Fried Rice

Ham Fried Rice
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We had a fabulous little Easter dinner here last Sunday. I had gone to Trader Joe’s earlier in the week, and after waiting about half hour to get in, was pleased to find there was still a few (three!) hams left on the shelf. My close friend had confessed to buying two hams at the onset of the quarantine, so I knew it was not a sure bet they would have one. Frankly, it is not a sure bet they will have anything these days! And I have to admit to a little “panic buying” myself, only mine was balsamic vinegar. Silly, I know, but I really can’t live without it.

Anyway, we were able to have a fairly traditional Easter meal of ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans, carrots, and homemade buttermilk biscuits! And though I did take leftovers to my mom when I dropped off her groceries the next day, we have A LOT of leftover ham. A week of ham sandwiches for lunch can only dwindle the supply so much, especially with only three of us here at home these days. And since it is not a time to be wasteful by any means, I decided to get creative with dinner last night and make Ham Fried Rice.

This is not my first go around with fried rice. We made a delicious Forbidden Fried Rice to go with some seared Ahi awhile back, so I had some idea about what I was doing. But mostly I just winged it based on what I had in the fridge and what I remember from the last time I ordered fried rice from our favorite Chinese take out spot.

Make your rice ahead of time and spread on a sheet pan to cool

You could make a smaller portion of this with leftover rice, but if you are making rice specifically for this dish make it ahead of time and let it cool off completely in the fridge. I made mine in the morning and then put it in fridge uncovered to make sure all the moisture evaporated so I would get that nice crispy crust.

Veggies are negotiable here, but hopefully you will have ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and toasted sesame oil on hand

I added chopped yellow onion, carrots, frozen peas and a smattering of green onion on the finished dish. We all agreed it would have been better with a scrambled egg as well, but I didn’t think of that until we were actually sitting down to eat so we will save that for next time.

Transfer the meat and vegetables to a bowl and return the skillet to the stove. Add a little more oil and let it get nice and hot before adding your rice.

Once the rice is “fried”, add the soy sauce, sesame oil, frozen peas, and ham. Stir gently to distribute the soy sauce and sesame oil, then lower the heat and cover for a few minutes until the peas are cooked.

Serve with chopped green onion and extra soy sauce

Now I just have to figure out what I am going to do with that ham bone… I’ll keep you all posted!

Fried Rice

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Cooling Time for Rice3 hours
Total Time3 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Author: Laylah Stolp


  • 4 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 cups cooked meat, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup green onions, diced


  • Cook rice according to package directions and spread on sheet pan to cool, uncovered, in fridge for 3 hours. Obviously this can be done further ahead of time, but if it will be much longer than 3 hours (say, overnight) cover with plastic wrap so the rice does not get too dried out.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in large cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat. Sizzle minced ginger for 30 seconds, then add yellow onion and carrots. Saute until onion is soft and translucent, add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute), then add ham (or other meat). Saute for 3-4 minutes, ham should be beginning to brown and carrots should be soft. Transfer to bowl and set aside.
  • Return skillet to flame and add additional tablespoon of canola oil. When it is very hot, add cold rice to skillet and press down with spatula. Cook for 3-5 minutes without turning. Once the rice has developed a nice "fried" crust, gently turn large portions of the rice over with spatula and press down again, allowing underside to develop the same crust.
  • Add soy sauce, sesame oil, frozen peas, and meat/vegetable mixture to rice and stir gently. You do not want to completely break up the "fried" rice clumps, but you do need to evenly distribute the soy sauce, meat, and vegetables. Lower the heat and cover, cooking until warmed through.
  • Serve with chopped green onions and additional soy sauce to taste. Enjoy!

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