How to Make Fried Rice

This post contains simple instructions on how to make fried rice. This recipe is so easy and so laughably cheap that I just have to share it with the world. It dates back to my college days when a friend of mine named Tracy taught it to me. Money was tight back then, so needless to say this recipe instantly entered my heavy rotation--and it's been there going on 17 years now.

But the best thing about this meal is that it costs less than one dollar to make. Seriously.

Fried Rice

1 frozen sausage link (either sweet or spicy Italian-style sausage)

Two cups (roughly) of day-old rice (best if made the day before in a rice cooker: here's one to consider)
Soy sauce

1 egg, beaten
Tabasco and/or cayenne pepper to taste
Frozen peas (can also use other frozen green veggies, like broccoli)


1) Slice up the sausage link into small chunks and fry on medium heat in a non-stick pan.

2) Add the rice. Be sure you break up any clumps of rice. You can add cayenne pepper to the rice if you want a spicier dish.

3) Crack egg into a glass and beat with a fork. I add a few good splashes of Tabasco to the beaten egg.

4) Add egg/Tabasco mixture to the rice and sausage in the pan. Stir with a spatula until combined evenly.

5) Shake four or five healthy splashes of soy sauce onto the egg/rice
mixture (err on the side of caution here and don't add too much or the dish will be too salty--you can always add more soy sauce later if need be).

6) Turn burner up to medium-high. Continue stirring constantly and be careful not to let the rice burn.

7) Dump in a couple of handfuls of frozen peas. Cook for another 4-5 minutes more on high heat, stirring constantly.

Serves two.

Related Posts:
Mock Wild Rice: An Insanely Easy To Make Side Dish
Eight Tips to Make Cooking At Home Laughably Cheap: The Economics of Cooking, Part 2
Two Useful Cooking Lessons From Another Cheap and Easy Side Dish
How to Tell if a Recipe is Worth Cooking With Five Easy Questions

I can't end this post without backing up my "less than one dollar" claim. So here it is: you can buy an entire pound bag of frozen peas for $1.50 and you'll use just a handful or two per batch (you can of course use other types of veggies, I just like peas because they're easy to handle and keep well in the freezer). You can buy an entire package of a dozen Italian-style sausage links for $3-4. You're going to use about 5-10c worth of rice. Add in an egg at $2.29 a dozen and a few splashes each of soy sauce and Tabasco, and here's how the math works:

Sausage, 1 link--------------33c
1 Egg-------------------------19c
Rice--------------------------10c (at most)
Tabasco, Soy Sauce--------10-15c (again, at most)

I knew that MBA would pay off eventually...!

If you're looking for other inexpensive recipes like this one, you can visit here, here and here.


Anonymous said...

I know I'll be trying this recipe, but not because of the cost alone. It looks darn good, and I bet it tastes great too! GP

Sunny @ said...

OOh yummy! I'll have to try yours using hot sauce and sausage. Try mine, too! I used chicken and Sriaccha. Delish!

Anonymous said...

In Hawaii we use Spam.

Sally said...

It never occurred to me to use Italian sausage, but I've used crumbled bulk breakfast sausage or Spam. I think I need to cook some rice!

Daniel said...

Let me know how it comes out Sally! For us, frozen sausage links are just easier to handle. This recipe is all about maximizing convenience.


chilimoon said...

I found a way to veganize this delicious dish - it starts by replacing the sausage, of course. :P
Then: Instead of the beaten egg, you use 3 to 4 generous tablespoons of tofu (not too firm). You put it in a glass and squash it with a fork until it looks like a cross between scrambled eggs and finely ground meat, texture-wise.
Then, add a dash of soy sauce, some black pepper, some nutmeg and a bit of salt (tofu is very bland).
I like to add sriracha and garlic or hoisin sauce as well, but that's because I love spicy food.

You need to prepare the egg replacement before you start cooking, so it can marinate a bit. A quarter of an hour was fine for me.
I'd recommend to start cooking by frying the egg replacement for a bit before you add the rice (so it's exactly the other way round than in the original recipe, if I remember correctly).