Jean-Georges' Ginger Fried Rice

Alex Van Buren
Food Features Editor
March 25, 2014

You want to cook tonight. You want it to be easy. With Cook This Tonight, we solve that problem for you. 

Photo credit: Linda Xiao, Food52

Those nights when you roll in the door at 8pm, or had a weird chat with your significant other, or one of the kids is sick—those nights tend to demand takeout-related decisions, right? That’s when you end up buried in sheaves of sticky menus, and in plastic containers of pad thai or wonton soup. 

There’s a time and a place for such things. But there’s also real pleasure to be found in making something, seemingly, from nothing. Rattle through the fridge, yank open all the drawers, and emerge with a knob of ginger, a few eggs. Find the soy sauce in the pantry. Or rummage through the spare packets leftover from delivery sushi you ordered last week.

This is the fried rice that four-star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten makes, so it’s gotta be good. It’s full of both nuanced flavor and aromatics vis-a-vis garlic, sesame oil, and leeks (which we love almost as much as we love scallions).

There’s real promise and beauty—far beyond what any delivery can deliver—in a recipe that includes the line, “Sprinkle crisped garlic and ginger over everything and serve.” And you shall.

Jean-Georges’ Ginger Fried Rice
Adapted from Jean-George Vongerichten for Food52

Serves 4

1/2 cup peanut oil (or 1/2 cup chicken fat)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed and dried
4 cups cooked rice, preferably jasmine, at room temperature (see note below)
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 teaspoons soy sauce

1. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and brown. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels and salt lightly. Alternately, you can pour the oil into a heat-proof bowl through a fine-mesh strainer, then return the flavorful oil to the pan, reserving the ginger and garlic bits.

2. Reduce heat under skillet to medium-low and add 2 tablespoons oil and leeks. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very tender but not browned. Season lightly with salt.

3. Raise heat to medium and add rice. Cook, stirring well, until heated through. Season to taste with salt.

4. In a nonstick skillet, fry eggs in remaining oil, sunny-side-up, until edges are set but yolk is still runny.

5. Divide rice among four dishes. Top each with an egg and drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Sprinkle crisped garlic and ginger over everything and serve.

Note: Use leftover cooked rice if you have it. Here are some tips if you’re cooking the rice fresh, to make sure it isn’t too soggy: When the cook time is done, leave the rice undisturbed in the pot (uncovered) for 5 minutes. Spread the rice on a tray (or two) to dry out. While you prep the rest of the ingredients, put it by an open window or a fan, or pop the tray in the fridge or freezer if you have room. Jaden Hair at Steamy Kitchen also recommends starting with 1/4 to 1/3 less water when cooking the rice.