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Yang Chow Fried Rice

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This is our go-to fried rice dish. No need to order takeout ^_^ We add shrimp, lap cheong, eggs, and season with fish sauce. Easy to make and super onolicious.

Yang Chow Fried Rice, ready to eat
Yang Chow Fried Rice, ready to eat

Yang Chow Fried Rice

If you've had fried rice at Chinese restaurant, you've likely had Yang Chow Fried Rice.

Yang Chow Fried Rice was invented in Yangzhou, which is in the Jiangsu province of China. This famous dish goes by many other names:

  • Yeung Chow Fried Rice
  • Yangzhou Fried Rice
  • "House Special" Fried Rice (this is how it's often listed on the menu of Chinese restaurants)

Yang Chow Fried Rice is one of the most popular types of Chinese fried rice (we often order it at one of these restaurants in Hawaii). And for good reason! It is delicious and easy to make.

Each ingredient is prepared separately (scramble the eggs, fry the lap cheong, cook the shrimp, etc) and then combined with rice at the very end.

Cook each ingredient separately and combine at the end
Cook each ingredient separately and combine at the end

Yang Chow Fried Rice Ingredients

Yang Chow Fried Rice ingredients vary from home to home, but these are five key ingredients that you'll usually see (and are featured in this recipe):

Rice
Rice is the most important part of this dish. What kind of rice for fried rice? Use jasmine rice or a medium grain rice.

You'll need 6 cups of leftover cooked rice for this recipe. 6 cups of cooked rice can be made from 2 cups of uncooked rice. (Rule of thumb is that rice triples in volume when cooked).

See the "About The Rice" section below for more fried rice tips.

Eggs
Beat the egg, add a little salt, and then scramble them in a generous amount of oil. Cook until the eggs are just barely set.

Lap Cheong
We love lap cheong! Lap cheong and shrimp are the two main "meats" in this recipe. One from the land, and one from the ocean, a perfect combo ^_^ Dice the lap cheong into small pieces and pan fry until crisp.

Lap cheong is pretty fatty and you'll be left with plenty of oil. Slide the cooked lap cheong onto a plate lined with two layers of paper towels. Or use a strainer (as shown in the photo above) and and let the fat drip down into a small bowl.

P.S. If you love lap cheong as much as we do, make sure to also try this rice cooker lap cheong recipe.

Onions
Onions are essential. Dice and stir fry until golden. Because we are in Hawaii, we usually use sweet Maui onions.

Shrimp
Find nice, fresh, and juicy shrimp! Cut them into big pieces, add a little salt and mix gently. Then stir fry quickly until just cooked.

Green Onions
Green onions are for flavor and color. Chop the green onions or slice them into thin ribbons. Stir these green onions in at the very end, right before serving.

Cooking the lap cheong till crisp
Cooking the diced lap cheong till crisp

Seasoning Yang Chow Fried Rice

Ahh, this one is a controversial topic.

Purists believe that Yang Chow Fried Rice should only be seasoned with a touch of salt and nothing else.

Others prefer to season with soy sauce.

We usually season with nuoc nam / fish sauce.

There's no right or wrong, just a matter of personal preference ^_^

About The Rice

It is important to use leftover rice for any and all fried rice dishes. (If you use freshly cooked rice, the end result will be a mushy and soft fried rice.)

Cook rice the day before, let it cool and then store in the fridge overnight.

Note: When steaming the rice, I like to use a smidgen less water than I would when preparing a "regular" cup of rice to eat. This way the rice is more firm and holds shape better when you stir fry it.

Right before preparing the fried rice dish, use a spatula (or a rice paddle) to help break up the clumps of the cold rice. This will help the rice cook more evenly.

Rice, shrimp, egg, onions, green onions, and lap cheong
Rice, shrimp, egg, onions, green onions, and lap cheong

Tips and Questions

Don't skimp on the fat ^_^

Fried rice is not diet food. I use to be a little too careful about using oil when making fried rice. But honestly, good fried rice requires oil!

You want the scrambled eggs to be glossy - that calls for oil. The lap cheong links have plenty of oil to contribute. You need oil for the onions and shrimp.

And you definitely need oil for the rice. Oil helps to make the rice grains slightly crisp and golden. Don't go overboard with oil, but don't be shy with it either.

Substitutions and Additions?

Eggs, lap cheong, shrimp, onions, and green onions are the five "key" ingredients for Yang Chow Fried Rice in our home. We rarely venture away from that combo. But feel free to make substitutions and additions.

A few common ones include:
- Replace lap cheong with char siu or Spam (adding the Spam makes it less Chinese and more local Hawaii style, but no less delicious!)
- Add green peas and diced carrots
- Add bamboo shoots and baby corn
- Add sea cucumber and crab meat (if you want to get fancy)
- Add shredded romaine lettuce (add the lettuce in at the end and stir fry just until the lettuce starts to wilt).
- Season with soy sauce or salt (instead of fish sauce / nuoc nam)

Do you have to cook each part separately?

Yes. Cooking each part separately ensures that every ingredient is perfectly cooked (they all require different cooking times), and doesn't get all muddled together.

Being able to taste each ingredient clearly is key to making a good fried rice ^_^

Yang Chow Fried Rice, ready to eat
Yang Chow Fried Rice, ready to eat

Yang Chow Fried Rice Recipe

See below and enjoy ^_^

Yang Chow Fried Rice

Yang Chow Fried Rice

Yield: Lunch/dinner for 3
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This is our go-to fried rice dish! No need to order takeout anymore ^_^ We add shrimp, lap cheong, eggs, and simply season with fish sauce. Easy to make and super onolicious.

Instructions

    1. First, prep all the ingredients. Beat the eggs, add a sprinkle of salt. Warm oil in the pan, and scramble the eggs until just set. Slide the eggs into a bowl and set aside.
    2. In the same pan, fry the diced lap cheong over medium heat (no need to add oil the pan) until the lap cheong pieces are crisp. This takes about 3-4 minutes. Pour the lap cheong onto a paper towel lined plate (or use a strainer to drain the fat), and set aside.
    3. Saute the chopped onions in the pan (there should still be some lap cheong fat left in the pan so that you don’t have to add more oil). Saute 3-4 minutes over medium heat until the onions are soft and lightly golden.
    4. Lightly salt the shrimp. Then add the shrimp to the pan (with the onions still in the pan). Saute for 2 minutes over medium-high heat, until the shrimp is just cooked. Pour into a bowl and set aside. 
    5. Add oil to the pan and stir fry the rice until the rice is heated through (and all the large clumps of rice have broken apart).
    6. Add the scrambled eggs, lap cheong, onions and shrimp to the pan. Mix together and stir fry for another minute until everything is evenly mixed.
    7. Season with the nuoc nam (fish sauce) and mix again. Add the green onions, mix again. Remove from heat and you are ready to eat ^_^
Chinese sausage and rice in a bowl, cooked together in the rice cooker
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