Easy Island Fried Rice for a Crowd of 75
I developed this recipe because EVERY ONE loves Fried Rice and I desperately wanted Fried Rice for our Luaus. But neither you, nor I, nor any of my dear, long-suffering friends are interested in spending hours in front of a hot wok, cooking 20 or 30 batches of fried rice. Ain’t gonna happen. SO – I came up with this quick and easy version of Fried Rice. Is it the recipe I use when I’m fixing dinner for less than 20? Nope. Is it a darn good alternative for 100 – 400. Absolutely. In fact, I had enough compliments and recipe requests, that I’ve included a “Family Size” version as well. It’s one of the more popular side dishes at our luau.
I started with the rice. One of the absolute BEST ways to cook rice in a quantity is in the oven. It’s a fool-proof, hands off method that turns out perfect rice every time. The first time I tried it, I checked the rice about 15 minutes prior to the completion of the cooking time. It was still slightly crunchy – and with guests due soon I was freaked out (it does happen, I just try to never show it). But I steadfastly replaced the aluminum foil and said a small prayer. When I removed the rice from the oven 15 minutes later – it was perfect. It’s turned out perfect every time I’ve made it.
This is much easier than worrying about the rice overcooking and burning on the stovetop. Kept covered it easily retains its heat for up to 45 minutes. I’m officially in love.
You can make many versions of this: Cheesy Mexican Rice by adding cheese, oregano and green chilis or simple plain white rice by omitting any of the add-ins with this recipe. You can add some diced spam if you want to make it authentic Hawaiian. Like shrimp, chicken or pork? Go for it. As for the veggies, nothing’s easier than a frozen package of peas & carrots!
Cooking rice in this quantity makes it difficult to effectively mix in the soy sauce and other ingredients. Once cooked, it takes up most of the space in the large roasting pan.
The last time I served this, I was in a hurry and wasn’t able to easily, quickly and thoroughly mix in the soy sauce. I ended up serving a pan of “fried rice” with large unappetizing pockets of plain white rice. To add insult to injury, I had to transport the rice about 15 minutes to its final destination for serving. Because I was short on room, I stacked several large, heavy containers on top of the rice, which turned it a into a gummy block.
I can tell you the 200 teens were very excited with the prospect of fried rice as part of a Chinese dinner. They were less enthusiastic with my sub-par offering. Fortunately, they have been taught the importance of kindness…
To keep our reputations intact, I’ve found a very effective solution:
1. Simply pick up an extra aluminum roasting pan so that you have 2 total. Once the rice comes out of the oven, remove half of it to the second pan. Evenly divide the soy sauce, sesame oil, eggs and meat between the 2 pans. Toss to mix well. Simply take a couple forks or serving spoons and fluff it to break up any larger clumps. The rice should retain its temperature well, but you can always put it back in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes to re-heat if necessary.
2. If you’re transporting this rice after cooking it, make sure you don’t stack anything on it.
3. Fluff it right before serving. Since you have now divided the rice between 2 roasting pans, this gives you enough room in the pans to easily fluff it.
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A great side dish for your next luau, girl's camp, youth conference or family reunion. Makes 30 cups. Yields 75 servings of 2.75 ounces (the size of 1 large serving spoon).
- 12 cups white rice, long grain UNCOOKED - NOT minute or instant
- 2 white onions chopped
- 1 (16 ounce) bag frozen peas & carrots
- 4 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 quarts water
- 3 quarts chicken broth
- 8 large eggs
- 2 cups soy sauce
- 1/2 cup sesame oil
- 4 cups cooked ham diced – or 2 cans spam, diced
- 2 (20" x 13" x 3") disposable aluminum pans (this is a full-size steam table pan)
In a large stock-pot, combine water, broth and salt. Bring to a rolling boil.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350-degrees. Lightly spray a 20" x 13" x 3" roasting pan with cooking spray. Tear off a large sheet of aluminum foil large enough to easily cover the top of the roasting pan. Set aside.
Place 7 cups UNCOOKED rice, chopped onion, frozen carrots and peas and minced garlic in roasting pan, spread evenly. Set aside.
Once water and broth is boiling, carefully pour over rice and stir to mix thoroughly.
IMMEDIATELY cover tightly with aluminum foil. Press foil tightly around pan to ensure a tight seal around ALL the edges, crimping along edges. Carefully place the roasting pan in oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until rice is tender.
15 minutes before rice is done, in a medium sauté pan over medium heat, cook meat if including. When meat is browned and cooked, whisk eggs, add to pan and scramble eggs for several minutes.
When rice is done, remove from oven and remove foil. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, distributing evenly over rice. Add scrambled eggs and meat if including. Fluff with a large wooden spoon to mix in soy sauce and oil & serve.
Once the rice , remove from oven and remove foil. Place half of it in the second disposable aluminum roasting pan. Evenly divide the soy sauce, sesame oil, eggs and meat between the 2 pans. Toss to mix well. Simply take a couple forks or serving spoons and fluff it to break up any larger clumps. The rice should retain its temperature well during this process, but you can always put it back in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes to re-heat if necessary.
Can be kept warm in the oven, covered with foil, at 150 degrees or put in a covered slow cooker on LOW. Add a little water if necessary to keep from drying out.
Make sure to 'fluff' the rice immediately prior to serving.
It's important to select a roasting pan which holds 15 quarts to allow plenty of room for rice expansion. The 3 inch deep "full size" disposable steam pan enables the rice to cook more evenly.
Better than take out, you can add a taste of the Islands to this easy fried rice by including some diced Spam.
- 1 and 1/2 cups white rice
- 3 and 1/3 cups water
- 1 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil divided
- 1 white onion chopped
- 1/4 (16 ounce bag) frozen peas & carrots
- 2 cloves medium garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- salt to taste
- ground white pepper to taste
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cups cooked ham , diced - or
- 1/3 can spam , diced
In a large sauce pan, combine rice, water and butter. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand covered 5 minutes or until water is absorbed. Fluff with fork.
When ready to cook the fried rice, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat, add onions and cook until soft and translucent. Remove onions to a large bowl and set aside.
If using day-old rice, transfer rice to a medium bowl and break up with your hands into individual grains before proceeding. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in the large skillet or wok over high heat until smoking. Add half of rice and cook, stirring and tossing, until the rice is pale brown, toasted, and has a lightly chewy texture, about three minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the onions. Repeat with another 1 tablespoon oil and remaining rice.
Return all the rice and onions to the skillet or wok and press it up the sides, leaving a space in the middle. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the space. Add frozen peas and carrots, and garlic and cook, stirring gently, until lightly softened and fragrant, about 1 minute. Toss with rice to combine. Add soy sauce and sesame oil and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
Push rice to the side of the wok and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Break the eggs into the oil and season with a little salt. Use a spatula to scramble the eggs, breaking it up into small bits. Toss the egg and the rice together.
If including the optional ham or spam, add and continue to toss and stir until the rice grains are mostly separated and ham or spam is hot.
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