Grandma Kay’s Chicken Fried Rice
My experience in the kitchen started at a young age. I remember trailing after my Grandma when she was in the kitchen and “helping” lick whipping cream off the detachable beaters. On nights when I wasn’t doing homework, I would watch my Mom prepare supper and reluctantly set the table (my least favourite chore). I made chocolate chip cookies so often that I had the recipe from The Purity Cookbook memorized before I reached a double-digit age. But my real training in the kitchen didn’t occur until I was 11 years old and my Mom was pregnant with my sister.
Throughout my Mom’s pregnancy, she was plagued with nausea and couldn’t stand the sight and smells of uncooked meat. Being the oldest child, I was put in charge of cook supper most nights to give her a break. With my Mom calling out instructions from the safety of the living room, I learned to cook shepherd’s pie, meatloaf, spaghetti, curry stew, Grandma’s chicken fried rice, lasagne…and I also learned how easy it is to screw up in the kitchen. I would constantly mix up teaspoons and tablespoons and I still recall my first ever lasagne turned out flat because I accidentally grabbed the biggest pan from the cupboard. Two layer lasagne. We each had three pieces for supper that night.
When I moved out on my own to go to university, I lived in a dorm room on a meal plan (no kitchen) and sorely missed home-cooked food. For my second year, I got into the apartment-style residence and shared a kitchen with three other girls. While much of my nutrition came from throw-together food like cereal, boxed pizza and instant mac and cheese, I did have a rice maker. When I got sick of eating ochazuke (rice with green tea), I would roll up my sleeves and make my Grandma’s chicken fried rice.
Even though my days of being a poor student sharing a kitchen with three roommates are long behind me, chicken fried rice still feels like special occasion food. It’s the extra special rice that you pay a little bit more for at many Chinese/Japanese restaurants, but now you don’t have to order take-out because you can make it in your own home in under 40 minutes! While the recipe calls for 3-4 cups of cold rice, I tend to make this as a way to use up any leftover rice from the fridge and then I just eyeball the rest of the ingredients.
A little word about the rice in the photos. I use a short-grain, glutinous rice that many people refer to as “sticky rice” and not to sound too picky, but it’s the only rice I will use for this recipe (my Grandma would be proud, haha!). While I do enjoy eating brown rice, it tends to dry out a lot when it’s fried up. Minute rice is from another planet and I refuse to have it in my kitchen. Kokuho and Calrose are two rice brands that I buy often and I also recommend Kikkoman for the soy sauce.
Grandma Kay's Chicken Fried Rice
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, chopped finely
- 2 large chicken breasts
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 egg
- 3-4 cups of cold leftover rice
- Soy sauce*
- In a large, non-stick pan, heat up vegetable oil to medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
- Chop chicken into small bite-sized pieces and add to the pan. Once the chicken in nearly cooked, add frozen peas and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add the egg and stir until lightly scrambled.
- Add leftover rice and break apart large pieces with the edge side of your wooden spoon. Continue cooking for 5-10 minutes and pour soy sauce* all over rice. Season with salt and pepper and let cook for another 1-2 minutes. Serve hot.
* Unfortunately, I don’t have any measurements for the soy sauce because I tend to eye-ball it depending on how much rice I am using. Basically, you just want to lightly coat the rice and give it a good stir. I would recommend starting with a little bit and working your way up based on your tastes.
I love fried rice, and this one looks delicious. How lovely that you still have your Grandmothers recipe!
I practically lived on chicken fried rice when I was a broke-as-hell student… it’s so cheap and easy, and never fails to hit the spot. Mine has celery instead of peas (that’s the way I learned to make it), but I am totally in agreement with you about the importance of using the right kind of rice…. Calrose FTW!
Hey Jessica! I can relate to surviving off of convenience food while in school! I think I ate peanut butter and honey sandwiches everyday when I was in College. haha, I somehow still like them! When I needed some comforts from home I always made some sort of pasta dish. Your grandma’s chicken fried rice looks like it would have made the cut though. haha, if only I had this back then!