This Is How A Chef Creates Layers Of Flavor When Making Chinese Takeout-Style Fried Rice

Homemade fried rice can be delicious, but it often doesn't compare to the takeout from your favorite Chinese restaurant. The reason? It's likely because your cooking method is different. To find out more, Tasting Table spoke to an expert: Joe Bliffen, the Chef De Cuisine at Silver Apricot, a New-American-Chinese restaurant in New York City.

Bliffen explained that sauces are key when preparing fried rice at Silver Apricot. The sauce they use depends on the ultimate flavor they're going for, as well as the season. "Generally, you can't go wrong with all-purpose Kikkoman Soy Sauce, which we add into the cooking liquid we use to steam the rice," Bliffen told us. "Typically we replace about 1/4 of the water with soy sauce for a nice pop of salinity and umami that won't overwhelm whatever other ingredients we're adding to the fried rice. We also often use tamari in order to keep our fried rice gluten-free." 

While the Kikkoman is a go-to in their kitchen, sometimes they use more unexpected sauces or liquids to elevate the fried rice flavor. Here are some other liquids you may want to branch out and invest in to make sure your homemade fried rice is restaurant-quality.

Try using pickle liquids or flavored oils in your next fried rice batch

Soy sauce — or tamari — is a great choice for fried rice, guaranteed to infuse plenty of flavor into the dish. After all, there's a reason that Joe Bliffen listed soy sauce first and foremost in his answer. However, he also revealed that sometimes they take an unexpected route with their liquid choices: "We will sometimes add or substitute other liquids for water to punch up or complement the vegetables or other ingredients in the final fried rice: [Examples include] soaking liquid from rehydrating mushrooms, pickle liquids to add acid and sweetness, flavorful oils to help keep the grains of rice separate and aid in crisping when fried."

So, next time you make, say pickled red onions, make sure to save that liquid to experiment with later when you're preparing a batch of fried rice. Who knows, maybe you'll take your pork fried rice to the next level with Bliffen's secret ingredient.