Yangchow fried rice is one of the classic dishes served at a Chinese banquet, customarily toward the end of the meal. The dish originated in eastern China, in Yangchow, but it is popular throughout China. It is lightly seasoned and deliberately does not have any soy sauce so that the rice grains remain white. Yangchow fried rice is prized for its clean and fresh flavors. The Cantonese make this rice with Chinese Barbecued Pork, in place of the ham.
Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in 1 Tbs. of the oil, add the shrimp, then, using a metal spatula, stir-fry 1 minute or until the shrimp just turn orange but are not cooked through. Swirl in the remaining 1 Tbs. oil, add the rice and peas, and stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes, breaking up the rice with the spatula until it is heated through. Add the ham and scallions, sprinkle on the salt and pepper, and stir-fry 1 minute or until the shrimp are cooked and the mixture is well combined.
Photo: Steven Mark Needham