Yang Zhou Fried Rice is a classic popular Chinese-style fried rice characterized by its pale rice color adorned with colors coming from bits of meat, seafood like shrimp and crab meat, shiitake mushrooms, peas, carrots, and eggs. This will quickly become your favorite one-pan meal any day of the week !
Yang Zhou fried rice was something that I learned of when I was still in middle school. Yang Zhou fried rice or often called Yang Zhou chao fan is said to be originated in China…dated all the way back to the Qing dynasty. Wow..that is a long time! Contrary to the name Yang Zhou chao fan, this Yang Zhou fried rice is said not to be originated from Yang Zhou, though there are arguments about this and it remains unclear.
And how did I come to know about this dish ? It was from my brother who were studying in Australia decades ago. He came home for a visit and he told my mom about this fried rice that he loved..loved..so much (still does I believe!). He said Yang Zhou fried rice was being served in almost every Chinese restaurant in Sydney. His description was “the fried rice is pale in color, but it has some colors from the peas, carrots, char siu, eggs and prawns (Chinese-style barbecued pork). So, based on this, my mom whipped up Yang Zhou fried rice and it indeed hit the spot for him and everyone of us.
Now, of course Yang Zhou fried rice isn’t only served in China and Australia, it is a world-wide phenomenon. That’s how popular it is. If you ask me, so, what’s the difference with all the other fried rice dishes you’ve made ? Well, the method of cooking the fried rice is pretty much the same. The best fried rice is made by using day-old cooked rice. What varies are the other ingredients you put in there. For Yang Zhou fried rice, I’d say the Chinese barbecued pork/char siu, shrimp, crab meat, green peas are what makes it well..Yang Zhou fried rice. You can put in other ingredients you like too in Yang Zhou fried rice, however, I’d keep the Chinese barbecued pork, the peas, the carrots and the shrimp as the basic elements for this type of fried rice.
When I had this the other day, it just brought me back to those days when I always so looked forward to my brother coming back for a visit every year 🙂
Yang Zhou Fried Rice
- 4 Tbsp of cooking oil (divided)
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 shiitake mushrooms (soaked in warm water until plump up and cut into small pieces)
- 6-8 large prawns (cut into small pieces)
- 8 oz of crab meat lumps
- 1/2 cup frozen peas (thawed)
- 1 carrot (peeled and cut into small cubes)
- 1/2 cup small pieces of char siu (Chinese barbecued pork) - if you don't have this available, feel free to substitute with chicken or other meats of your choice
- 1 Tbsp shaoxing wine
- 4 cups of overnight cooked Jasmine rice or
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- 2 green onions (finely chopped)
If you have a wok, please get it out 😉 if you don't, use whatever you have, a skillet or pan suitable to do stir-frying. Preheat the wok over high heat, then add in about 2 Tbsp oil, when the oil is hot, pour in the egg and let it cook for about 20 seconds, then you can break it up and stir until cook. Dish the egg out onto a plate and set aside
In the same wok, add in another 2 Tbsp of oil and let it heat up. Then add in the garlic and cook for about 10 seconds, then add in the carrots, mushrooms and peas and stir-fry them until they are soft, about 2 minutes or so then splash in the shaoxing wine. Add in the shrimp and cook for about 30 seconds or so and then add the char siu, crab meat and give it a few stir. Add in the rice, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Stir everything to mix. Have a taste and adjust seasoning by adding more salt if needed. Turn off the heat and add in the green onions. Stir again to mix everything. Serve immediately
If you don't have leftover rice, cook the rice few hours before you plan to serve this. We need the rice to be cold to prevent clumping when you stir-fry them
I usually cook the rice with 1:1 rice to water ratio if I know I were to make fried rice and when the rice is cooked, I spread them out in a sheet pan to let them cool and to prevent clumping