Yangzhou’s Signature Fried Rice, a culinary gem hailing from the vibrant city of Yangzhou in Jiangsu province, holds the key to a truly remarkable dining experience. This extraordinary dish, revered under different names like Yang Chow, Yung Chow, or Yeung Chow fried rice, carries with it the rich heritage of centuries-old recipes and the fusion of East and West flavors. Prepare to embark on a gastronomic journey like no other as you savor the tantalizing blend of ingredients, textures, and aromas found in Yangzhou’s Signature Fried Rice.
Dating back to the Qing dynasty period (1754-1815), this dish was a royal delicacy, speculated to include shrimp, cured ham (akin to pancetta or prosciutto), eggs, and scallions – though this recipe remains speculative in the absence of historical documentation. While this dish now graces modern takeout menus, its roots are deep-seated in imperial feasting traditions.
Our rendition maintains the core ethos of Yangzhou fried rice but embraces the spirit of Chinese cuisine where individual nuances are welcomed. So let’s create our personal, delectable version!
Yangzhou’s Signature Fried Rice: Ingredients
- 5 cups cooked rice
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 2 large eggs, whisked
- 4 ounces fresh shrimp, deveined and shells removed (110g, 40-60 size)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup Virginia ham, diced (about 4 ounces/110g)
- 1/2 cup Chinese Roast Pork (roughly 4 ounces/110g)
- 3/4 cup thawed frozen peas
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine (optional)
- 2 scallions, finely chopped
- 2 cups romaine or iceberg lettuce, finely chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- Cook the rice as per the package directions, using slightly less water to prevent overly soft, sticky rice that hampers stir-frying. Once cooked, let it cool and fluff it up with a fork to break apart any lumps.
- If storing the rice overnight, it may form clumps. However, these can be manually separated into individual grains. Rinse your hands with cold water if they become sticky.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok over medium-high heat and add the whisked eggs. Softly scramble them, avoiding burning. Transfer the cooked eggs back to their original bowl, blanch the shrimp in boiling water, drain and set aside.
- Increase the wok heat to high, add 2 tablespoons of oil and the finely chopped onion. Stir-fry until the onions become transparent. Add the diced ham and pork, stir-frying for about 30 seconds. Add the rice and stir-fry for another 2 minutes until uniformly heated. Break any remaining rice lumps with your spatula. Add the shrimp and peas, continuing to stir-fry for another 2 minutes.
- Season the rice with salt and sugar. If using Shaoxing wine, carefully drizzle it around the wok’s perimeter to induce a sizzle and cook off the alcohol. Mix thoroughly to evenly distribute the seasoning.
- If the rice seems dry, lightly sprinkle some water, chicken stock, or a touch more oil. This addition helps break up large rice clumps and keeps the rice moist but not soggy or oily.
- Lastly, blend in the scrambled eggs, scallions, chopped lettuce, and white pepper. Continue to stir fry until the lettuce wilts slightly. Your Yangzhou-style fried rice is ready to serve!
Why Yangzhou Fried Rice?
Not just a symphony for the taste buds, Yangzhou-style Fried Rice is nutritionally balanced. Shrimp contribute a healthy dose of lean protein, and essential minerals like iodine and selenium, promoting thyroid health and boosting the immune system.
Peas bring fiber to the table, contributing to good digestive health, as well as vitamins A and K for vision and bone health. Meanwhile, eggs provide quality protein and essential amino acids.
In a nutshell, Yangzhou-Style Fried Rice offers a delicious, nutritious meal, making it an excellent choice for a balanced diet. So next time you plan a menu, consider this dish for its culinary and nutritional benefits.