I’ve never given the microwave much respect—around the house, I refer to it as the butter melter, since that’s mainly what I use it for. But since it broke a week ago, and I am under deadlines, I’ve noticed that heating up leftovers is much more of a production.
In some cases, this is a good thing. Have you ever made fried rice at home? Everyone should, because it is one of those things that is vastly better than about 95% of what you can get in a restaurant, and 99% better than takeout.
Most restaurant rice doesn’t really seem that fried at all—at best, it’s sort of a brownish color, to imply that it’s been fried, and at worst, it’s greasy and makes you wonder why you ate it when you’re done. But fried rice at home gets a toothsome texture—crispy in some bits, melt-in-the-mouth in others.
One caveat: I think you might need a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet for this. In my experience, nonstick pans never really sear anything or get anything crisp enough, and you could certainly use a regular pan, but you might have too much sticking rice and egg to scrape off the bottom. So proceed with caution.
Heat some oil in your skillet—get it nice and hot. Then toss in your rice. Mash it down to get rid of that takeout-container-block effect, and stir it up every once in a while—you want to give all the grains some time to sizzle.
Then, beat an egg in a cup. Scrape all the rice to the outsides of the pan, and slowly pour in the egg, scrambling it in the bare middle all the while. (Try not to let the uncooked egg migrate too far into the rice, because then it will coat the grains and you’ll lose that appealing chunk-of-egg phenomenon that you want. When it’s all scrambled, use the side of your spatula to sort of cut it into small pieces, then finally mix it in with the rice.
Finally, pour in a little soy sauce. Or, if you have leftover takeout, just pour that right in. As with all things, the more flavor you toss in there, the better—some minced garlic or matchsticked-ginger in with the soy sauce, some chopped onion or sautéed mushrooms before the rice goes in. You might even fix it for yourself when the microwave is working just fine.