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Expat Fried Rice

When Kathy told her friend Ginny about this cookbook and the kind of dishes we planned to include, she immediately offered up her fried rice recipe. A single mom and news editor who worked and traveled in Asia for more than 20 years, she knows a thing or two about getting a fast, fuss-free meal on the table. She uses leftover meat or fish (salmon is a favorite)—but you can also start with raw and cook it in the pan before you add the rice. The thyme is an unusual addition that Ginny calls a delicious accidental discovery. What’s more, she felt compelled to clarify two things: It’s oyster sauce, not soy sauce, that belongs in fried rice (otherwise, it’s like a “salt lick”), and don’t just serve it for dinner; it makes a great weekend breakfast.
Course Dinner
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author katiemorford


  • 3 tablespoons canola oil or other vegetable oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cups cooked and cooled rice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups bite-size pieces cooked meat or fish
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach, 1 cup cooked small broccoli florets, or ½ cup frozen peas, thawed (see notes)
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs thyme
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce, plus extra, if needed


  1. In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil over high heat until it shimmers. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until they start to brown but are still crisp, about 1 minute. Add the rice and heat through, breaking up any chunks and mixing the grains with the oil and onions, about 2 minutes.
  2. Crack the eggs onto the rice and cook until almost set, stirring to break up the yolks and coat the rice, about 1 minute. Add the meat or fish and vegetables and heat through, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add the thyme and oyster sauce and cook for about 1 minute more, stirring often. Check the seasonings, adding salt or more oyster sauce if needed, then serve hot.

Recipe Notes

You can use different vegetables and/or scale up the amount used. For example, I made this with 2 cups of broccoli and 2 cups of baby kale.