  • 1 large bag frozen organic mixed vegetables (such as corn, carrots and peas)
  • 1/2 pound protein, such as chopped brisket, pastrami, ground pork, bacon, leftover roast chicken, tofu
  • 2 eggs
  • Garlic, chopped
  • Ginger, chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Gochujang paste
  • Neutral oil, such as canola or vegetable oil



Place a wok over high heat, add a little neutral oil, then toss in your meat. After the meat crisps, take it out of the pan and add about a tablespoon each of minced garlic and ginger, and a handful of chopped scallions. Stir-fry for 30 seconds or so, then add the frozen vegetables. Return the meat to the wok and continue to stir-fry all ingredients. 


Clear a space in the center of the wok and add the eggs, cooking them quickly to a soft scramble. 


Throw in the sauce (about three parts soy sauce and one part sesame oil, fired up with a teaspoon or two of Gochujang. You'll need a little less than a quarter cup of sauce to feed four), then add in the rice, and mix it all together until everything is steaming hot. Finish the dish with an additional sprinkling of chopped scallions.

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