Fried rice is a cuisine with Asian origins. It is a dish of cooked rice that can be stir-fried and mixed with other ingredients. Fried rice can be eaten on its own or serve as a condiment or side dish to the main course dish. Fried rice can contain other food items like shrimps, fish, vegetables, eggs, or meat.
The presence of different kinds of food items in fried rice makes it easy to go bad fast. If you let your fried rice sit out for too long, it can change the taste and become inedible. So, in situations where you made too much rice, or you just want to have fried rice on hand so you could eat it whenever you want. How do you keep it safe to eat and devoid of bacteria?
Can you freeze fried rice? Yes, you can. Fried rice freezes well, even though it is well known that rice doesn’t handle the cold air of the freezer well. Fried rice can be frozen and kept in the freezer for up to 3 months before it gets freezer burn, or begins to lose quality, taste, and flavor.
Fried rice is a great dish, but the problem with it is that, once you cook it and it starts to cool down, bacteria can begin to grow in it. This means that you shouldn’t dare to leave your fried rice out for too long.
What Kind of Fried Rice Freezes Best?
You could have takeout/takeaway fried rice, or have them homemade yourself. The homemade one freezes best. Asides from the fact that you don’t know what ingredients have gone into the preparation of your takeaway fried rice, you don’t know how long ago it was cooked.
Most takeaway fried rice houses have made their meals beforehand and had them stored in the freezer. This is because a lot of time investment and effort goes into making fried rice. When you order, they just reheat the frozen fried rice. So if you try freezing such, you would be refreezing. This would mean that the quality would deteriorate very quickly.
How to Freeze Fried Rice
Fried rice that you have made by yourself would freeze well because it would be freshly made, and you can control the ingredients. Freezing fried rice is very easy. You would get the best results if you are doing premeditated freezing and not just rushing to save your leftovers.
Step 1: Follow the Recipe and Let the Rice Cool Down
There are different variations of fried rice, so choose your pick and follow the recipe, cook like you normally would, but keep an eye on it so it doesn’t get overdone or too soft.
Once your rice is ready, let it sit till it cools. You can take it out of the pot and pour it into a pan with a wider surface area so it can cool faster.
Step 2: Flash Freezing
Cooked rice contains a lot of moisture, this moisture helps the rice retain its structure during freezing. But the moisture could mean that the rice would clump together as it freezes. You counteract the clumping, you flash freeze.
Get a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. These are to help you keep the rice from sticking to the baking sheet. Once your rice is cool enough to touch, spread it out on the baking sheet. Use your hand to smooth out the clumps and spread the rice loosely. Spread them into a thin layer that will cover the entirety of the tray.
Then place the tray into the freezer to freeze for no more than 4 hours. Leaving the rice in the freezer for longer than that could mean exposing them to a risk of getting freezer burn.
Step 3: Storage and Freezing
After your rice is completely frozen, you can now store them in freezer bags or small serving-sized freezer-friendly containers.
Your rice would start to thaw as soon as you remove them out of the freezer so you need to pack them into the freezer bags and waste no time freezing them.
Don’t stuff each bag full, use multiple bags if you have to. Press each bag flat to expel as much as you can before you seal them.
Before you place the bags into the freezer to freeze, label them with the date of the freeze and the contents. This would help you keep track of the package and help you with your food calendar if you have one.
How to Defrost Frozen Fried Rice
To defrost frozen fried rice, take the entire package that you want to eat out of the freezer and place it on a plate. You have two options, the microwave or in a pan on the stovetop.
In the microwave, put your frozen fried rice in a microwave-safe dish and heat it at high power for 2 minutes, if the rice seems dry add a little bit of water and heat at intervals of 1 minute till it gets warm through and through. Using the microwave could make your rice soft and mushy.
On the stovetop in a pan, just pour in your rice under medium heat and keep stirring it till it gets warmed through and through. If the rice gets too dry, you can add sauce or water.
When reheating your frozen rice, if you want it soft, add water but if you like it crisp, don’t add water, or just add a bit so it doesn’t burn.
How to Recognize Spoiled Fried Rice
There are telling signs when your fried rice has gone bad, take a sniff and get a feel of the food. Spoiled fried rice would give off an offensive odor and would have a slimy and mushy texture. If you however miss the odor and texture, spoiled fried rice would have a sour and bland taste.
That should be enough to help you decide to throw it out. Spoiled food is unhealthy and could expose the human body to some risks like food poisoning.