This post is in partnership with Our Place. All opinions are my own.
I am over the moon to have my Mom, Thuy-Tien, join me on the blog today to share her authentic Vietnamese fried rice recipe! This is a dish I grew up eating and cooking with her on a regular basis. We kept the recipe pretty traditional here, but growing up, whatever leftover produce she had, she would just throw in! It’s a great way to combine a lot of healthy ingredients into a dish many people love to eat!
I know many of us are cooking much more than we ever have in the past. This will continue for the foreseeable future. I know Johnny and I aren’t exactly comfortable dining out in restaurants and even when we do get takeout, we are a little hesitant. I hope this post helps you in two ways: you get an easy recipe to try and an honest review of a new pan!
A few years ago, Johnny and I made the decision to get rid of all traditional nonstick cookware in our home because of how toxic the coating can be. We’ve really enjoyed testing out new nontoxic nonstick cookware and are excited to incorporate Our Place’s Always Pan into our kitchen. What’s cool about the Always Pan is it says it’s designed to replace eight traditional pieces of cookware: fry pan, saute pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula and spoon rest.
My Honest Review of the Always Pan
My first impression of the pan is it’s beautiful and has a modern design. You get the pan, a steam rack and a spatula all neatly packed inside. The diameter is 10″, so you get a total of 2.6 quarts capacity. I really appreciate how there is a slot for the spatula it comes with, so you don’t have to go looking for your cooking utensils. It comes in five beautiful colors and we chose Steam because it’s a good neutral for our kitchen! The spice color is a warm pink that’s feminine and trendy. I almost went for it, but took Johnny into consideration.
The nontoxic, nonstick ceramic coating doesn’t have toxic materials including PFOAs, PTFEs, lead, cadmium and toxic metals. It’s super slick and food really slides on the surface. I’m more accustomed to fried rice kind of “sticking” to the bottom of the pan and actually really enjoy the crisp edges. However, with the Always Pan, it really slips and slides, which makes cooking and clean up very easy. The pan is dishwasher safe, however, it’s so easy to clean we usually handwash it. It does come with a natural water-activated sponge you can use, but we use our regular dish brush for cleaning.
What the Always Pan is Good For
Our Place says the pan can replace eight pieces of traditional cookware. I think this is true for someone who may be more of a cooking novice, doesn’t have a lot of cookware or isn’t cooking up super elaborate dishes. However, that’s not to say it’s not super versatile. I really appreciate how it’s deeper than a traditional pan. The sides are almost 3″ tall so you can put sauces in the pan without worrying about it spilling out. I can picture us making curries, risottos, frittatas and the like in this pan without a problem.
If you have a small kitchen without a lot of storage space or find yourself constantly wishing for one solid pan, I would highly recommend the Always Pan. It’s great for those who enjoy cooking regularly and aren’t super chefs. It’s also great for those who are older or don’t have a ton of arm strength. This pan was super easy for my Mom to use because of the aluminum body. It’s lightweight and she had no issues moving it around. She loves cast iron, but it’s getting a little hard for her to lift, especially with food in it.
Another big perk to the always pan is the handle doesn’t get hot. However, the triangular portion connecting the handle to the pan does get hot, so be careful!
A Few Drawbacks
The Always Pan is unfortunately not oven-safe. This immediately means we can’t make steaks in it. Johnny loves to start a steak in the oven, then finish it on the burner. While this is a deeper pan, it will not replace a dutch oven, which we have really grown to love.
In my opinion, the Always Pan is a great addition to your kitchen if you’re looking to upgrade your nonstick pan. It’s beautiful, lightweight, super versatile and I love how it comes with a steam rack. Huge win in my book! You can get a dinner-for-four set, which includes the pan, plates and glasses for $250, which is a good deal.
Authentic Vietnamese Vegetarian Fried Rice
Before we jump into how to make my Mom’s fried rice, I want to mention a few things. Getting my Mom to write down a recipe is hard. Like most traditional Asian Moms, she guestimates and eyeballs a lot of things when it comes to cooking. It’s actually quite incredible because she cooks by taste, but it makes passing things down a little hard, ha!
We decided to make this a vegetarian recipe since my family leans toward eating vegetarian mostly. Eating vegetarian food doesn’t mean it has to be bland! This dish has lots of flavor and color!
The full recipe with instructions is at the end of this post. I wanted to walk y’all through a few things with pictures!
Fry the Eggs First
I highly recommend frying your egg first. This helps reduce any sogginess in your finished product. When I’m super duper lazy, I’ll crack the eggs into the Vietnamese fried rice when it’s almost done. However, the best method is frying it first, slicing it and adding to the fried rice when it’s almost complete.
Use Two Hands
When cooking Vietnamese fried rice, it’s imperative you use two hands to mix everything together. We used the spatula that came with our Always Pan and a pair of chopsticks. When you only use one hand, sometimes things can slip out of the pot and it’s harder to thoroughly mix everything.
Cheat with Frozen Vegetables
My Mom was a working woman. She was a psychology and sociology professor and looking back, sometimes I have no idea how she was able to always make us dinner almost every single night and be part of our lives. Our place always had a home-cooked meal. One of her biggest Vietnamese fried rice hacks is to use frozen vegetables. This severely cuts down on your prep time. Buy the bag with corn, peas, carrots and green beans so all you have to do is prep the mushrooms, onion and garlic.
Vietnamese Vegetarian Fried Rice
- Rice Cooker
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 4 eggs
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 5 sliced mushrooms
- 4 cups cooked rice rub to separate grains
- 1 bag frozen vegetables
- 3 pieces chopped fried tofu
- 1/3 cup chopped basil
- Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a medium-high pan, let it come to temperature.
- Add 1/4 cup of chopped onion and saute for a 2 mins until the edges start browning
- Whisk eggs together. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can add scallions if you'd like.
- Add eggs to pan and cook like you would an omelet. Don't scramble, usually takes about two minutes. Once cooked, transfer to a plate.
- Add the remaining oil to pan, let it come to temperature. Add the rest of the onion and saute. When it starts browning add the minced garlic.
- Add sliced mushrooms and saute for two minutes.
- Turn heat up to high and add cooked rice. Stir-fry until it's thoroughly heated. You can use a spatula and chopsticks (essentially you want two hands to mix everything together).
- Lower the heat to medium-high and add in the frozen vegetables. Once combined add in fried tofu.
- Slice the egg thinly and add to the pan. You can add butter if you'd like, but not necessary. It's just for added flavor.
- Turn off the heat and add chopped basil to garnish. Enjoy!
More about our kitchen & finishes on this blog post.