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Yangchow Fried Rice

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Serves 2 to 3 as a main dish with rice or 4 as part of a multicourse meal

  • by from Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge

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.

  • 2 Tbs. peanut or vegetable oil
  • 4 oz. small shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 cups cold cooked rice
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup 1/4-inch diced baked or boiled ham
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground white pepper

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

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