How to make healthy fried rice

Put an egg on it: Sesame fried (brown) rice with vegetables and fried egg.
Put an egg on it: Sesame fried (brown) rice with vegetables and fried egg. Photo: The Washington Post

This recipe turns a humble bowl of rice into a lip-smackingly tasty meal. It feels like an indulgence, but the dish is actually good for you.

The bowl is brimming with colourful vegetables - asparagus, peas and carrots - that are stir-fried with spring onions, ginger, garlic and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. The aroma gets your mouth watering the second those flavours hit the skillet. Then you add the rice and continue to cook until it is all warmed through.

This recipe calls for brown rice because it is the most accessible whole-grain variety, but black or red rice would also be delicious and make for an intriguing twist. Whatever type you choose, it is critical to start with cooked rice that has been well chilled, otherwise it can become gummy when stir-fried. Once the rice in the pan is hot you stir in savoury soy sauce, fragrant sesame oil and sesame seeds, then serve it heaped in bowls, each crowned with a just-fried egg.

Go easy on the oil and swap white rice for brown.
Go easy on the oil and swap white rice for brown.  Photo: Supplied

This is all done with a minimal amount of oil, so the dish is flavourful without being greasy, and ready in less than 20 minutes. Once you try it, I'll bet that the next time you cook a batch of rice, you will purposely make extra to ensure you can make this bowl again - and soon.

Ellie​ Krieger is a registered dietitian and author.

Sesame fried rice with spring vegetables and egg

4 servings


3 tablespoons peanut oil or canola oil

½ bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed, cut on the bias into 2cm pieces


1 cup shredded carrot

1 cup peas, fresh or frozen (not defrosted)

4 spring onions, thinly sliced, the dark-green part also thinly sliced and reserved for garnish

1 tablespoon peeled, freshly grated ginger root

2 large cloves garlic, minced

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

3½ cups very cold cooked brown rice

2½ to 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons toasted (white) sesame seeds

4 large eggs

Salt (optional)


Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a very large non-stick skillet or well-seasoned wok over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the asparagus and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften.

Add the carrots and peas; cook for 1 minute, then add the spring onion, ginger, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring, then add the rice; cook, stirring, until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in the soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds. Reduce the heat to low to keep warm as you cook the eggs.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Crack the eggs into the skillet; fry just until the whites are cooked but the yolks are still runny.

To serve, spoon the fried rice and vegetables into individual bowls. Place an egg on top of each portion. Garnish with spring onion greens and season lightly with salt, if desired.

The Washington Post