Egg Fried Rice, Chow Fun, Chahan; all pretty much the same thing. But not one of the three can in any way categorize the best fried rice dish that my mum makes. It’s too good to really put a name to it and I’m glad enough to simply know its taste. Mum’s tip is to use leftover cooked rice from the night before. This sounds as though it can’t be as fresh but the best thing about leftover cooked rice is that it has more of a bite to it then freshly cooked or steamed rice which has the danger of becoming way too moist and tender for frying.

If you don’t usually have a lot of rice lying around, it’s perfectly fine to prepare the rice right before frying. Just make sure to let it steam out some of its moisture. It’s about a month before I’ll be back home for mum’s cooking, so for now it’s me, myself and I cooking for me, myself and I. And yes, my version of fried rice which I must admit isn’t amazing but good enough for a meal in minutes.

Back in primary school, the stall dishing out fried rice was the most popular. Egg fried rice cooked with garden peas, carrots and dried salted fish — every one’s favourite pick-me-up after a boring maths class or strenous physical education class. The salted fish was key for great flavour and the egg fried to perfection — some bits mashed up into the rice and some left as large bits you could sink your teeth into. The egg was flavoured before cooking with the rice but sometimes came off as a little too greasy and salty.

My version is slightly healthier than my primary school fare. Probably not as good. But the cool thing about chahan is you can pretty much vary the ingredients most of the time and tweak it here and there to suit your tastebuds. As long as you know the basics, you’re sorted. This recipe is so simple and quick. For a more Chinese twist, you can use hwa tiao jiu instead of sake.


Chahan with Shiitake Mushrooms, Greens & Chives Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup white rice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbs chives, chopped
  • 1 tbs sake
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame seed oil
  • 1/3 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • handful of pea shoots/salad leaves
  • salt & pepper, for seasoning
  • olive oil, for cooking


Cook the rice in 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan. As it cooks, heat some oil in a hot frying pan. Add the garlic and fry till golden brown. Add the mushrooms and sesame oil to flavour. Lower heat.

Mix the egg into the cooked rice (this should be warm and not hot as you don’t want the egg to cook just yet). Add to the frying pan. Turn up heat and let the rice mixture start to sputter and cook, making sure to toss them about in the frying pan. Add the salad leaves of choice and half of the chopped chives.

When the egg has more or less started firming up as it fries, add the sake and soy sauce; then season to taste. Fry until the rice has lost most of its liquid. Serve on a plate and garnish with the last of the chives.

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