Do you need a reliable, quick, and healthy fix for a weeknight meal? Have leftover vegetables in the fridge? Do you have to feed a few hungry kids (or a spouse)? Filled with ham, bacon, eggs, and shrimp, this easy-to-make savory fried rice is a meat-lovers dream and an answer to prayer on busy nights. Best of all, it uses the most basic seasonings found in everyone’s pantry. It is also my family’s go-to-after-Christmas meal to use up all the leftover ham.
This fried rice is a lighter version, unlike take-out fried rice that comes with an absurd amount of soy sauce. It stems from Yangzhou city in the Jiangsu Province in China and is often served at Cantonese restaurants with crab meat in Western nations. My family has traditionally used ham instead.
Furthermore, I have found that the peas and egg soak up the saltiness of the ham, which really flavors this dish. And if you don’t have a particular affinity for a specific ingredient, you can always sub it out for another. Replace the meats with tofu and other vegetables to turn it into a vegetarian dish. The possibilities are endless.
The key to a successful fried rice is preparing the ingredients beforehand and knowing the exact order to cook them. As with all stir-fries, they do not require much time, but they do require a speedy hand. Have everything ready at your disposal to make stir-frying easier and to prevent ingredients from getting burnt or overcooked.
Serve this as a main meal or pair it with some sides, so you won’t need to cook for days. Win win!
Yangzhou Fried Rice
- 1/4 lb cooked ham, diced and cubed
- 3 strips of bacon, sliced into bits (optional; use more ham if not using)
- 2 spring onions, sliced, green parts only
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 lb small shrimp, peeled, fresh or frozen
- 6 oz. frozen peas, about half a bag
- 2 tsp. Shaoxing wine, or white cooking wine
- 3 T. water or chicken stock
- 3 cups of cooked white rice - day old rice is recommended
- salt and pepper
- oil for stir-frying
In a small bowl, beat the egg and add 1/8 tsp each of salt and pepper.
Heat 2 T. oil in a wok over high heat. Add raw shrimp and stir-fry until the shrimp starts to turn pink. Next, add the ham, bacon, if using, and peas, and stir-fry for 1 minute. Pour in the the wine and water or chicken stock. Bring to a boil, and then season with salt to taste. Remove and set aside in a small bowl.
Rinse and dry the wok with a paper towel. Add 2 T. oil to the wok. Pour the egg mixture and stir-fry for 1 minute until the egg is halfway done. Incorporate the rice. Using a wooden spoon, mix the rice and eggs, while breaking up any large clumps. Stir-fry for 2 minutes or until the egg is done. Season with more salt and pepper.
Add the cooked shrimp mixture back in and mix well for another minute. Lastly, mix in the spring onions. Serve as a main dish or with other side dishes.
Proportions and types of meat can change depending on your own preferences.