Fried Rice for Breakfast

Along with my chickpea curry disaster, I’d made some white rice in my rice cooker that looked like it was going to go to waste. I could have made rice pudding but Craig hates rice pudding so I put the leftover rice in the refrigerator and forgot about it.

On Saturday morning, I took it out again and had an idea.


When Grace Young taught me how to make fried rice for my cookbook, she made the rice a day ahead because it’s better to use cold refrigerated rice than hot rice right out of the cooker. I could make fried rice! For breakfast! It’s just the sort of thing Ruth Reichl Tweets about.

Really, there’s not much to it. You just need a really good, seasoned wok which sounds expensive but is really just $14 if you follow Grace Young’s advice from my book. I got my wok out and let it start heating.


Then I prepped the flavorings: some ginger (about a 1-inch knob, julienned), some garlic (2 cloves, minced), and scallions for the end. Oh and two eggs which isn’t what Grace Young taught me to do but I wanted eggs in there because this is breakfast. So I read a little about that online.


I also emptied my pepper grinder of black pepper and replaced it with white pepper because that’s what Grace Young uses.


When the wok was good and hot, I swirled some Canola oil down the sides (about a tablespoon, though peanut oil would’ve been preferable) and added the ginger and the garlic. Almost immediately, they started to darken. Which is why I always wonder why people say home stoves don’t get hot enough for woks. Any time I’ve ever used a wok, it gets outrageously hot and I have to turn down the heat.

When that happened, I added the rice (about 3 cups cooked) and started breaking it up with a metal spatula.


This actually takes work–that picture shows it pretty far along, but I really put some elbow grease into it.

Then I added those two eggs, which I beat up a bit with a fork.


I worked that all around and finally, at the end, flavored the rice with soy sauce and white pepper.


Stirred in the scallions (cilantro would’ve been nice too) and there you have it, fried rice for breakfast.


Just goes to show you: When life throws you inedible curry, you can refrigerate the white rice and make fried rice on the Saturday or Sunday after. I’m going to crochet that on to a pillow.

20 thoughts on “Fried Rice for Breakfast”

  1. So thrilled I have the same wok as you! And in about the same state of blackenedness. I swear mine cost $25 though–I purchased it off one of those stores on the Bowery as Grace recommended. Next time, put some Chinese sausage in! This is our desperation dinner when I don’t want to be slaving over a hot stove and the kids need to be fed quickly.

    1. And then, roll it all like a burrito in a lightly sweetened crepe – best breakfast ever! We used to make them that way with scrambled eggs, fried rice and kielbasa every Sunday morning.

      1. I’d eat that–unfortunately, my children won’t! They are unbelievably distrustful of pancakes and crepes.

  2. Jj Sommerville

    Am I the only one that can’t stand white pepper? :( I’ve tried so many times but I can even tell when food from Chinese restaurants has it. :(

  3. Bacon. Breakfast fried rice needs bacon (trust me, bacon and garlic and onions are a marvelous combination for breakfast fried rice)

  4. Brenda Johnson

    You can make fried rice in a cast iron skillet too — it’s my preferred technique. And I always have eggs in it. But I cook them to the side, after the rice has fried a bit, and only mix them back in with the rice once they’ve firmed up enough to keep from coating the rice. Cilantro’s great in fried rice, and you can’t beat a quick squeeze of fresh lime at the table!!

  5. We make fried rice all the time for breakfast. Lap cheong (chinese sausage) and ham go in ours always. Bacon fried rice is delish too.

  6. Yup, breakfast staple around here. I use a huge nonstick “wok” I bought on sale years ago — I learned from my Taiwan friends. Start with the aromatics — ginger, garlic, hot peppers — then the veggies (onion, random greens from my garden), then some ham or lean bacon, then the rice. Keep turning it over until the rice is hot and things are melding, then make a nice open area in the middle by pushing the rice to the sides and scramble the eggs. Once they’re set, mix them back in and serve — I like soy sauce and sesame oil and Rooster on the side to taste. One of our go-to meals …

  7. As a Chinese I often had fried rice for breakfast growing up. Maybe that’s what I will be making this weekend.

  8. Fried rice is my go-to meal when I want to use up whatever is in the fridge. It’s been so much better/easier since I bought a really good wok that holds high heat well!

  9. Adam, do you get good results with your burners and the wok? Always hesitant to go thru with it thinking I might not have enough btu’s. The one in your picture looks pretty standard and not even that large.

  10. the eggs and scallions really make it home-style. wow, good job! btw, you could have also added ham or sausage for some meaty flavor too. my mom scrambles the egg first, and then she adds it back at the end. at home we don’t use soy sauce, so it looks really colorful- all green (scallion), yellow (eggs), and pink (ham)

  11. Looks good, but I could never eat it for breakfast. And yet, what I’m really wondering is what one could ever hate about rice pudding.

  12. When I do this for breakfast, I skip cooking eggs with it and fry eggs on the side – medium-rare, just barely cooked – to go over the top and stir in. If I have some sausage, that goes in the fried rice too.

    Alternately, if you don’t have enough fried rice to actually feed two people, it makes a great omelet filling.

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