There are many versions of Chinese Fried Rice, but as a meat lover, Yang Zhou Fried Rice is one of my favourites, with a yummy combination of Chinese sticky roast pork (Char Siew) and Chinese Sausages (Lup Cheong).
PREPARATION FOR YANG ZHOU FRIED RICE (20 mins + 30 min to cook rice the day before)
Wash the rice. Add 2 3/4 cups of water and cook in the rice cooker one day before. Once cooked, use a chopstick to loosen the rice and refrigerate until the next day.
Soak the Chinese sausage in hot water for 10 mins . Remove the skin from the sausage and cut into small cubes.
Remove the shells from the prawn and remove the waste from the back of the prawn. If you are not sure how to do this, you can watch my short video demonstration on how to clean prawns.
Wash and cut prawns into small pieces. If using very small prawns, there is no need to cut it.
Place the prawns in a bowl and marinate with the marinade ingredients (sugar, salt, sesame oil and egg white) and set aside.
Cut the char siew into small cubes.
Beat the eggs in a bowl and add a pinch of salt.
Wash the spring onion and cut into small pieces.
Peel the yellow onion and cut into small cubes.
Wash the lettuce without cutting it. Spin dry and chill in the fridge for later use.
Loosen the day-old rice using a chopstick.
COOKING METHOD FOR YANG ZHOU FRIED RICE (20 mins)
Add 3 TBsp of oil in a wok over medium high heat.
Add in the chopped garlic and stir fry until fragrant but not brown.
Pour in the overnight rice and quickly toss it from the bottom of the wok in an upwards motion, mixing the garlic with the rice so that the garlic at the bottom of the wok won't get burnt.
While stir frying, break up the lumpy rice by applying pressure on the lumps with the back of the spatula. A little water can be sprinkled on the rice to make it easier to loosen the lumps.
Add salt and mix well. Fry for about 10 mins or until it is aromatic. Remove and transfer back into the rice pot for later use.
Add 1 Tbsp of oil in the wok and fry half of the egg mixture, breaking it up into strips with the sharp edge of the spatula. Remove and set aside.
Add 1 TBsp of oil in the wok and add in the Chinese sausage. Fry till it's aromatic and glossy but not burnt.
Use the ladle to push the sausage to one side of the wok (away from the heat), add in the onion and fry for a minute.
Add in the prawns, mixing them together with the sausage and onion. Fry until the prawns are 3/4 cooked.
Pour back the rice and mix well.
Add the remainder of the egg mixture to the rice, tossing it constantly from bottom up.
Add in the light soya sauce and sesame oil and mix well.
Add in the char siew and mix well.
Lastly add the spring onions and fry for about 20 seconds.
Transfer the rice on a plate and garnish with lettuce and spring onion.
Make sure the garlic and sausage are not burnt while cooking
The rice must be cooked one day before. If the rice is cooked just before frying, it will turn out disastrous. The fried rice will be very lumpy and mushy. It will look like 'fried chai tow kueh' instead of fried rice. When the rice is freshly cooked, it is still moist and soft and it will be impossible to break up the lumps. Good fried rice must be grainy.
If the rice is hard, more water can be added at any time during the frying.
When frying the rice, as far as possible, you don't want to break the grains of rice. That's why you should use a tossing action from the bottom of the wok in an upward scooping motion to stir-fry the rice, rather than with the edge of the metal spatula facing downwards.
To entice children to eat fried rice, frozen green peas and sweet corns can be added to it but they must be boiled in water for a few minutes before being added to the rice.
Iceberg lettuce can be replaced with Chinese lettuce which is softer and easier to wrap. For iceberg lettuce, you can cut the leaves into a bowl shape to hold the rice and shred the rest .