Done right, fried rice is an incredibly delicious, satisfying dish -- a bowl of flavorful, colorful, comfort food. Do it wrong and it's a gummy, brown mess. Ah, says chef Sharon Nahm, from San Francisco's chic E&O Asian Kitchen, there are a few simple tricks.

  • Chilling the rice is key -- and stashing the takeout container in the fridge doesn't count. Spread the cooked rice on a rimmed cookie sheet, then refrigerate it overnight, uncovered. "The rice grains should separate easily and be somewhat dry in texture," Nahm says. "When ready to use, run (your) fingers through the rice to break up any clumps so that the grains are separate."

  • Nahm makes her Indonesian fried rice with prawns and char siu pork. But any meat, seafood or vegetable will be good.

  • Use a wok or a nonstick pan that can take high heat. "Hot, hot, hot is how your cooking pan needs to be!" she says. "Rice and veggies tend to clump and stick when the pan is not hot enough."

    Indonesian Fried Rice

    Serves 2 generously

    2 tablespoons rice bran oil or another vegetable oil

    1 cup onions, diced small

    1/2 cup carrots, diced small

    1 cup Napa cabbage, diced small

    2 teaspoons garlic, minced

    1/4 pound prawns, peeled, deveined, cut in 1-inch pieces

    1/4 pound roasted char siu pork, thinly sliced

    1 1/2 cups cooked jasmine rice, chilled and dried

    2 eggs, lightly whisked, cooked omelet style, then cooled and diced

    2 teaspoons cilantro, chopped

    1/4 cup sauce (see recipe)

    1. Heat a large saute pan or wok on high heat, add oil and let it get very hot. When it starts to smoke, gently add onions; stir with a wooden spoon until golden and lightly charred on the edges.

    2. Add carrots; stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes. Add cabbage and garlic; stir 1 to 2 minutes. Add prawns and pork; continue to stir and toss until prawns are halfway cooked.

    3. Add rice and eggs. Mix well. Cook until shrimp are just done. Stir in sauce and cilantro. Serve immediately.

    Sauce

    2 tablespoons fish sauce

    2 tablespoons Sambal Oelek

    2 tablespoons sugar

    4 teaspoons salt

    Whisk all the sauce ingredients until sugar and salt are completely dissolved.

    -- Sharon Nahm, E&O Asian Kitchen