What are the best sides with fried rice? Fried rice is a Chinese staple that has a mix of savory, salty, smokey, and fluffy with other different consistencies from different vegetables. To combat these flavors, the perfect sides are fresh produce with a twist like Asian slaw, grilled pineapple rings or sauteed broccoli.
Finger foods, like egg rolls and crab rangoons, are popular side dishes for their complex textures. Other great sides provide protein to the carb-heavy dish like egg drop soup, a fried egg, shrimp tempura, teriyaki chicken, and tuna steak.
The top three types of side dishes are ones with fresh produce, finger foods, and protein.
Asian slaw packs more of a punch with its tart Asian dressing and different textures with its medley of shredded and chopped vegetables.
Before prepping the vegetables, prepare the Asian dressing first. Mix together soy sauce, white or rice vinegar, minced garlic, sesame oil for nuttiness, and crushed red peppers for heat.
In a large bowl, shred the green or Chinese cabbage and red cabbage, about 3 cups each.
Cut 2 carrots into very thin strips, almost like matchsticks. This is a French technique called julienne slicing.
Finely slice bean sprouts, cilantro and mint leaves, and shallots. Combine all the shredded and chopped vegetables together in a large bowl.
Pour the Asian dressing over the vegetable mixture and mix the ingredients until they are well incorporated.
Grilled Pineapple Rings
Grilled pineapple rings can cut the salt down with its natural brightness and sweetness from the fruit and brown sugar.
Clean and oil the grill grates. Preheat the grill between 350 and 400 degrees fahrenheit.
Cut the top and bottom of the pineapple. Peel the skin off the pineapple with a large knife.
For certain dark spots, either use a small knife or a fruit pitter to take them out.
Turn the pineapple to the side and slice them into ½ inch slices. Use a 1-inch round cookie cutter or a small knife to cut out the center of the rings.
Put the rings in a bowl or a zip-locked bag. Pour in some brown sugar and mix them until the rings are coated. Let them sit for 10 minutes.
Put the rings on the grill and grill each side for a few minutes.
Sauteed broccoli can give the right amount of bitterness and extra nutrients to the already veggie-filled rice dish. While most vegetables in the fried rice are soft, sauteed broccoli will add more texture to the meal.
Take a potato peeler and peel the skin off the thick stem. It will make the broccoli more tender and take off random leaves and bumps.
Cut the broccoli into small florets and 1 ½-2 inch pieces.
Heat some olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the broccoli, salt, and garlic.
Sauté the broccoli until it is tender, about 3-4 minutes. Take the broccoli off the heat.
Add some seasonings like red pepper flakes, some lemon juice, or a drizzle of soy sauce and toss it before serving.
Egg rolls are a lightweight finger food with the crunch of vegetables and fried dough that contrasts well with fried rice’s fluffiness.
Cook the ground pork in a pan and season it with salt and pepper. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds.
Heat oil up to 375 degrees fahrenheit in a large skillet.
Mix the ground pork, shredded cabbage and carrots together.
Lay out the egg roll wrappers in a diamond shape. Put ¼ or ⅓ cup of the mixture into one egg roll wrapper at a time.
Fold the bottom point over the mixture. Fold the left and right points to the center. Roll the egg roll all the way. Dip the tip of your finger in water and seal the edges with it.
Fry the rolls until they are golden brown, turning occasionally. Drain them on paper towels.
Crab rangoons are a great finger food for its creamy, rich center wrapped in crispy but light wonton wrappers.
Preheat the oil in a skillet on medium heat to 325 degrees fahrenheit.
Mix crab meat and soft cream cheese (4-5 oz. each) together.
Mix in chopped green onion, 1 teaspoon each of Worcestershire and soy sauce, and minced garlic until fully incorporated.
Put 2 teaspoons of the filling in each wrapper.
Dab the edges with some water. Take two corners and pinch them. Bring the pinched parts to the center and lightly squeeze them together. They should be shaped like a square.
Cook the bottom parts of the wrappers until they are brown and crispy.
Take some tongs and hold one upside down and hold it in the oil, cooking the top until it is crispy. Let them drain on a paper towel.
Egg Drop Soup
Egg drop soup is a light but filling side dish with feather-like wisps of egg mixed in with the salty broth that can soak up the fried rice.
Lightly beat your eggs.
Mix ½ cup chicken stock and cornstarch until it is dissolved. This is called a cornstarch slurry, and this will help thicken the soup.
Put the rest of the chicken stock (3-4 cups), ginger, and soy sauce into the pot. If you wish for a more filling and nutritious soup, feel free to add vegetables at this point like mushrooms, green onions, napa cabbage, or any vegetable you like. Bring the broth to a boil.
Slowly stir in the cornstarch and then bring the broth down to a simmer.
Slowly pour in the eggs while slowly stirring the soup. As you do this, the eggs will cook and become wispy and delicate.
A fried egg is the perfect topping for its extra protein, and a runny yolk makes a great creamy sauce for your dry dish.
We recommend you leave your egg out for half an hour so the egg can separate from the shell easier.
Heat a medium-sized pan (preferably nonstick) over low heat. Pour olive oil in the pan and let it heat up, about 5 minutes or until the oil is shimmering.
Slowly crack the egg into the pan. If you wish to have it more uniform, you can use a metal ring and put the egg in it.
Put a lid on top of the pan and leave it to cook for about 2 to 2 ½ minutes or until the white is cooked through.
When it is done cooking, season it with salt and pepper. Slide it over the fried rice.
Shrimp tempura is unique from other fried seafood because its coating is crunchy but lighter, which will match the light ingredients of the fried rice.
Remove the shrimps’ shells and devein them with a toothpick.
Fill a large bowl with cornstarch and salt, and then toss the shrimp in it until well-covered.
Heat a pot of oil up to 350 fahrenheit degrees.
While the oil is heating, mix an egg with 1 cup water. Stir in flour with a whisk or fork. Make sure to not overmix the batter.
Once the oil is hot, gently put the shrimp into the batter, 4 to 5 at a time (depending on the size of the pot).
Fry the shrimp for a few minutes or until they are golden.
Remove the shrimp tempura with a pair of tongs and set them on some paper towels.
Not only does teriyaki chicken add more protein to the meal, but it matches perfectly with the rice’s flavor profile with both of their use of soy sauce. The extra teriyaki sauce can coat the rice as well for extra moisture.
Heat oil in a non-stick pan or wok. A wok is preferable if you want to add smokiness to your teriyaki chicken.
Cut the chicken breast or thighs into 1-inch cubes. For a moister meat, choose chicken thighs. For a leaner meat, choose the chicken breast.
Cook the cubed chicken until brown on one side, then flip them and cook the other side.
While the chicken is cooking, whisk some soy sauce, brown sugar, rice or white vinegar, sesame oil, fresh grated or ground ginger, minced garlic, and cornstarch.
Pour the teriyaki sauce over the chicken and let it simmer until the sauce has thickened.
Tuna steak may be simple compared to the other dishes, but its juiciness brings the fried rice to a different level without the strong fishy smell.
Put oil on a rack and put it on a tray.
Head a medium-sized skillet over high heat.
Take a 6-7 oz. tuna steak and drizzle some oil over the top half of the fish. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over it. Flip it and repeat the same steps on the other side.
Once the pan is hot, brush it with oil.
Put the steak on the skillet and let it cook on one side for 45 seconds.
Turn it every 45 degrees and let each side cook for 45 seconds.
Once done, put the tuna on the rack and let it rest for 5 minutes.
Slice it and serve it with your fried rice.
Best Wine Pairings
Fried rice may be simple comfort food, but certain types of wine will still go well with this dish. The top choices would be rich, fruity and spicy wines like the off-dry rose, Australian shiraz, Amarone, and new world cabernet.
The off-dry rose is a fruity wine that is lighter in color than red wine. Its flavors consist of mostly red fruit strawberry, cranberry, plum, watermelon, and honey. With its crisper taste, it is light enough to complement the hearty fried rice.
Australian shiraz sounds like an odd choice because of its origin compared to Chinese food, but its spiciness and richness pairs well with the savory fried rice. This wine uses spice, blueberries, blackberries and pepper. With the use of ripe, dark fruit, it turns the wine full-bodied and rich.
Amarone is another dark wine, but instead of spiciness, there is sweetness. It has flavors of black cherry, brown sugar and chocolate. If you age it longer, it will give flavors of molasses and fig, counteracting the salty fried rice.
New world cabernet has lower acidity than the other selections on this list, and with fried rice’s use of soy sauce, a low-acid wine will be more fitting. It has dark ingredients like the Amarone, like black cherry and black pepper, so it will add a subtle spice.
Chinese food uses sauces in different dishes and in many ways. All of the sauces listed have distinct flavors to make your fried rice dish unique. Please use sparingly.
Soy sauce, the most popular sauce, is a dark brown sauce made from fermented soybeans. It has many uses like marinade, basting, and sometimes for added color. Most fried rice dishes already have soy sauce mixed in them, so use a very light amount.
Fish sauce also has a dark brown color and the umami factor but has more nutrients with its fermented fish. It is like a saltier, thicker, and fishier Worcestershire sauce. This sauce is also used for marinating and dressing dishes up, but it is best used on fish dishes.
Oyster sauce also has fishy notes, but they are more subtle and often compared to a mix of soy sauce and barbeque sauce. The Chinese add it to other sauces as well as drizzle it over cooked vegetables, meats or spring rolls.
The hoisin sauce is thicker and sweeter than soy sauce and is considered to be the saltier version barbeque sauce. It is used like barbeque sauce as well, from glazing and dunking to thickening and color.