It’s no secret that fried rice is one of the most popular Chinese dishes.
It’s well-known for its bold flavors and taste, but not many people know what exactly goes into making it.
Fried rice is a dish that contains rice that has been stir-fried in a wok or frying pan, usually with other ingredients such as eggs, vegetables, and meat.
It’s a staple of Chinese cooking and is served throughout many Asian countries.
There are several variations in the basic technique of making fried rice, but the general concept remains the same.
The flavor of fried rice is a combination of usually soy sauce, ginger, and garlic.
It has an intense flavor that develops as it cooks on high heat and takes on wok hei (essentially the smoky taste from cooking over an open flame).
This bold flavor makes it easy to pair with simple dishes like spring rolls, spare ribs, or dumplings.
Or you can go fancy and pair your fried rice with a more expensive dish like lobster or filet mignon.
In this article, we’ll explore 8 of the best side dishes to serve with your fried rice.
The key is to prepare the side dish while the rice is cooking to be ready at once.
Try one of our suggestions, or experiment on your own.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes for Fried Rice?
Although making fried rice without any side dishes may be a quick and filling meal, it is not as well-rounded as it could be.
Removing the dish’s essence by leaving out important ingredients such as vegetables or proteins can result in a meal that doesn’t feel fulfilling enough.
Of course, this meal will likely still leave you satisfied – but how far does that take you?
Adding a plethora of vegetables to fried rice is very simple and slightly more time-consuming than cooking your rice, but it can make a world of difference.
Having a mix of cooked veggies in every bite makes for a fulfilling meal instead of simply taking down large quantities of pure fried rice.
It’s okay if the vegetables are slightly wilted – the overall flavor will be just as good.
Another aspect that is often overlooked with fried rice is protein.
If one were to fry some spices and vegetables in their leftover rice, they would still only have carbohydrates to keep them full.
By adding hunks of chicken, beef, shrimp, or tofu (to name a few), you can make your dish not only more flavorful but also provide yourself with a healthy and filling meal.
So the next time you cook some fried rice without any side dishes, consider adding vegetables or meat to your dish – it will benefit you in the long run.
What to Serve with Fried Rice? 8 BEST Side Dishes
Here are eight of the very best side dishes to serve with fried rice.
1 – Egg Drop Soup
The first on the list of best side dishes to serve with fried rice is egg drop soup.
Egg drop soup is a simple, classic dish that often accompanies fried rice in many Chinese restaurants.
It’s important not to overcook this dish because the broth should be hot but creamy – not watery.
The dish has a mild flavor and combines well with fried rice because it adds another layer of flavor without overpowering the taste.
2 – Steamed Vegetables
The next side dish is steamed vegetables.
If you keep your fridge stocked up with fresh veggies like carrots, broccoli, bok choy, and baby corn, these are particularly easy to make.
First, cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces.
Boil some water in a pot and add the chopped vegetables when it starts to boil.
Cover with a lid and let them cook for two minutes or until they soften slightly but are still crisp.
Remove from heat immediately, so they don’t overcook and lose their texture.
You can season your steamed vegetables with a bit of salt and pepper, but they also go well with other spice mixes like Cajun seasoning for additional flavor.
3 – Chicken Teriyaki
The third on the list of best side dishes to serve with fried rice is chicken teriyaki.
Teriyaki chicken is a popular dish that has been enjoyed for many years.
To prepare teriyaki chicken, first marinate thin slices of boneless and skinless chicken breast in a mixture of soy sauce, mirin cooking wine and sugar.
You can then grill or fry the chicken until it is browned on the outside and tender on the inside.
The dish is moist and goes well with fried rice because it also has that sweet and savory quality.
4 – Chinese Dumplings
If you care to spend more time on your side dishes, then you can serve Chinese dumplings as one of the best side dishes for fried rice.
There are many different Chinese dumplings, but potstickers are some of the most popular and easiest to make.
You can either purchase pre-made wrappers or make them yourself using flour and water.
These are often referred to as potstickers, pork dumplings, or steamed buns.
You can either buy them pre-made in the frozen section at any local grocery store or make your dough from scratch and prepare the filling yourself.
The dumplings are usually filled with a meat mixture of ground pork, garlic, ginger, various spices, and sometimes vegetables like leeks.
They’re then boiled in water or pan-fried until golden brown on the outside and soft on the insides.
5 – Pork Ribs Grilled with BBQ Sauce
If you are more of a carnivore, then you can serve pork ribs as one of your best side dishes for fried rice.
To prepare the dish, first season the ribs with salt and pepper or any other meat seasoning sauce of your choice.
You can then either grill them over charcoal or bake them in an oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit to seal in the juices.
BBQ sauce is then slathered over the ribs, which caramelizes when cooked and creates a smoky flavor.
This dish goes extremely well with fried rice because it adds more sweetness to the overall taste.
6 – Spicy Shrimp
Another one of the best side dishes to serve with fried rice is spicy shrimp.
This dish will add a bit of spiciness and savoriness to your meal because it is usually made from fresh shrimps that are either sautéed or simmered in a spicy chili sauce.
Freshly cooked shrimp taste delicious on their own, but they can also be dipped in a combination of soy sauce and wasabi.
It is important not to overcook shrimp because you want them to remain tender and juicy on the inside.
Spicy shrimp go well with fried rice because it adds another layer of flavor that contrasts perfectly with the bland fried rice base.
7 – Egg Rolls
Another dish that should be considered one of the best side dishes for fried rice is egg rolls.
These crispy and crunchy appetizers are a popular choice to serve at any Chinese restaurant, but why not make them yourself?
Egg rolls usually have a filling of ground pork, cabbage, carrots, onions, green onions, garlic, and ginger.
The ingredients are all either chopped or shredded, mixed, and seasoned with salt, pepper, soy sauce, and a touch of sesame oil.
The egg roll is then wrapped in an egg batter to create a light and crunchy exterior that contrasts perfectly with the soft filling inside.
They’re then fried in a pan over moderate heat for a few minutes on each side.
You can also make a dipping sauce by mixing soy sauce, chili oil, and vinegar if you want something a bit spicier to suit your taste buds.
8 – Sweet and Sour Pork
The final side dish is sweet and sour pork.
This is one of the most popular choices for people who order takeout or dine at a Chinese restaurant, but it can also be made at home easily.
You will need to prepare the breading for this dish by combining flour, salt, pepper, baking soda, and cornstarch with water in a medium-sized bowl.
Then, the pork cubes are dipped into the batter and deep-fried until golden brown on all sides.
The sauce combines soy sauce, ketchup, white vinegar, sugar, water, red food coloring (optional), and cornstarch in a pan over low heat.
The pork is then added to the sauce and simmered until it thickens.
You can garnish with green onions on top of your sweet and sour pork for an extra pop of color, but you can also serve it with fried rice without anything else since it already tastes delicious on its own.
In conclusion, Chinese food is extremely versatile and delicious because it has many different side dishes options.
Although fried rice is usually served alone, you can always mix things up by adding another dish to your meal.
Fried rice goes well with almost any side dish, making it one of the easiest meals to prepare that tastes amazing no matter what ingredients are used.
Each of these eight dishes can be served as a side for fried rice, but you can also make them all on their own to enjoy a tasty meal at any time of the day.