fried rice with fish sauce and citrus

cooked leftover rice lasts for about five days in the fridge. i don’t like to admit it, but i have ended this time period before without using the rice at hand, which is always sad. enter: tamar adler’s thai fried rice recipe – from her book about cooking (that i highly recommend) called “an everlasting meal.”

leftover rice is what the recipe CALLS FOR being used. so we always have a reason to happily use our leftover rice and, in turn, make a decadent lunch or dinner. i also like to keep cilantro on hand, because this recipe uses almost an entire bunch of cilantro! and if you have cilantro “on sale” (that needs to be used), you have another excuse to cook this recipe. other than rice, peanut oil, cilantro, citrus, an allium, and the fish sauce, most of the ingredients can be subbed out for whatever you have on hand. for example: you could easily skip the mushrooms and cabbage, use something else in place of them, or completely omit them. use what you have! carrots, peas, leeks, heck… anything would be good. and if you have lime or lemon on hand, use one of these for your citrus!!

this is going to be a mostly no-recipe recipe, because while i use her recipe as a blueprint – it is endlessly adaptable. i like to use whatever vegetables i have in the fridge that i think would be good – so today it was mushrooms and cabbage, but i’ve added lots of different ingredients and everything turns out great. so here’s what i did for my fried rice today.


  • peanut oil
  • mushrooms, i used maitake – large chop
  • red onion, thinly sliced
  • cabbage, sliced into strips
  • red chili pepper flakes
  • kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • leftover cooked rice
  • bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • lemon or lime
  • maple syrup
  • fish sauce
  • egg(s), fried


  1. heat oil over medium-high in a large sautΓ© pan or wok. add the mushrooms. cook until starting to brown.
  2. add onions and cook until starting to brown. sprinkle with kosher salt.
  3. add cabbage and garlic cloves. cook until wilted and garlic starting to brown. sprinle with kosher salt.
  4. sprinkle red pepper flakes, to taste and cook until fragrant.
  5. pour in leftover rice. spread out in pan. let each grain begin to fry.
  6. once rice has been substantially fried, add the cilantro, fish sauce (2 tsp – 1 tbsp, start low and add more if you want). squeeze lots of lemon or lime over the fried rice and drizzle with maple syrup (only about 1/2 tsp needed, but can add more/less depending on your preference). mix everything together and cook for another minute.
  7. remove fried rice to plates.
  8. wipe out pan, add more peanut oil. fry egg(s) to your desired doneness.
  9. garnish with more cilantro, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, and more lemon juice!

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