Cast Iron Bacon Fried Rice
Fried rice is a great way to make use of leftovers and a staple dish in every Asian household. There are so many different varieties: the Korean Kimchi fried rice, the after-Thanksgiving turkey fried rice, or just the basic vegetarian egg fried rice with carrots and peas. So in this post, I thought I’d give it a southern flair by adding bacon, frying the rice in the bacon fat, and cooking the entire thing in a cast iron pan to give the rice a crunchy crust at the bottom—almost like hot stone bibimbap.
The idea of bacon fried rice partially came from this YouTube video (which I highly recommend watching): The Untold Story Of America's Southern Chinese, which explores lives of Chinese-Americans living in the Mississippi Delta. The video goes over how they made a living in the Southeast by opening up grocery stores, and delves into the food they ate. Bacon fried rice was one of their signature dishes. Absolutely genius.
You’ll need: 2 scallions, 1 cup of peas + chopped carrots, 4 strips of bacon, 4-6 cloves of garlic, 1 tbsp ketchup, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp oyster sauce, 1 tbsp butter, 2 1/2 cups of leftover cooked rice (preferably cold, straight out of the refrigerator), 2 eggs, vegetable or canola oil, salt & pepper to taste, and sesame seeds and paprika for garnish. Feel free to replace the vegetables with whatever you have left over in the fridge. Fried rice is a great canvas to get creative with.
Now, you might think I’m crazy by adding ketchup, but it’s a very common ingredient to add to your fried rice in Asian households. It’s very common amongst me and my other Asian friends to eat eggs with ketchup, and you can also see this combination in Chinese dishes like Stir-fried tomato and scrambled eggs (番茄炒蛋).
Cooking with a cast iron skillet might seem a bit scary, but you just have to make sure that it’s well taken care of and seasoned properly. Here’s a super helpful video by Tasty that explains how to clean, dry, and season your skillet. Cast iron might take a few extra steps to clean after, but it’s also very versatile in cooking all sorts of dishes (steak, dutch pancake, pizzas, chicken pot pie… just to name a few) with its advantage of starting something on the stove and finishing it up in the oven.
Cast Iron Bacon Fried Rice
Ingredients (serves 2 people)
- 2 ½ cups of cooked rice*
- 4 strips of bacon**
- 2 eggs***
- 2 scallions
- 4-6 cloves of garlic
- 1 cup of peas and chopped carrots
- 1 tbsp ketchup
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- ½ tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp butter
- vegetable or canola oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- sesame seeds and paprika for garnish
* Leftover rice that has been refrigerated (cold and hard) will work best for fried rice. Warm rice straight out of the rice cooker could become mushy in the pan.
** I used a thick-cut uncured style of bacon.
** I use Pete and Gerry's organic free range eggs for their orange yolks.
Takes , Makes 2 servings.
- Chop the scallions into small pieces on a bias. Set aside a portion of the greener ends for garnish at the very end. Mince the cloves of garlic finely.
- Slice the bacon into small quarter-inch pieces.
- Fry up the 2 eggs and set them aside to garnish the finished fried rice later.
- Fry the bacon in a heated cast iron pan and allow it to render its fat. If it doesn't release a lot of fat, you can add extra oil to the pan. Remove the bacon and drain them on a paper towel, leaving the rendered fat behind in the pan.
- Stir fry the peas and carrots in the bacon fat, then add the garlic, stirring constantly to prevent it from burning. Keep the heat on high and add rice to the pan, breaking up the rice and coating it with bacon fat. Keep in mind that in this case, it's okay if the rice sticks to the bottom of the pan. This will create a hot stone bibimbap-style crust.
- Add the ketchup, soy sauce, and oyster sauce to the pan, and incorporate them well into the rice. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed after tasting (note that there will be some saltiness coming from the bacon, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and ketchup already).
- Fold the cooked bacon back in, and wilt the white ends of the scallions into the rice. Turn the heat off, and melt the butter into the rice.
- Add the fried eggs on top of the fried rice and garnish with scallions, black and white sesame seeds, and paprika if desired.
- Serve in the pan while its still hot, ensuring that the pan doesn't stay on the stove for too long for the bottom crust to become burnt.