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.

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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.

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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.

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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 by 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 and 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.

Chicken Stir-Fry

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Any Game of Thrones Fans out there?

I  certainly hope so. It’s an AWESOME show. If you haven’t seen it, then you’re just really missing out. Whenever I’m asked by non GoT fans what it’s about, I’d say that it’s basically a medieval series with dragons and a whole lot of drama. A bunch of people are trying to sit on a throne of a kingdom and the schemes and plans by which they all attempt to do so really resembles a dark kind of game. That’s a really watered down version of a summary of course, but I would’t want to give anything away to any of you out there that still may be on the fence of checking it out or not.

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Just in case you needed that extra push to getting around to it, then here it is, direct from me to you: watch the show. The hype is not just a hype. It’s real. It’s justified. Jess from Cooking is My Sport said so.

So what does GoT have to do with this post? Well, not much to be honest. The truth is that last night when I was watching the long-awaited season 4 premiere, it suddenly occurred to me that I had wanted to do a GoT themed recipe series for the blog, ideally the week before the return of the show. Obviously, that’s not gonna happen anymore. I lost track of time. I forgot about that goal. Whatever. However, that’s not necessarily going to completely kill the idea. I think I still want to try to do a GoT-week on CIMS. Maybe I’ll make it so that I post a recipe dedicated to the show every Sunday until the season finale. Ambitious, maybe, but I think still pretty cool The next step will just be to get together a recipe collection. You guys can feel free to give me suggestions as to what foods you’d like to see that remind you of the show, I’m feeling pretty open to anything.

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Anyway, back to today’s post. I was at the store grocery shopping with my mom and she said she wanted stir-fry for dinner.  It’s not too difficult a request, so I gave it a go. Stir-fry’s really one of those easy dishes that don’t take a huge amount of effort, but yield results that are out of this world, provided you can get your seasonings right. (Of course,) I went with chicken as the protein and threw in some other stuff as well.  paired it with these DELICIOUS Sesame Glazed Sweet Potatoes, and it made an awesome meal.

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I’ve noticed that I keep posting a lot of Asian-themed cuisine on the blog. That’s kinda interesting to me, as Asian isn’t even my favorite ethnic cuisine- (it’s Lebanese/Middle-Eastern just in case you were curious). However, I’ll run with it. I think the results are coming out okay, don’t you?

Don’t forget to leave me your GoT menu suggestions: the more I think about it, the more determined I am to do this. I think it’ll be really fun 😉

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Chicken Stir-Fry

Recipe Adapted from Pat and Gina Neely

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION 

Ingredients

  •  2 tablespoons soy sauce
  •  1 tablespoon orange juice
  •  1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  •  1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  •  1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  •  1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  •  1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more if desired
  •  1 tablespoon peanut oil, plus more as needed
  •  1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  •  2 tablespoons peeled and chopped fresh ginger
  •  4 cloves garlic, minced
  •  4 green onions, sliced
  • 4 cups broccoli florets, pre-cooked

Directions

  1.  In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, orange juice, light brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, cornstarch, sesame oil and red pepper flakes. Reserve.
  2.  Set a wok over medium-high heat and coat with 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil. When the oil shimmers, add about half of the chicken thigh pieces. Stir-fry until the chicken is fully cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat the process with the remaining chicken thighs.
  3.  Add enough peanut oil to the hot wok to coat the bottom. Add the ginger, garlic and green onions and stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4.  Add the chicken back to the wok along with the broccoli florets and stir to warm through.
  5. Pour in the reserved sauce and stir until the sauce is thickened and bubbly, about 45 seconds. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with rice.

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Baked Egg Rolls

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Guys! I just realized that this is my 50th post for Cooking Is My Sport. 5…0…

I know what you’re thinking- who cares, Jess? And you’re right, it’s not the ‘biggest’ deal in the world. But the blog momma in me can’t help but get a least a little emotional when thinking about it. I’ve enjoyed making every single dish and writing every single post that I’ve put up on this blog. It’s truly a labor of love, and I can’t wait for the day where I’ll be posting my ‘100th’ blog post. So here’s to that.

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Okay. Moving onto the really important stuff. I think that most of us have a love-hate relationship with Chinese takeout food. On one hand, we love it because a): Nine times out of ten, it tastes great. b) You usually get a whole lot of food that makes good next day leftovers, and c) You can pretty much find it anywhere. On the other hand we may also hate it because a) It’s loaded with sodium and MSG. b) It’s not exactly low calorie food and c) You maaaay not know exactly what the ‘ingredients’ are in the food that you’re buying. (You know what I mean).

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I’ve made these eggs rolls for my family quite a few times now, and they’re always a big hit. I’m also gonna go ahead and blow my own horn here and say that these are just as good as takeout egg rolls- even though they’re baked and not fried. Seriously. This particular batch that you see in the pictures happens to be looong gone. I didn’t get any. But I got great feedback that they were delicious. There’s a silver lining for every cloud, right?

Don’t be intimidated by the thought of making egg rolls. It’s not a big deal at all, not even where the rolling part is concerned. Even if you slightly overfill your wrappers (as I am prone to do because me and my family all like big egg rolls) it’s okay, because these are double wrapped. I HIGHLY recommend this, as it makes for a thicker, crispy golden shell and also makes the rolls more durable and easier to happen. The coating from the cooking spray also helps, so don’t leave that part out. This recipe makes two half sheet pans,  so I rotated the pans halfway through baking in addition to flipping them so that they were browned and crisp on both sides.

These would go great with my Low Carb Lo Mein Noodles– it makes for a Chinese takeout meal that’s just as delicious as it is healthy.

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Baked Egg Rolls

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Ground Turkey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 16 oz bagged cabbage slaw
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 2 (1lb) packages of egg roll wrappers
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a large skillet, brown ground turkey over medium-high heat.  Drain browned meat and set aside in a large bowl.

3. Place cabbage slaw and green onion in skillet and cook down until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic clove and cook, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and mix in large bowl with ground turkey.

4. In a separate small bowl, combine soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil and ground ginger. Pour over ground turkey and cabbage slaw and stir to thoroughly combine. Let mixture cool.

5. Fill a small bowl with water. Use a damp kitchen towel to place over the open egg roll package to keep the other wrappers moist as you go.

6. Dip your fingertips into the bowl of water and moisten all four edges of the egg roll wrapper. Use around 2-3 tablespoons for each egg roll wrapper (depending upon how well your ‘wrapping skills’ are.) To assemble egg rolls: Fold bottom corner over filling, then fold in side corners. roll up wrap tightly to enclose filling, sealing roll with top flap. Make sure that you moisten every seam of the rolls with water and press them together until they ‘stick’. Double wrap the egg rolls to ensure that they bake crispy and are more sturdy.

7.  Place completed egg rolls on the pans. Spray both sides of the rolls with non-stick cooking spray. Bake until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes, flipping egg rolls half way through to ensure even browning.

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