Fried rice is a delicious meal that can be prepared in several ways, and because you can change up the vegetables that are added, it can be extremely versatile. The dish is a great way to get in a lot of vegetables that might otherwise be missing from your diet.
While both white rice and brown rice are both naturally gluten-free, fried rice is usually prepared with soy sauce which contains wheat. This means that to make fried rice a part of a gluten-free diet, some changes need to be made to make it accessible.
The great news is that it’s reasonably easy to eliminate gluten from fried rice, either by entirely skipping those additives that contain gluten or by finding gluten-free alternatives.
What Is Fried Rice?
This is both a simple and complex question to answer. At its core, fried rice is rice that has been stir-fried with various types of vegetables, eggs, usually some kind of protein like fish or pork, and mixed with sauce.
Although this is the basic recipe, fried rice is popular in many Asian countries and almost all of them have their own, unique way of preparing this dish. Since there are so many variations, fried rice is one of the most versatile dishes to make. The options are almost endless!
What Is Gluten?
Gluten is a structural protein that is found in cereal grains, and most especially in wheat products. It can be considered the glue that holds things like wheat, barley, and rye together and gives them their shape.
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This protein is what causes a negative reaction in those with celiac disease, and it can be found in lots of different grains, not only limited to wheat products but including things like rye, barley, and some oat varieties as well.
What Fried Rice Ingredients Contain Gluten?
The biggest culprit working against a gluten-free fried rice recipe is soy sauce. Traditionally, most fried rice recipes contain soy sauce which is typically made with wheat as well as soybeans, salt, and water.
Because soy sauce is not gluten-free, the best bet is to either eliminate the ingredient from your fried rice recipe or to find a suitable gluten-free brand that can be used instead.
Can You Make Gluten-Free Fried Rice?
Though fried rice is usually prepared with soy sauce which contains gluten, there are a lot of recipes that can be made without that ingredient. Another option is to use a gluten-free brand of soy sauce, but other sauces can be used as well.
You could try using tamari soy sauce instead of traditional soy sauce. Toasted sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and even red pepper flakes can be used as a replacement for soy sauce to give your fried rice that extra punch of flavor if you decide to eliminate the sauce.
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Luckily, eggs, rice, vegetables, and meats are all gluten-free so you can use whatever ingredients you want for the core of the recipe. It’s fun to mix it up and try different ingredients each time you make fried rice, giving you lots of variety and endless combinations.
When Was Fried Rice Invented?
Fried rice was invented sometime in the Sui dynasty, in China, around A.D. 589–618. It was invented in the city of Yangzhou in eastern Jiangsu province.
Yangzhou fried rice is still considered the standard by which all other rice is judged. It is traditionally prepared with pork, prawns, scallions, and peas, and is sometimes called ‘special fried rice’.
Is All Fried Rice Made the Same Way?
Although there is a standard recipe for fried rice, not all fried rice is made the same. Throughout Asia, the Pacific, and even Africa and the Americas, there are a ton of variations to the traditional dish.
In Japan, omurice is a dish made with fried rice wrapped in an egg omelet, and usually, it’s topped with something like ketchup or tomato sauce.
On the other hand, in Malaysia and Singapore, salted fish is commonly added instead of pork or other meats. In Vietnam, diced sausage, egg, and onions are often used.
Meanwhile, in the Dominican Republic, the primary meat used in their fried rice dishes is ham, which is a little unusual but not as odd as the beef tongue, alligator, or lizard that is sometimes used in recipes in Peru!
Can You Use Other Kinds of Rice to Make Fried Rice?
The great thing about fried rice is that you can use almost any kind of rice to make it! The recipe was originally created to use up leftover rice so that it didn’t go to waste. To that end, there are a ton of options when it comes to what rice you can use.
One issue you should watch out for is that long-grain rice tends to fall apart more during the frying process. Even though this may be the case, it’s still possible to make fried rice using long-grain rice varieties.
Why is Rice so Important?
This complex carbohydrate is incredibly important since it is the primary source of caloric intake for over half of the world’s population. Many varieties contain a good amount of fiber, protein, iron, and manganese. Rice accounts for around one-fifth of the calories consumed worldwide.
Outside of its importance as a food source, rice is also significant to a lot of cultures. In Asia, rice makes up a huge portion of the economy and accounts for much of the food exports coming from those countries. Farming rice is an integral part of society in China, Japan, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Thailand.
National Fried Rice Day is on September 20th, which makes it a great time to celebrate and fry up a special recipe of your own. Try a gluten-free recipe and you or your gluten-free family can enjoy the incredible dish.
Though fried rice is not gluten-free when prepared traditionally, there are many ways to alter the recipe and accommodate a gluten-free diet for those suffering from celiac disease or who choose to go gluten-free for other health reasons.