This classic fried rice recipe is loaded with fresh mixed veggies and aromatic spices for an incredibly hearty, flavorful vegan dish. Hands-down this is one of our favorite Chinese-inspired recipes. Not only is vegetable fried rice amazingly easy to make from scratch, it’s a naturally vegan dish that’s as good for you as it is delicious to eat. You can even tweak veg fried rice to be gluten-free simply by using GF-friendly soy sauce or tamari.
Why this recipe works
And although Chinese fried rice is a healthy option, it is loaded with lots of exciting flavors. Salty and savory soy sauce is balanced with spiced star anise, and raw scallions add a great pop of freshness you’ll love.
Otherwise, I’ve kept the ingredients list rather basic to allow each element to shine – the veggies really are the star here!
Fried rice with mixed veggies can be enjoyed by itself for a satisfying lunch, but it does go great with rich, saucy main dishes.
This recipe rivals even the best take out options, and I’m sure you will enjoy making it often as part of your Indo-Chinese meals.
How to make Fried Rice
Prepping and Cooking Rice
1. A great vegetable fried rice recipe begins with well-cooked white rice. To do so, first soak 1 cup of basmati rice (200 grams) in water for 30 mins. Then drain and set the rice aside. You can opt for a good quality aged long-grained rice.
2. In a large pot add 4 to 4.5 cups of water, ½ teaspoon salt and 2 to 3 drops of toasted sesame oil (or any cooking oil), and set over high heat on the stove top.
3. Let the water reach a full boil.
4. Add the soaked and drained basmati rice.
5. Simmer the rice uncovered on medium to medium-high heat.
6. Cook the rice until al dente, or just about cooked. It’s important that you do not overcook rice during this step in order to make the best Chinese fried rice dish.
7. Quickly strain the rice in a colander, and let the rice cool completely. Refrigerating rice for 30 minutes also helps. Simply cover the rice and refrigerate.
8. You can also rinse the rice with water so that the rice stops cooking. Use your hands to gently stir the rice around while rinsing to ensure that every grain is cooled. Then drain thoroughly.
9. Cover the rice and set aside to cool.
10. While the rice is cooling, finely chop the veggies. Because french beans tend to be tougher than the other mixed vegetables, I recommend chopping them very finely. You also have the option to blanch them first before adding, or you can begin cooking them in this recipe before the rest of the vegetables are added.
For my favorite version of fried rice recipe you’ll need ¼ cup of each of the following ingredients, finely chopped:
- spring white onions (scallions) (not in the image below)
- french beans
- capsicum (bell peppers, your choice of color – green, red or yellow)
Plus about 1 cup of chopped button mushrooms for great earthy, savory flavor. I also like to include 1 tablespoon of finely chopped celery for the most authentic Chinese-inspired dish. Include ¼ cup of cabbage if you have them.
11. Now it’s time to stir-fry the vegetables. Start by heating 3 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil (or preferred cooking oil) in a wok or a deep skillet. Add 1 whole star anise and fry for a few seconds, until the oil becomes fragrant.
TIP: Use a good heavy pan, skillet or wok for stir-frying, so that the tender fresh veggies do not get stuck or burn when frying at a high heat.
12. Then add 1 teaspoon of finely chopped garlic, and ½ teaspoon finely chopped ginger. Cook for only a moment as you don’t want to brown or burn the garlic.
13. Add the chopped spring onions, and sauté for a minute or two on medium-low to medium heat.
14. Then add the finely chopped french beans – or, add these before the onions if you want a softer bean texture.
15. Continue to stir-fry both the onions and french beans for 2 to 3 minutes over medium to medium-high heat.
16. Now add the remaining finely chopped veggies, including mushrooms and celery. Increase the heat to high to thoroughly cook all of the ingredients.
17. Continuously toss and stir while frying so that the veggies are uniformly cooked and do not get burnt for about 4 to 6 minutes. You want the vegetables to be hot and fried, but still retain some great crunch.
18. Once the veggies have cooked for a minute or two, add 3 tablespoons of soy sauce. Stir well.
19. Taste the dish, and then add ½ a teaspoon of pepper and as much salt as you like. The Chinese fried rice will already be slightly salty because of the soy sauce, so not much additional salt should be needed.
20. Mix well to combine the flavors.
Making fried rice
21. You are now ready to put everything together to make the veg fried rice. To the wok or skillet of veggies add the cooked and cooled rice – 1 cup or so at a time.
22. Use a spoon or spatula to gently fold the rice into the mixed vegetables.
23. With the heat still on medium to medium-high, continue to gently mix and fry the vegetables with the rice.
24. You now have the option to stir in tablespoon of rice wine or rice vinegar (or other mild vinegar), if you like. This adds a terrific note of sourness to the veg fried rice that isn’t necessary but is quite lovely.
25. Lastly, add more fresh chopped spring onions. You can either sprinkle on top as a garnish, or mix into the fried rice to incorporate.
26. Serve vegetable fried rice hot by itself for a light yet hearty meal, or enjoy as a side dish along with your other favorite Chinese recipes.
How long can fried rice stay in fridge?
It stays good for a couple of a days. But I would recommend it to be eaten as soon as you can – many days rice is not good for health.
How to reheat fried rice?
I usually steam them in my Instant-pot for 5 minutes. Sometimes I also stir-fry them in a pan sprinkling a few splashes of water, so that the rice grains do not dry out.
What goes with Vegetable Fried Rice?
Though fried rice tastes great on its own, listed below are some sides that pair greatly paired with vegetable fried rice (these are also my favorites):
- Cooking rice: Don’t overcook the rice. When first boiling the rice you want to cook the grains so that they’re al dente. Be sure to always drain and completely cool the rice before adding it to the stir fry. Wet and/or hot rice will not cook properly, and will wind up mushy in your veg fried rice.
- Veggies: Use your favorite veggies. I like the carrots, cabbage, beans, and mushrooms used in this chinese fried rice recipe. However, you can add your preferred choice of vegetables to your version of veg fried rice.
- Flavors and seasonings: Add a bit of tomato sauce for a slightly sweet flavor. To make spicy veg fried rice, add some red chili sauce or green chili sauce along with the soy sauce.
- Celery: I recommend not to skip celery! Finely diced celery adds great texture and taste to this Chinese-inspired recipe. While you certainly can skip adding if you don’t have it available, I highly recommend that you do include it if you are able to.
As the stir-frying is done at a high heat, it is best to avoid extra virgin olive oil as it has a low smoke point.
Oil with a high smoking temperatures are good to make fried rice. For a lovely nutty aroma, I suggest toasted sesame oil. Fats like sunflower, avocado, peanut oil and butter are some better options.
Long grained non-sticky rice is usually used in Chinese cooking. Basmati recipe fits the bill as it long grained and non-sticky as well. Try to use aged basmati rice for best results.
How do you make fried rice not soggy?
Drain your rice thoroughly. There shouldn’t be any liquids or water in them. The cooked rice has to be cooled completely. Adding warm or hot rice while stir-frying will make it soggy and pasty. The rice has to be cold or at room temperature when stir-frying.
Why did my fried rice come out mushy
Al dente cooked rice are perfect for a non-mushy fried rice. If the rice grains have softened or overdone, they will break when stir-frying and become mushy.
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This classic Chinese fried rice recipe is loaded with fresh mixed veggies and aromatic spices for an incredibly hearty, flavorful vegan veg fried rice.
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Cuisine Indo Chinese
Course: Main Course
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Rinse rice very well till the water runs clear of starch. Soak rice in water for 30 mins. Drain and keep aside.
In a pot, bring water to a gentle boil with salt and 2 to 3 drops of toasted sesame oil.
Add the soaked and drained rice to the hot water.
On a low to medium to medium-high heat simmer rice without the lid.
When the rice becomes al dente or just about cooked, remove the pot from fire and drain the rice in a colander or sieve.
You can also gently rinse the rice in water so that they stop cooking and don’t stick to each other. Cover the rice and set aside until the rice cools completely. You can even refrigerate rice with a covered lid for 30 minutes.
When the rice is cooling, chop the veggies finely and keep aside.
Remember to chop the french beans very finely. They take more time to cook than other veggies. You can also blanch them first and then cook. Another option is to add the beans first and then add the other vegetables.
Making fried rice
Heat oil in a wok or a pan. First add the star anise and fry for a few seconds or until the oil becomes fragrant.
Add the garlic, ginger and sauté for some seconds. No need to brown the garlic.
Add the spring onions whites and sauté for about 2 minutes.
Then add finely chopped french beans.
Stir fry french beans for 2 to 3 minutes over medium to medium-high heat.
Add the remaining finely chopped veggies, including mushrooms and celery. Increase the heat to a high to thoroughly cook all of the ingredients.
You have to continuously toss and stir while frying so that the veggies are uniformly cooked and do not get burnt.
The veggies have to be stir-fried, until they are almost cooked and yet retain their crunchiness and crispiness. Stir-frying vegetables on high heat takes about 4 to 6 minutes.
Add the soy sauce, salt and pepper. Stir quickly and add the rice. Stir fry for a few minutes until the sauce has coated the rice well. Keep a check when adding salt, as soy sauce already has salt in it.
Serve the fried rice hot as it is or with with your favorite Chinese side.
- Rice: Aged, long-grained non- sticky white rice is the best to make fried rice. Here I have used basmati rice.
- Veggies: You can add your favorite vegetables or mushrooms.
- Celery: Omit adding celery, if you do not have it.
- Soy sauce: Preferably use naturally brewed soy sauce. For a gluten free fried rice, use tamari or bragg liquid aminos.
- Oils: Peanut, sunflower, avocado oil are good options as they have a high smoking point which is suits stir frying at high heat.
- Cooking rice: Do not overcook rice. You only want rice to be al dente. Always drain and completely cool the rice before adding it to the stir fry. Wet or hot rice will end up being mushy.
- Flavors and seasonings: Add a bit of tomato sauce for a slightly sweet flavor. To make spicy fried rice, add some red chili sauce or green chili sauce along with the soy sauce.
- Soggy and mushy rice: Drain your rice thoroughly. There shouldn’t be any water in them. Cooked rice has to be cooled completely before you begin stir-frying. Soft or overdone rice breaks when stir-frying and becomes mushy.
- Reheating fried rice: I usually steam them in my Instant-pot for 5 minutes. Sometimes I also stir-fry them in a pan sprinkling a few splashes of water, so that the rice grains do not dry out.
Fried Rice Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 394 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Vitamin A 2014IU40%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 3mg15%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 17mg21%
Vitamin D 1µg7%
Vitamin E 1mg7%
Vitamin K 37µg35%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 29µg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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This fried rice recipe from the archives (August 2013) has been republished and updated on 26 December 2020 with newer photos, my expert tips and faqs.