10 Reasons Why Nigerian Fried Rice Goes Sour Easily

nigerian fried rice

There’s nothing worse than spending the whole day preparing Nigerian Fried Rice for your guests only to serve it to them from a food warmer and get the shock of your life: that the Fried Rice has gone bad. How embarrassing! And another mystery is that this does not happen with Jollof Rice!

The following are reasons why Nigerian Fried Rice goes sour/bad easily.

1. The Fried Rice Ingredients

Fried Rice contains lots of ingredients that are very soft and moist such that no matter how you fry them even to the point of charring, the water content of these ingredients are still high. This will later speed up deterioration of the taste and the aroma of the Fried Rice. These ingredients include green/red bell pepper, sweet corn, green peas, green beans and onions. In addition, onions and green pepper have the aroma that those will make the Fried Rice taste good but will turn around and act as a catalyst and make the Fried Rice sour quicker.

nigerian fried rice ingredients

When you add seafood to your Fried Rice: prawns, shrimps, the seafood taste will also speed up the deterioration of the taste and flavour of the Fried Rice.

To avoid this, minimize the quantities of these problematic ingredients you add to Fried Rice. More on onions in number 3.

2. Excess starch in white rice

Any ingredient that acts as a thickener will make the meal go sour quickly. The starch content of the white rice we use to prepare fried Rice is quite high and will make the rice sticky. Sticky fried Rice equals Fried Rice that will go sour easily. To prevent this, I recommend that you precook the rice to remove excess starch. Click here to watch the video below for details. Even if you do not normally precook rice, it is very important that you do so when preparing Fried Rice.

3. Onions is Fried Rice’s Frenemy

I call onions a frenemy because while it adds a nice taste to the protein and the overall taste of the Fried Rice, the texture of onions and the aroma speeds of the deterioration of the taste and flavour of Fried Rice over time. To avoid this, cut the onions into big chunks and take them out or sieve the stock later. More on this in number 4 and in the video below.

4. If You Don’t Sieve the Stock/Broth

Because I want the onions to season the protein very well, I usually cut into small pieces rather than big chunks but afterwards, sieve the stock/broth to remove the mushy pieces of onions. Leaving these pieces of onions in the stock and cooking the Fried Rice with all that is one of the fastest ways for the meal to go sour. Watch the video below to see how mushy the pieces of onions look and you will agree that it’s a huge no-no in Fried Rice.

5. Overcooking the rice

When cooking the rice the second time, ensure that it is not overcooked. The rice should be done but not sticky. It’s nearly impossible to fry sticky rice very well and this will lead to sour rice later. To prevent this, use the same level of water technique as shown in the video below.

6. Not allowing the rice to cool down completely before frying

After cooking the rice the second time, it should be taken out of the hot pot and spread out in a tray to cool down completely before frying. Taking the rice from piping hot to frying is asking for trouble.

7. Not frying the rice and the ingredients very well

What a lot of people cook is mixed rice, where they fry all the ingredients together in one pot, add the rice and mix. That’s not fried rice because you will end up with soggy, raw ingredients, add the lots of manipulation that comes with all that stirring and you will get a pot of mess when you open that food warmer in the presence of your guests.

The rice and ingredients should be fried in batches. The size of each batch depends on the size of the frying pan. When cooking a very large quantity of Fried Rice use the caterers frying pan so you can increase the quantity of the batch while still giving every piece of ingredient and grain of rice a good fry.

8. Not frying the ingredients in the order of cooking times

Even while frying in batches, don’t add all the ingredients at once and fry, that would be cooking some of them. Fry the ingredients according to their cooking times from the toughest to the softest. See the video below for a demo.

9. Adding the Fried Rice directly into the food warmer while piping hot

When you are done with frying each batch, pour into a pot NOT directly into a food warmer. When you have fried enough quantity to fill one cooler (or when you are done frying for small quantities ofrice) you can then transfer to a food warmer. By that time, the rice would have the perfect temperature. When you add piping hot meal to a food warmer and cover immediately, the steam will speed up deterioration in taste and flavour.

10. Opening and Closing the Food Warmer Unnecessarily

Once you’ve closed a food warmer, do not open it again till you are ready to serve. Opening and closing the food warmer will not only reduce the temperature of the food, low enough for bacteria to thrive but the vapour that has settled on the cover of the food warmer will drop into the rice, again, sour taste and bad smell later.

Watch the video below to see all of the above in living colour.