Dirty Lemon

It’s been quite a year for businesses in Paris. From the gilets jaunes movement, to the longest transit strike in French history, then a pandemic, they’ve had to tough a lot of things out. One of the troopers has been Dirty Lemon. After a major remodel of a space that formerly held a LED-lit sushi restaurant, I had a night out with friends – Jennifer,…

It’s been quite a year for businesses in Paris. From the gilets jaunes movement, to the longest transit strike in French history, then a pandemic, they’ve had to tough a lot of things out. One of the troopers has been Dirty Lemon. After a major remodel of a space that formerly held a LED-lit sushi restaurant, I had a night out with friends – Jennifer, Jane, and Forest – at Dirty Lemon, tasting and testing some of the cocktails on their menu. And even better, enjoying the food of cheffe/owner Ruba Khoury.

Ruba’s goal was to create a bar and space that was for everyone, but especially women-friendly, something she said was lacking in Paris. The name comes from a bad experience she had with a funky lemon she was served, and ate (with unfortunate results), at a cocktail bar in the Marais. But Ruba knows her stuff. She worked at such esteemed restaurants in Paris at Septime, Yam’Tcha, and Frenchie before creating the menu at Ibrik, which I loved, that reflected her Palestinean heritage and growing up in multicultural Dubai.

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Cucumber Mint Cooler

I was astonished when I was eating a sandwich at Mokoloco, which I can pretty confidently say makes the best sandwiches in the world. Okay, perhaps that’s a bit of hyperbole, but every sandwich I’ve had there has been spectacular. From the Cuban sandwich made with pulled pork, ham, pickled vegetables, spicy mustard, and griddled on house-made bread, to a Katsu Meatball “burger” served with…

I was astonished when I was eating a sandwich at Mokoloco, which I can pretty confidently say makes the best sandwiches in the world. Okay, perhaps that’s a bit of hyperbole, but every sandwich I’ve had there has been spectacular. From the Cuban sandwich made with pulled pork, ham, pickled vegetables, spicy mustard, and griddled on house-made bread, to a Katsu Meatball “burger” served with anchovy mayonnaise on a toasted brioche bun, it’s always a tough decision to decide which to have. The menu changes daily so you never really know what’s going to be on offer, but lately they’ve been doing an excellent Fattoush salad, the best I’ve ever had, which I guess I should be glad is a seasonal thing because I’d be in there every day they’re open, all year round.

The restaurant is owned by Moko Hirayama and Omar Koreitem, although calling Mokoloco a restaurant is a bit of a misnomer. (The couple owns the nearby Mokonuts, which became so popular that they created Mokloco sandwich bar to offer more casual fare.) It’s a sandwich bar in the best sense of the word, with the friendly staff making sandwiches and salads to order, handing them off to customers who either get them to go, or to enjoy perched on a stool in the sparse, modern space.

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Fried Rice (Takeout Style!)

Here’s how to make the very best fried rice: takeout style! Egg, veggies, garlic and ginger bring aromatic flavor to this homemade comfort food. What’s your favorite comfort food? Mac and cheese and pizza can do the trick, but here’s our ultimate: Fried Rice! There’s something about the chewy clumps of eggs and the savory ginger and soy-infused bites that feels positively life giving. Usually we make fried rice on the fly without a recipe. But after years of tinkering, we wanted to share our master method. Here’s how to make the very best fried rice: it tastes just like takeout from your favorite restaurant! Start with day old rice, if possible! The most basic adage for this classic recipe is: use day old rice. Why use day old rice for fried rice?  Freshly cooked rice has a lot of moisture. If you use fresh rice, it clumps together and turns out soggy. Day old rice dries out. When you cook it, the grains stay separate and form that signature texture. For the best fried rice, make it using leftovers (stored up to 5 days in the refrigerator) or boil a pot the night before. What if you don’t have day […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Here’s how to make the very best fried rice: takeout style! Egg, veggies, garlic and ginger bring aromatic flavor to this homemade comfort food.

Best Fried Rice

What’s your favorite comfort food? Mac and cheese and pizza can do the trick, but here’s our ultimate: Fried Rice! There’s something about the chewy clumps of eggs and the savory ginger and soy-infused bites that feels positively life giving. Usually we make fried rice on the fly without a recipe. But after years of tinkering, we wanted to share our master method. Here’s how to make the very best fried rice: it tastes just like takeout from your favorite restaurant!

Start with day old rice, if possible!

The most basic adage for this classic recipe is: use day old rice. Why use day old rice for fried rice? 

  • Freshly cooked rice has a lot of moisture. If you use fresh rice, it clumps together and turns out soggy.
  • Day old rice dries out. When you cook it, the grains stay separate and form that signature texture. For the best fried rice, make it using leftovers (stored up to 5 days in the refrigerator) or boil a pot the night before.
  • What if you don’t have day old rice? Keep reading for a shortcut…
How to make fried rice

No day old rice for fried rice? Here’s a trick!

Sometimes we don’t think ahead enough to have rice made up the night before. While that’s the primary path to fried rice, we’ve got a little shortcut. If you want to make fried rice the same day, here’s our shortcut.

  • Make the rice. Once it’s finished steaming, proceed to the next step.
  • Spread on a tray and freeze 15 minutes: Spread the freshly cooked rice onto a rimmed sheet pan or tray: you’ll notice lots of steam since it’s still hot. Place the tray in the freezer and freeze for about 15 to 20 minutes until the grains become cool to the touch. Some might even become frozen: that’s ok! They’ll heat right back up once they hit the pan.
Egg fried rice

Ingredients for the best fried rice

The very best fried rice, the kind that tastes like takeout, has very specific ingredients to get that signature flavor. Here are the ingredients for fried rice:

  • Rice: Medium or long grain rice is best, because short grain rice can become clumpy. Basmati rice is a nice option. You can use either white rice or brown rice.
  • Sesame oil: For cooking; use the standard variety, not toasted sesame oil.
  • Onion and garlic: These aromatic veggies form the base.
  • Fresh ginger: Very important for the very best flavor. Find fresh ginger root in the produce section in your grocery.
  • Carrots, peas, and green cabbage (optional): Carrots and peas are classic. Green cabbage is optional, but it adds a nice contrasting texture.
  • Eggs: Eggs are a must and add protein to make the recipe filling.
  • Soy sauce: Essential for the final flavoring.
  • Fish sauce (optional): It really amps the flavors to the next level, if you have it on hand. But it’s not necessary!

Fried rice variations

With a recipe as time-honored as this, there’s bound to be endless variations on the theme. Here are some of our favorite ways to change up fried rice, in order of preference:

  • Shrimp Fried Rice: Add sauteed shrimp to make an incredibly flavorful and filling main dish. Our family favorite!
  • Other Protein: Cook up some chicken, beef or pork to add to the mix.
  • Quinoa Fried Rice: Use quinoa instead of rice for a unique spin.
  • Three Onion Fried Rice: Use onions, shallots, and green onions to enhance the savory flavor.
  • Cauliflower Fried Rice: Go grain free! Use cauliflower rice in place of the standard whole grain.
Shrimp fried rice
Adding shrimp makes it a filling healthy dinner recipe

Make it a meal! What to serve with fried rice

Confession: in the past we’ve floundered when it comes to what to serve with egg fried rice. But take note: you’ve got to add some side dishes to make it a healthy meal. (Or make the shrimp version and it’s a full meal!) Here are some of our favorite sides to go with fried rice:

Homemade fried rice

Vegan fried rice variation!

Love eating plant based? The egg is integral to the texture: but we’ve got a substitute for you that makes vegan fried rice:

  • Make a tofu scramble! Go to Easy Tofu Scramble. Make sure to get the pieces fairly small so they’ll integrate into the texture like an egg would.
  • Make the fried rice without the egg, then stir in the tofu at the end.

This fried rice recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, see the notes in the recipe.

Print
Best Fried Rice

*Best* Fried Rice (Takeout Style!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Here’s how to make the very best fried rice: takeout style! Egg, veggies, garlic and ginger bring aromatic flavor to this homemade comfort food.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 yellow or white onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger (about 1 inch nub)
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 cups chopped green cabbage (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 4 eggs*
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 4 cups cooked rice, at least 1 day old (use How to Cook Rice or Instant Pot Rice), or use shortcut**
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons soy sauce (or liquid aminos)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
  • Green onion, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Mince the onion. Mince the garlic. Mince the ginger. Peel the carrots, then dice them. If using, chop the cabbage.
  2. In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil medium high. Saute the carrots and onion for 2 minutes. Add the cabbage, garlic and ginger and saute for 2 minutes. Stir in the rice, peas and salt for 1 minute.
  3. Push the rice to the side. Add 1 tablespoon more oil. Add the eggs and pinch of salt, and scramble them in for 1 to 2 minutes until cooked through.
  4. Add the soy sauce and fish sauce, if using. Taste and add additional soy sauce if necessary. Heat for a minute or two, stirring, until all rice is coated. Serve hot.

Notes

*For a vegan variation, make a Tofu Scramble first, keeping the pieces fairly small. Make the rice without the egg, then stir in the scrambled tofu in the last step. 

**Trick: If you don’t have day old rice, here’s a shortcut. Make the rice.  Then spread it onto a rimmed sheet pan and put it into the freezer. Freeze for about 15 to 20 minutes until the grains become cool to the touch. Some might even become frozen: that’s ok! They’ll heat right back up once they hit the pan.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stir Fried
  • Cuisine: Asian

Keywords: Fried Rice, Egg Fried Rice, How to Make Fried Rice

More rice recipes

There are so many tasty ways to eat rice! Here are some of our favorites:

  • Spanish Rice and Beans A pantry-staple sort of meal that works as a healthy vegan and vegetarian dinner or a hearty side.
  • Black Beans and Rice Long-grain rice is jumbled with black beans and green bell pepper, and seasoned with cumin, lime and cilantro.
  • Asparagus Risotto This flavor-packed risotto pairs creamy arborio rice with Parmesan and lemony roasted asparagus.
  • Easy Shrimp Paella A traditional Spanish dish that looks simply stunning.

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

France Comes out of Lockdown

Today Paris, and all of France, comes out of lockdown. The government has relaxed restrictions and you’ll no longer need an attestation (self-written consent form) to leave your home or apartment. The country has been divided into two zones, red and green, determining where the virus is spreading most rapidly. You can view the map here. (Paris is départment 75.) Restrictions vary by zone, but…

Today Paris, and all of France, comes out of lockdown. The government has relaxed restrictions and you’ll no longer need an attestation (self-written consent form) to leave your home or apartment. The country has been divided into two zones, red and green, determining where the virus is spreading most rapidly. You can view the map here. (Paris is départment 75.) Restrictions vary by zone, but here are some general guidelines, which are subject to change:

-Gatherings of up to 10 people will now be allowed.

-Schools are reopening, starting with elementary schools with reduced amounts of students (15) in each class, with a promise that classrooms will be regularly disinfected. A gradual increase in proposed to open junior and senior high schools, as the month progresses.

-Trains and public transit will gradually increase in service. Some métro stations will remain closed, however, and the RATP will operate at 75% of capacity. They are relying on a “civic duty and responsibility pact” with passengers to adhere to the rules. Seats will be blocked off in an effort to keep riders at a distance from each other. (The métro this morning was standing-room-only.) Workers in Paris will need to supply documentation from their employers in order to use public transportation to get to and from work.

[Note: Social distancing guidelines in France are to keep 1 meter (3 feet) apart from others. In the U.S., those guidelines are 2 meters (6 feet.)]

-Masks will be distributed to Navigo (transit pass) subscribers at certain métro stations. They will be required on public transit as well as in ride-shares like Uber and Kaptain. Pharmacies will receive a certain amount of reusable masks that can be handed out for free from May 11 to June 8 if you sign up at the Paris.fr website. Hand sanitizer will also be provided at public transit stations. The price of hand gel is regulated in France, but because masks vary by quality, design, and materials, there is no fixed price on them yet. French President Emmanuel Macron has been wearing a mask in public to encourage people to wear them as an act of civic duty and patriotic pride.

-Small museums will be allowed to open but larger museums, like the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay, will remain closed.

-Restaurants, cafés, and hotels will remain closed until at least June 2nd, when measures will be reviewed. However many restaurants and food-related businesses have started offering meals to-go. Most are putting that information on either their websites, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.

-Some shops will start opening today, at the owner’s discretion. Owners may limit the number of people in their shops at the same time and require purchases to be made by credit card. Food stores, supermarkets, and bakeries remain open. Outdoor markets are scheduled to reopen providing they take precautions regarding following proper hygiene procedures and social distancing recommendations. The city of Paris has launched a website where you can get items delivered to your home from some of the outdoor market vendors. The website is here.

-Depending on the region, and whether you are zone red or green, some parks (and perhaps beaches) may be open.

-The Health Minister announced that France now has the ability to test 700,000 people per week and said they will begin doing so. Testing will be overseen by the public health department.

-The borders of Europe still are closed to international travel and France is under a state of “Health Emergency” until July 24th. There’s been no indication or notice given when that will be lifted but the government is planning to release a reopening of tourism plan by the end of May. For updated information about tourism, I advise you to check with the embassy of your country for guidance if you have current or future travel plans.

Visit the official French government website with information on the coronavirus here.

France24 also has French news in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic. RFI is another multilingual news source in France.

The Tunnel Cocktail (from Cravan, Paris)

Note: Join me and Franck as he mixes up this Tunnel cocktail today on my IG Apéro Hour, live from…Cravan! Join us at 6pm CET, Noon ET, and 9am PT. Go to my Instagram profile at that time and click on my profile picture when there is a red circle around it, which means we are live. You can also watch us in replay on…

Note: Join me and Franck as he mixes up this Tunnel cocktail today on my IG Apéro Hour, live from…Cravan! Join us at 6pm CET, Noon ET, and 9am PT. Go to my Instagram profile at that time and click on my profile picture when there is a red circle around it, which means we are live. You can also watch us in replay on my IGTV channel. More information about how to tune in, and watch live, as well as in replay, here.

One of my favorite spots in Paris is Cravan. It’s not right in the middle of town, nor is it in the popular St. Germain area, or the trendy 10th or 11th arrondissements. But a few métro stops is all it takes to find yourself at one of the loveliest little outposts in the city.

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10 Things to Do With Kids in Paris

If you’ve gotten a response via email from someone else, it may have been from Emily, who has been helping me keep up with things on the blog, including all the newfangled tech stuff that eludes me. Emily is married, with children, and lives in Paris. Because I get a number of requests about kid-friendly activities in Paris, I asked her to offer up with…

If you’ve gotten a response via email from someone else, it may have been from Emily, who has been helping me keep up with things on the blog, including all the newfangled tech stuff that eludes me. Emily is married, with children, and lives in Paris. Because I get a number of requests about kid-friendly activities in Paris, I asked her to offer up with her 10 favorite things to do with kids in Paris, including bonus tips on dining out with the little ones.

-David


10 Fun Things to Do with Kids in Paris 

With an 11-year-old daughter and a new 6-month-old son, I was worried that I would have a hard time finding activities to suit the whole family.  Happily, while Parisiens have a reputation for indifference, they delight in babies. French people (almost) universally love babies, so they are welcome nearly everywhere in Paris. Below is a list of activities that we have enjoyed recently together as a family, and I hope you will enjoy them too.  

(Words to the wise: While Paris is baby-friendly, the city streets, sidewalks, and compact cafés aren’t always stroller friendly. When in doubt, check the website or call before you go.)

1. Jardin du Luxembourg

The Jardin du Luxembourg is a treasure, with so many things to discover.  At first glance there is the obvious: a newly renovated playground, swings, a carousel and the round pond where you can rent a classic model sailboat.  If you look a little closer you will find a theatre with a daily puppet show, balloon sellers, a fairy floss stand, pony rides and a place to feed ducks in the shade at La Fontaine Médicis. There are hidden beehives (the honey is exclusively sold one day per year), a pétanque terrain where you can watch older men battle it out daily and even a miniature statue of Liberty hidden in the greenery. You can also enjoy lunch outside while the kids explore at La Table du Luxembourg.

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