Yangzhou fried rice
In Hong Kong, the Cantonese call this classic yeung chow fried rice. Often served to mark the end of a banquet and also a great comfort food that can be whipped up in minutes, this fried rice is my go-to dish when friends drop by unexpectedly. It’s named after Yangzhou, a famous city in Jiangsu province. Cold cooked rice is ideal for this dish, preferably after being refrigerated overnight. Ideally, fried rice should have wok hei, the smoky fragrance that’s the hallmark of great Chinese cooking, created by cooking food quickly in a very hot wok. Heat is of vital importance for the best fried rice, so cook it in two batches if your wok is small.
- 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) cooked jasmine rice
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 100 g (3½ oz) peeled uncooked prawns, deveined
- and diced
- 2 free-range eggs, beaten
- 100 g (3½ oz) barbecued pork (char siu) or lap cheong sausage, diced
- 50 g (1¾ oz) peas, blanched
- 2 small spring onions (scallions), sliced into fine rings
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
Separate the cooked rice grains with a fork as much as possible. Set aside.
Heat a wok over high heat until just smoking. Add 1 tablespoon oil and, when hot, add the prawns and stir-fry until just cooked. Transfer to a plate.
Add 2 tablespoons oil to the wok and swirl to coat. Add the eggs and stir-fry until just set, then transfer to a plate.
Add the remaining oil and, when very hot, add the char siu and rice and stir-fry for 2–3 minutes, moving everything around to stop it sticking. Use a ladle or wok scoop to break up any lumps until the grains are well separated.
Add the peas and return the prawns and eggs to the wok, and stir-fry until the rice is very hot and fragrant. Add the spring onions, sesame oil and soy sauce and stir-fry for another 30 seconds or until everything is coated and coloured.
By now the rice grains should pop or jump. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Serve at once.