My earliest memories of Yangzhou Fried Rice came from the many Chinese banquets I attended while I was in Malaysia. Yangzhou Fried Rice would always be served towards the end of the multi-course banquet, usually as the 7th course, right before the dessert. By the time it was served, most guests would be quite stuffed and usually, they would not even touch it. I loved Yangzhou Fried Rice, especially the diced ham—they were like little treasures buried in the rice. I would be picking them out and savoring them, without having to fight the other guests for a healthy share of this rice dish. If you don’t like ham, you can make Yangzhou Fried Rice with diced Cantonese BBQ Pork (page 81), a common variation of this classic Chinese recipe.
Serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as part of a multi-course meal
- 3 cups (500 g) overnight steamed white rice
- 21/2 tablespoons oil
- 3 large eggs, beaten and seasoned with a pinch of salt
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 oz (150 g) ham, diced
- 1/2 cup (80 g) store-bought frozen peas and carrots
- Salt, to taste
- 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 11/2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
- 3 dashes white pepper
- Gently break up the lumpy overnight rice with the back of a spoon or fork.
- Mix all the ingredients for the Seasonings in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Gently pour in the beaten eggs and fry until it just starts to set, about 1 minute. Flip the egg over and continue to fry until it’s set. Use the spatula to break the eggs into small pieces. Dish out and set aside.
- Reheat the wok or skillet over high heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the minced garlic, stir-fry until they become light brown in color or aromatic.
- Add the ham and stir-fry until the surface is slightly charred, and then add the frozen peas and carrots. Stir quickly to combine the ingredients, about 10 seconds. Spoon the rice into the wok or skillet and combine everything evenly with the spatula.
- Stir in the Seasonings, blending it well with the rice. Return the cooked eggs to the wok or skillet, stir to combine with the rice. Keep stirring the fried rice until slightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Add salt to taste, dish out and serve immediately.
COOK’S NOTE: There are many variations of Yangzhou Fried Rice. Cantonese cooks use Cantonese BBQ Pork in place of ham. You can also use frozen peas solely for this dish instead of frozen peas and carrots.
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