Chinese Special Fried Rice
Updated: Feb 20
I have to admit not being the hugest fan of plain boiled rice, I just find it a bit boring. even when it's accompanying nice spicy sauce or curry, it's not that I don't like the taste of the texture its just, well, meh! However, pack in a little flavour and make it the start of the show and I'm fully on board. Like most things in life, I just levitate toward the stuff that's a little less healthy and the best way to do that, is fry it.
I have grown to love Special Fried Rice but I know it's not because of the rice, it's because the rice works as a blank canvas and lets all the individual flavours you mix into it stay separate and a special fried rice has some really great flavours that can work on their own or even better together. I hope this recipe will show you what I mean.
Special Fried Rice is originally called Yeung Chow (or Yangzhou) and the ingredients tend to vary slightly by region, however, the most traditional ingredients are pretty much any combination of:
Protein - Egg, Prawn, Pork (Char Siu), Chicken
Vegetables - Spring Onion / Scallion, Carrots, Peas, Corn, Bamboo Shoots, Kai-Lan (Chinese Broccoli)
It is best made in a wok with day old rice as it has had more time to dry so fries instead of steams in the pan.
My recipe doesn't stray far from the original ingredients but I do add a little secret or two to make it my own:
1 cup of boiled Jasmine Rice
1 and a 1/2 cups of water
1 Small white onion finely chopped
2 Spring Onions / Scallions chopped
1 Handful of frozen Garden Peas
! garlic clove finely chopped
1 thick slice of Char Sui, Pork Lardo or Pancetta ( If you can't get any of those, some diced bacon will do) chopped into very small cubes
2 eggs beaten
2 tbsp Sesame Oil
Plain Cooking Oil - Vegetable / Sunflower / Avocado etc.
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine or Chinese Rice Wine Vinegar (In a pinch, white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar with a sprinkle of sugar can work)
2 tbsp Soy Sauce
I'm going to assume you don't have any day old rice hanging around so make it the day before if you can or if you're normal like me just make it a little while before you're ready to cook
Add the rice and water to a saucepan and put under a medium heat with a lid on and bring up to a boil
Continue to boil until the water has been soaked up by the rice and then turn off the heat and leave the lid on for a further 10 minutes
Remove the lid, fluff your rice with a fork and leave to cool
Put your wok under a medium heat add a splash of cooking oil and fry the onion (not the spring onion) until it's browned
Add the Peas, Pork and garlic and stir fry for 3-5 minutes or until the peas are defrosted and cooked
Add your cooled rice and continue to stir fry
Add the soy sauce, wine and sesame oil to the pan and continue to stir until all elements are suitably mixed together
Once the rice is really hot again, pour over the egg and quickly work it into the rice, the heat of the rice alone will cook it so don't worry about every grain of rice needing to touch the wok sides.
Pour into a serving bowl and sprinkle the Spring Onion on top
Tips & Tricks
Rice is notorious for sticking and burning in the wok, this is usually due to one of four reasons. Either the rice is to wet, you're wok needs seasoning with oil or you're not keeping it moving (stir fry).
Mix your soy sauce, cooking wine, and sesame oil before you start as once the rice is int he pan, there's no slowing down the process.
If you do own a wok, make sure it stays seasoned, there are lots of great YouTube videos on seasoning woks.
The onions are one of the stars of the show, you should fry them like you were frying onions for a burger or a hot-dog, you're trying to draw out the sweetness and add a little smoked note.
Try and cut all of the ingredients to the same size as the peas. By being uniform in size, they will take the same time to cook.
Be careful not to burn the garlic before you add the rice, otherwise the burnt acrid taste will work right through the finished dish.
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