This classic Japanese Fried Rice (Yakimeshi) with ham, egg, and green onion is a delicious one-pan meal that you can whip up in under 20 minutes. It's bursting with flavor and perfect for a weeknight meal.
Course: Main Course
Keyword: fried rice
Servings: 2(as a side dish)
Author: Namiko Chen
2rice bowlscooked Japanese short-grain rice(1¾ cups, 12 oz for 2 servings; cooled; day-old rice, preferably; if you haven't prepped the rice yet, cook 1 rice cooker cup of short-grain rice and follow my instructions below on how to cool it)
To prepare the day-old cooked rice, remove it from the refrigerator and heat it in the microwave until it's room temperature or slightly warm. If you are using 2 servings of freshly cooked rice, transfer the hot rice to a baking sheet. Spread it out and let it cool completely. This will remove the moisture from the rice.
Cut the white part of the green onion into rounds and the green part diagonally. Keep the white and green parts separate and set aside. Reserve a few green slices for the garnish.
Dice the ham into square pieces ½ inch (1.3 cm) wide.
Crack and whisk the egg in a bowl.
To Cook the Fried Rice
Make sure all the ingredients are prepped and ready to go, as this dish cooks quickly. Heat the wok (or a large frying pan) on medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, add half the oil and swirl it around to make sure it coats the entire surface of the wok. Add the beaten egg to the hot wok. After a few seconds, the egg will start to float on top of the oil.
With the blunt end of a spatula, swirl the loosely set egg around the pan to keep it fluffy while continuing to cook it. When the bottom of the egg is set but the top is still a bit runny and not quite fully cooked, transfer it to a plate. We do not want to overcook the egg at this stage.
Add the other half of the oil to the pan. Then, add the ham and white part of the chopped green onion. Stir-fry and coat well with the oil.
Add the cooked and cooled rice to the wok. With the spatula, use a slicing motion to separate the rice clumps without mashing or breaking the rice grains. Combine it with the ham mixture and continue to toss the rice so it is coated with oil and develops a nice char.
Add the cooked egg back to the wok and break it into smaller pieces while you combine it with the rice. If some of the rice sticks to the wok (it happens when there's not enough oil), you can scrape it off easily if you're using a well-seasoned or nonstick wok. This creates a nice charred flavor. You may need to add more oil if you're using a stainless steel pan, as the rice tends to stick more.
Season the rice with salt and white pepper.
Add the soy sauce and toss to distribute it throughout the rice. The key action here is to continuously toss the fried rice in the air to keep it from clumping instead of leaving it a sticky mass clustered at the bottom of the wok. Turning and tossing the rice in the air also helps develop a smoky flavor.
Add the green part of the chopped green onion. Taste the fried rice and adjust the seasoning if needed. After tossing the rice a few more times, transfer it to a plate.
Fried rice at Chinese restaurants in Japan is often served in a dome shape. If you'd like to serve it this way, fill a rice bowl with the fried rice, pat it down lightly to compact it, and invert it onto a plate. Fill the rice bowl again for the other plate. Sprinkle the reserved sliced green onion on top, and serve.
You can store the leftovers in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days and in the freezer for up to a month.