Ketchup Fried Rice

A terrific Asian one-bowl comfort food, this ketchup fried rice is the perfect way to serve up leftovers.

Ketchup Fried Rice

I lost my driver’s license a couple of weeks ago (on the day I passed the RD exam of all days). Note to self: Never store anything in the most unpractical place, a.k.a. the front pockets on women’s pants (minus jeans). I should’ve known it wasn’t going to be deep enough. I told the Hungryman that it must be a bad omen, and he said, “No. It would be if you had failed your exam AND lost your license.” Wow…I’m glad I didn’t have to live through that one.

In any case, I delayed going to the DPS with the hope that someone would find my card and mail it to me. “There are good people in this world, ya know,” I told the Hungryman confidently. However, a week passed, and driving around town without a license was starting to make me a bit antsy. Disappointed, I finally paid a visit to the DPS, all the while feeling angry that it hadn’t been returned. Honestly though, I had no one to blame but myself. I was the careless one.

Some days later, the Hungryman walked into the house after work and said, “There ARE good people in this world.” And I thought, “Oh you’ve got to be kidding me. Now?!? Did he/she have to take a million years to send it?” I felt no gratitude at that moment. Not even a little.

Once I had some time to soak it all in, I was overcome with shame, acknowledging that my egocentric self had once again reared its ugly head. Had I not gone to the DPS, I would’ve jumped up and down with joy, wishing I could kiss/hug the gracious person. So there I was reminding myself, yet again, the world does not revolve around me and my “perfect” timing.

So whoever you are, I truly thank you for going out of your way to return the license to me.

Ketchup Fried Rice

I’m also thankful for fried rice come a busy weeknight or lazy day when I just want to be one with the couch. Anything goes when it comes to this dish. It’s the perfect way to use up any leftovers in the fridge or pantry. Regardless of what you decide to add, cold, day-old rice is a MUST. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself with a pan of mush. If you end up making too much rice, simply portion it out into freezer-safe plastic bags and freeze. That way you can make fried rice whenever the desire calls.

For this version, I kept things very simple. And vegetarian. However, feel free to add whatever ingredients you have on hand. Just don’t go overboard with your veggies as too much can release excess moisture making the dish mushy. And, of course, don’t leave out the ketchup! You’ll appreciate the sweet and tangy elements that it adds to the dish. At the end, you can taste and squirt some more ketchup if you’d like. Be careful not to add too much as it can make the dish mushy. If you didn’t get the message by now, mushy = bad fried rice.

Ketchup Fried Rice

You can serve with some sriracha, sesame seeds, more green onion and cilantro, if you prefer. As you can see, we like our heat.

Ketchup Fried Rice
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ pack (14-ounce) firm tofu, drained and cut into bite-sized cubes
  • ¼ cup diced yellow onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups leftover rice
  • 3 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • ¾ cup diced zucchini
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon roasted crushed sesame seeds
  • Sriracha
  1. Heat a large pan or wok over medium-high heat and add 1 Tablespoon of oil. Fry garlic with a pinch of salt until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add tofu and cook until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan. Add eggs to the pan and cook without stirring for about a minute, or until egg is cooked; do not scramble. Break into small pieces. Remove from pan.
  2. Add 1 Tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add onion and zucchini, and sauté for about 2-4 minutes. Add rice, and cook until it gets a bit crispy. Add tofu, egg, ketchup, and soy sauce. Mix everything around until the rice fully absorbs the ketchup. Top with green onion, cilantro, sesame seeds. Squirt some sriracha on top if desired
Adapted from Chef Roy Choi

Calories 365; Total Fat 17g; Saturated fat 3g; Sodium 427mg; Total Carbs 39g; Protein 15g
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2-3

Lovely comments

    • says

      I know right? It’s the best feeling..I hate running to the store in the middle of the week. Yay! Can’t wait for you to try. You’ll have to let me know it turns out ;).

  1. says

    Glad you got your license returned to you. . and no worries. . we all have our moments. Love this fried rice! this is just the way my brother would eat it when we were little . . with ketchup. He put ketchup on everything! :) and love Roy Choi. . my brother from another motha 😛

    • says

      Yea…I def had my shameful moment :(. Us too! fried rice and omurice haha. Korean ketchup is a lot sweeter than the ones sold here, don’t you think? Have you met chef Roy in person before? I wouldn’t be surprised if you did ;). I’d be so star-struck.

  2. says

    This looks so amazing! I have never thought to add ketchup to fried rice but now I can’t understand why not. Delicious 😀 Also, I’m glad you got your license back and that some confidence in humanity could be restored!

  3. says

    I don’t know why but lately I just love anything Asian like this recipe, and it’s kind of freaking me out. 0_0 And so glad you got to experience someone’s kindness! Wouldn’t it be something if that person actually was reading this?

  4. donna mikasa says

    I’ve never thought of using ketchup in fried rice but it makes sense since we eat it with Sriracha. Must try this soon! And I’m glad you now have a “spare” driver’s license….just in case.

  5. says

    Wait what? You can FREEZE rice? Boy am I glad I dropped by. That’s going to be a huge. huge bonus in my kitchen. I make fried rice all the time but always wait for it to cool down or toss it in the fridge to cheat a little. I typically like to make sunny side up eggs with my fried rice to go with the ketchup. Mmm, yum!

    That story about your drivers license though made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. There ARE still good people in the world! :) Always great to hear these kind of chicken soup for the soul stories.

    • says

      Yes yes you certainly can! Just make sure to portion it out and date it – it’s good up to 1 month. Sunny side up eggs are always a great addition ;). I like hearing feel good stories as well..aww you just made me want to read the book.

  6. says

    Congratulations on passing the RD exam!!!!

    As for not feeling grateful, we all, ALL have days like that. Like seriously, ALL, if we’re honest with ourselves. I am glad you the driver’s license back! I once lost my wallet and it took about 3 months for the person to return it – and I’d got a new license by then. Arggh!

  7. says

    Well of COURSE this was the way it happened. Because the universe just has a sick sense of humor like that. But yay for fried rice! I can’t get behind ketchup, but I do love fried rice for using up leftovers.

    • says

      It sure does haha. Yea I can see why ketchup could be a turn off if you’ve never tried it..however, in Korea, ketchup is commonly added to various dishes like rice, noodles what have you. It takes me back to my childhood ;).

  8. says

    Great site! I love this recipe. I ate fried rice almost everyday when I was a student, it’s one of my go-to dishes! I’ll have to try it with ketchup next time :)

    • says

      Thank you so much, Sonali ;). I know it sounds strange, but ketchup really is a wonderful addition! Adds a nice sweet and tangy note.


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