How A Dash Of Cornstarch Can Improve Fried Rice

Making the perfect fried rice may seem fairly simple. It requires basic ingredients that can be found in most kitchens, including rice, eggs, salt, and chopped vegetables, and all of the cooking is done quickly with efficient heat generated by a wok. Yet, messing up this dish is just as easy as making it, and the fact that one comedian's persona, Uncle Roger, launched an entire career from a viral takedown of a BBC egg fried rice video with 34 million views and counting is proof that even professionals can end up with a weak bowl of it. For this meal, the right ingredients and following a recipe will only get you so far, and sometimes hacks are needed.

Luckily, chef and writer J. Kenji López-Alt shared an easy trick for making fried rice. The best part? You probably have it lying around your kitchen, ready to employ the next time you're about to break some eggs.

Add a dash of cornstarch

Cornstarch is a versatile pantry staple originally invented in 1842 to keep laundry fresh. However, today, it's also a versatile ingredient used in many Chinese dishes, with applications including marinating meats, deep frying, thickening sauces, and more. 

For Chef López-Alt, he employs a sprinkling of cornstarch on leftover and dried rice that's about to be fried up in a wok. The purpose of the ingredient in this application, he says, is to "help you break up the individual grains." He also uses the back of a spatula to help the separation process and recommends cooking the rice in multiple batches for those with less powerful burners. 

Once you've mastered the cornstarch technique for upping your fried rice game, you can attempt this advanced-level egg fried rice technique which involves pouring beaten and strained egg slowly into the oil so that there are no clumpy bits.