Yangzhou Fried Rice

Yangzhou Fried Rice1

So, I have this soft spot.

It’s pretty frequent that whenever I’m in a shopping center or a private small business or restaurant and I see that the workers/owners aren’t getting much business, I feel really bad and sympathetic towards them. Yes, even if they’re those people that set up the stands in the mall and try to accost you while you’re walking just to test/buy their product. I know that the retail/food industry business is cutthroat and very competitive. I know that it’s not my fault if they have slow business. I know that I’m not obligated to buy anything- and to be honest, I usually don’t. But it doesn’t keep me from empathizing with them either. They have to make a living like everyone else, and their ability to do so or not depends on whether or not they can convince complete strangers to open their wallets. It’s a real sticky, precarious situation when you think about it.

Yangzhou Fried Rice2

Why am I even talking about this? Well, when I was putting together this dish and this post, it made me think of this Asian restaurant that used to be in the food court of the local mall when I was still in grade school, years ago. I won’t say the name of the place, but it was independently owned by this couple that looked like they were in their mid-to upper 50’s. Every time I went to the mall, it just never seemed like anyone was buying anything from this place. The man and his wife would come in and out of the kitchen in the back, filling and emptying the dishes they had available, all the while looking at the passing shoppers as if wishing just a few of them to stop and buy something- anything- from their restaurant. If I can be completely honest, I’ll just go ahead and admit that there was a good reason that this place didn’t get much business. All of the ‘standard fare’ that you’d see in an American Chinese restaurant was on their menu, but the sad reality was that it wasn’t really well seasoned. Like, at all. Their recipes needed serious work.

I can still remember how sorry I felt for them, even as a little girl. And I wished I could’ve been able to tell that I really felt like they would’ve gotten more business if they changed up how they made their fried rice.

Yangzhou Fried Rice3

It’s just my personal opinion, but I do think that a good Chinese restaurant starts with how they make their fried rice. In my experience, if they make excellent fried rice, then chances are the rest of the menu is pretty spot on too. Because let me just say up front one thing that I’ve learned: all fried rice is NOT created equal. I’ve had some really good fried rice over the years, and then I’ve had some that was frankly, pretty terrible. It wasn’t until I decided to make some for myself that I realized how easy it is for fried rice to go wrong. And to be perfectly honest, there are a couple of Chinese restaurants I’ve been to that make fried rice that taste even better than this recipe. But nobody’s perfect, and I do have to say that I’m pleased with how it came out for my first time….er, maybe my second. Technically.

Yangzhou Fried Rice4

See, technically my first attempt didn’t turn out so well. I maaaaaaay have ruined the first batch of Jasmine rice that I made. The rice is supposed to be one day old, so I made the Jasmine rice the night before I wanted to make the fried rice. It was really late at night and I was in a hurry to get to bed, so long story short, I don’t think I let it cook long enough. There was too much moisture still in the rice by the next day so the grains stuck together. Have you ever tried to ‘stir-fry’ gummy rice? It doesn’t work very well. And turns out, it tastes pretty bad too.

As rotten luck would have it, that was all the fresh Jasmine rice I had. All that was left in my pantry was Minute rice that you steam in water in the microwave. So I was forced to call in the cavalry on this one, folks. It’s still rice, it just didn’t need that long to cook. You won’t hold it against me, will you? I mean, it turned out into a pretty yummy dish. And now, you guys know that this dish can me made with Minute Rice and still turn out pretty awesome. It’s all apart of Cooking is My Sport Quality Control, I swear.

I’ll be bringing this dish to this week’s Fiesta Friday #39, hosted by Angie@TheNoviceGardener and co-hosted this week byΒ Suzanne @apuginthekitchen and Sue @Birgerbird, See you there!

 

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Yangzhou Fried Rice

Recipe Courtesy of Ching-He Hunag

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and grated ginger
  • 1 medium carrot, cut in 1/4-inch dice
  • 4 ounces cooked Chinese pork (char siu) or ham, cut in 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 cups cooked jasmine rice, a day old
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 to 2 green onions, sliced on a diagonal, for garnish

Directions

1. For the fried rice: Heat a wok over high heat and add 1 tablespoon peanut oil. Add the eggs and scramble, then set aside on a plate.

2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil to the wok. Add the ginger and stir-fry for less than 1 minute. Then add the carrots andΒ stir-fry for 1 minute more.

3. Add the pork, and mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Then add the peas and cooked rice and toss together. Add the cooked egg back into the wok.

4. Season the mixture with the light soy sauce, salt and pepper. At the very end add the sesame oil, if using. Check the seasoning and adjust to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with green onions and serve immediately.

35 thoughts on “Yangzhou Fried Rice

  1. This rivals the most beautiful fried rice dishes I’ve seen at high end Chinese restaurants Jess! Love each and every one of your posts…following on Twitter now! πŸ˜‰

  2. Pingback: Fiesta Friday Birthday Edition (FF39) | The Novice Gardener

  3. Oh my gosh! You even make something simple like fried rice look mouthwatering.

    When I read what you wrote about that Chinese restaurant, I feel I can relate. Sometimes a restaurant isn’t doing well, and even though I’m definitely not a professional, I feel like if I could just tell them that they needed to tweak their recipe a little, or if they added just a tiny bit more food on the plate, or if they just took better pics for their menu… But I never do, because it just seems a little rude… And then… I try to avoid places that don’t have customers because it feels so awkward being the only customer in a restaurant. Anyways, thanks for sharing this dish with us at Fiesta Friday!

    • Thank you Andrea! Sometimes it’s the simplest things that come out really good.

      And YES to all your suggestions. Especially about adding more food to the plate and taking better pictures for the menu. These two things have made all the difference for me with certain restaurants.

  4. You are a very empathetic person. I know how you feel just wanting to make things better. I love Chinese food and tend to go to the same places where I know it’s good. A lot of them don’t make it. I do think Homemade can be delicious, and we skip all of the sodium often heavy in commercial Chinese food. Your fried rice looks delicious!

  5. Awww. I feel the same, Jess. I have a soft spot as well.
    Anyway, before we get more sad, I want to tell you that fried rice is one of my favorite things in the world. And this sounds so good. I agree that Chinese resto should have amazing fried rice. πŸ˜€

    • Thanks Jhuls-I think it all comes from my love of cooking. I know that the owners of struggling restaurants are trying their hardest to succeed at what they love to do and for it to not pan out really stirs my sympathy.

  6. I love your fried rice Jess, You are so right, they have to get this basic recipe right. I have tried making at home and can never quite get it right. Love how this sounds. Thank you so much for bringing to Angie’s birthday bash!

    • Thanks Suzanne, this is pretty fool proof, and that’s coming from someone who messed it up the first time lol I definitely think anyone came make this!

  7. Oh my gosh…I love this post. Like you, I always feel bad for those people who are peddling their wares in the food court…and if I saw those people looking up at passers by, just hoping that someone would stop, well…my heart would go out to them too. You’re such a sweet love.

    Now…if that couple would have been making this rice though… they would have had a line out the door! I remember seeing this on Facebook when you posted it… I shared it..and was just about to head over here to see what wondrous dish you’ve made yet again… and I’m guessing either my husband or Mike interrupted me, and then I never made it here. I suck.

    I’m so glad to be here now. I’m printing this recipe, and I’m going to try to make it this weekend. I always have these grand plans for the weekend… Friday night I always say I’m going to clean the house and do laundry…which would leave me Saturday to cook up a few things and photograph for the blog…but it never turns out that way! This recipe, however, is going to happen. and I’m going to eat the whole thing!! ❀

    Beautiful post. ❀

    • You do not, by any measure of the imagination suck. Quite the opposite.

      I hope you get to try it out, and enjoy it Prudy. Thanks for always being around. Don’t go anywhere, kay? πŸ™‚

  8. Delicious rice and lovely narrative (speaks volumes of “who” you are!). πŸ™‚ Happy to see you found success with this fried rice and thanks to you sharing the error from your first round…I now know what NOT to do! Thanks!

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