This Chinese special fried rice recipe makes use of that leftover steamed rice you have in the fridge and that wonderful char siu pork you cooked yesterday. Fantastic and filling, it’s my go-to recipe when I’m looking for an easy one pot dish to make.
There always seems to be plenty of leftover steamed rice in our refrigerator. Whenever we use the rice cooker we seem to make a batch that’s big enough for two meals. But I know the real reason we always seem to have these leftovers is become they come in handy to whip up this classic Chinese special fried rice recipe.
The dish is sometimes called Yangzhou fried rice, because its provenance is the city of Yangzhou in Jiangsu province in China, which was one of the culinary hotbeds of Huaiyang cuisine.
The traditional version of this Chinese special fried rice dish includes cooked rice, char siu pork, shrimps, scallions, ‘scrambled’ eggs, peas, and carrots. Sea cucumber and crab meat were other additions.
Some recipes use lap cheong (or lap chong) instead of char siu pork. While Lara enjoys lap cheong, I find the sweetness of the sausages a little too much for me. Here in Siem Reap, lap cheong is widely available, however, Siem Reap sausage is my preferred option. The local Cambodian fried rice is actually quite similar to this Chinese special fried rice recipe, as are other versions across the region.
Growing up in Australia, fried rice was always served in those Cantonese ‘all you can eat’ restaurants that were in every city and town’s Chinatown, and at suburban Chinese restaurants around Australia. While this dish probably tastes just fine after sitting in a bain-marie for a few hours, it really shines when made fresh and steaming hot.
Chinese Special Fried Rice Recipe
My Chinese special fried rice recipe has been refined over the years. I like it a little darker than you’ll traditionally see in a Chinese restaurant and put in more dark soy than I used to. I’m all about the flavour. I don’t care about the green peas ‘popping’ with colour and the carrots looking like they’ve not absorbed any of the sauce.
I also like to keep the meat — in this case, char siu pork and the shrimps — in bigger pieces than most do, and reserving a few pieces of each for final presentation.
There are two ways of preparing the scrambled eggs for this dish. The classic version calls for the eggs to be scrambled first in a little oil in the wok until just set, and then set aside to be tossed through the final dish just before serving.
Another popular version has the eggs being added at the end of cooking and tossed through to cook the eggs. I prefer the first method as getting the timing right during cooking can be easy to get wrong.
I sometimes make a rolled omelette with the two eggs and then slice the omelette. It looks a little more attractive in the final dish.
Making sure you don’t have mushy rice or clumps of rice is key to making this dish correctly. While I always use rice from the day before, I make sure that it has reached room temperature before using it as cold rice tends to not break up properly and turns mushy. I always break apart the clumps of rice with my hands, using a little water if it’s too sticky.
If you are going to use freshly steamed rice, use less water during the cooking process and let it cool off. If the rice is hot when added to the wok, it will stick and once again turn to mush.
The idea is to get the individual grains of rice coated with the oil and then the sauce. Using the biggest wok you have is key to this. I use a 14 inch carbon steel wok for this dish. With a smaller wok I can’t get that separation of the grains.
Some recipes have the addition of Shaoxing wine and chicken stock. I find these unnecessary. The dish has more than enough flavour going on as it is.
When I make this Chinese special fried rice recipe, I nearly always add a fried egg with a soft yolk on top to each serving. We love mixing the egg yolk into the rice. For the photo (above), I didn’t as I wanted to show off the beautiful local shrimp we have here in Cambodia, as I think that this helps elevate this classic dish back to the status it deserves.
Chinese Special Fried Rice Recipe
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 2 spring onions chopped (reserve green parts for garnish)
- 1 tbsp chopped ginger
- 100 g Chinese roast pork finely chopped
- 100 g raw prawns shelled and deveined
- 50 g garden peas boiled and drained
- 50 g carrots finely diced
- 2 eggs beaten lightly
- 4 eggs fried
- 4 cups steamed Jasmine rice
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- Heat a wok until hot and add a little of the vegetable oil.
- Add the eggs and scramble. Remove from the wok just before fully set.
- Add a little more oil and then the ginger and the white parts of the spring onions. Stir-fry for 30 seconds and add the shrimp and the garlic.
- When the shrimps are cooked and start to colour, add in the Chinese roast pork and stir-fry for a minute.
- Add the peas and carrots and stir-fry for a minute.
- Add a little more oil and add the rice, mixing well, and stir-fry until all of the rice is coated in oil. Carefully break apart any clumps of rice with a spoon.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, and the scrambled eggs and mix well.
- Add the sesame oil and half the green parts of the spring onions and mix well.
- Serve in individual bowls, place the fried egg the rice and sprinkle the rest of the spring onions on top to garnish.
- Serve immediately.
Do let us know if you make this Chinese special fried rice recipe. I’d love to know how it turns out.