How To Make "Foreign Devil" Fried Rice

Recipe submitted by: Elspeth Fahey

My husband is Chinese and I am Western. Between the two of us we came up with this recipe for fried rice that is actually a meal in a bowl. Now all my Chinese relatives make it this way and our Western friends have asked us to teach them how it is made. Optional ingredients include meat, salted fermented black beans, cashews and chili oil. I can do this dish in well under half an hour, and that includes all the chopping. This dish is good for colds, depression, writer's block, stubbed toes, insomnia, heartbreak, religious crises and general crankiness. It can change your life. Yum.


  • 6 sticks dried bean curd
  • 1 tablespoon shredded black fungus
  • 7 dried black mushrooms
  • boiling water
  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 tablespoon butter or oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, or as needed
  • 1 cup cubed carrots
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 4 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
  • 4 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 tablespoons tamari
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • fresh ground black pepper


  1. Place the dried bean curd in a bowl, and cover with boiling water. In a smaller bowl, place the shredded black fungus and dried black mushrooms, and cover with boiling water. Allow the bean curd, black fungus, and dried black mushrooms to soak until rehydrated, about 20 minutes.

  • Place 3 1/4 cups of water with rice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, and let it boil hard for one minute. Cover with a lid, and turn heat to low. Cook on low for 5 minutes, then remove from heat (without lifting the lid). Let sit, covered, while you prepare the rest of the meal, or about 20 minutes. Do not at any time lift the lid.
  • In a non-stick skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Scramble eggs to the dry instead of the creamy point. Dump them into a bowl, and continue to chop them into bits with the edge of a wooden spoon. You don't have to pulverize them, go for pieces about the size of your thumbnail.
  • In one bowl, combine carrot, onion, garlic, and ginger. In another bowl, green onions and frozen peas. Now drain all the water off the bean curd, fungus and mushrooms. The bean curd might need some tough bits removed, and the remainder cut into quarter-inch rings. The mushrooms only need slicing and the fungus is pre-sliced so no worries there. Combine bean curd and mushrooms in a third bowl.
  • Heat wok over high heat; let the metal get smoking hot, about one minute. Add three tablespoons of vegetable oil. Wait about 30 seconds, and tip in the bowl of carrot, onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently. The garlic's going to brown first because it has the highest sugar content, so keep an eye on it, and turn the flame down if necessary. Tip in the bean curd, shredded fungus, and mushrooms, and cook and stir for one minute. Now look to see that your flame is set to maximum, and tip in the spring onion and the frozen peas. You don't need to cook them, just threaten them. Keep them moving, and mix in the rice. Stir in the eggs, and then season with generous, generous amounts of tamari and sesame oil, and a few twists of fresh black pepper.
  • Basmati rice: It smells lovely and, unlike Chinese rice, it has way more 'backbone' when it's hot, so it's not necessary to let it get completely cold before you fry it.

    Dried bean curd: This is worth the effort it might take to find. Fried rice is about texture as well as taste, and dried bean curd adds a chewy, springy, bouncy fried-squid effect to the whole enterprise.

    Shredded black fungus/dried black mushrooms: Very traditional, and once again, worth the effort to try and obtain. Chinese food is also all about presentation, and the black color of these vegetable sets off the rest of the ingredients beautifully. And they taste nice as well.

    Tamari: Tamari sauce is made only with fermented soybeans, while soy sauce is made with a blend of soybeans and wheat. The soy sauce just tastes salty while tamari tastes like a fine wine in comparison. Trust me.

    Preserved salted black beans: One of the greatest and best tasting seasonings I know. They also last for absolutely always. 10,000 years from now, archeologists will dig some up and they'll still taste great.

    Your Wok: Size matters. Nothing's more depressing than too much food in a too-small wok. Ya got to have plenty of room to sling it around with impunity. So get yourself a roomy wok, a proper cold-rolled steel Chinese wok, a foot and a half wide is good, bigger is better. Put it on your biggest burner, I am lucky to have a wok ring at home, I chose the cooker specifically for it. Did I mention that you need a flame for this? You need a flame. Electric...I wish you all the luck in the world.


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