Rinse rice very well till the water runs clear of starch. Soak rice in water for 30 mins. Drain and keep aside.
In a pot, bring water to a gentle boil with salt and 2 to 3 drops of toasted sesame oil.
Add the soaked and drained rice to the hot water.
On a low to medium to medium-high heat simmer rice without the lid.
When rice becomes al dente or just about cooked, remove the pot from the heat. Strain the rice in a colander or sieve.
You can also gently rinse cooked rice in water so that they stop cooking and don't stick to each other. Cover the cooked rice and set aside until the rice cools completely. You can even refrigerate rice with a covered lid for 30 minutes.
When the cooked rice is cooling, chop the veggies finely and keep aside.
Remember to chop the french beans very finely. They take more time to cook than other veggies. You can also blanch them first and then cook. Another option is to add the beans first and then add the other vegetables.
Making fried rice
Heat oil in a wok or a pan. First add the star anise and fry for a few seconds or until the oil becomes fragrant.
Add the garlic, ginger and sauté for some seconds. No need to brown the garlic.
Add the spring onions whites and sauté for about 2 minutes.
Then add finely chopped french beans.
Stir fry french beans for 2 to 3 minutes over medium to medium-high heat.
Add the remaining finely chopped veggies, including mushrooms and celery. Increase the heat to a high to thoroughly cook all of the vegetables.
You have to continuously toss and stir while frying so that the veggies are uniformly cooked and do not get burnt.
The vegetables have to be stir-fried, until they are almost cooked and yet retain their crunchiness and crispiness. Stir-frying vegetables on high heat takes about 4 to 6 minutes.
Add the soy sauce, salt and pepper. Stir quickly and add cooked and cooled rice. Stir fry for a few minutes until the sauce has coated the rice well. Keep a check when adding salt, as soy sauce already has salt in it.
Serve the fried rice hot as it is or with with your favorite Chinese side.
Though fried rice tastes great on its own, you can pair it with Veg Manchurian, Gobi Manchurian, Chilli Paneer, Spring Rolls or Chilli Mushroom. More side recipes for veg fried rice are linked and listed in the main post.
Storing fried rice
Vegetable fried rice stays good for a couple of a days. But I would recommend it to be eaten as soon as you can since many days old rice is not good for health.
Rice: Aged, long-grained, non-sticky white rice is the best to make fried rice. Here I have used basmati rice.
Veggies: You can add your favorite vegetables or mushrooms in a total quantity of 1.5 to 2 cups finely chopped mixed vegetables excluding mushrooms. You can vary the amount of each veggie as you like.
Protein: Include tofu, seitan, tempeh, or for a vegetarian option, add paneer.
Mushrooms: Swap button mushrooms for cremini or shiitake mushrooms. Skip if you do not have them.
Celery: Omit adding celery, if you do not have it.
Soy sauce: Preferably use naturally brewed soy sauce. For gluten-free fried rice, use tamari or Braggs liquid aminos.
Oils: Peanut, sunflower, avocado oil are good options as they have a high smoking point which suits stir-frying at high heat.
Cooking rice: Do not overcook the rice. You only want the rice to be al dente. Always drain and completely cool rice before adding it to the stir-fried vegetables. Wet or hot rice will end up being soggy.
Flavors and seasonings: Add a bit of tomato ketchup for a slightly sweet flavor. To make spicy fried rice, add some red chili sauce or green chili sauce along with the soy sauce.
Soggy and mushy rice: Drain your rice thoroughly. There shouldn’t be any water in them. Cooked rice has to be cooled completely before you begin stir-frying. Soft or overdone rice breaks when stir-frying and becomes mushy.
Reheating fried rice: I usually steam them in my Instant-pot for 5 minutes. Sometimes I also stir-fry them in a skillet sprinkling a few splashes of water, so that the rice grains do not dry out.