Fried rice to me is comfort food (besides a good cup of milk tea or a big bowl of wonton noodle soup). I mean, it's quick to cook with zero tricky business. If I were to feed four kids on a weeknight after a long day at work, fried rice would be what I'd put on the dinner table.
This week, I made one of my favorite kind of fried rice - Yeung Chow Fried Rice (揚州炒飯). You might have had it before from Chinese take-outs. And unlike lo mein or sesame chicken, Yeung Chow fried rice from a Chinese take-out joint is probably one of the (not too many) dishes that is closer to what real Chinese food is. So what's in a Yueng Chow fried rice, you ask?
Yeung Chow (or Yang Zhou 揚州 in Mandarin) is a city in the Jiang Su province in China (3 hours west of Shanghai). So thinking that they must eat a lot of fried rice therefore calling the dish Yueng Chow Fried Rice would make perfect sense. End of story. BUT there's another kind of Yueng Chow Fried Rice (揚州炒飯) that actually made the dish famous and more common around the world. And this is the kind I grew up knowing and loving. It's a Cantonese version of Yeung Chow Fried Rice (揚州炒飯) made with ingredients like char siu (roast pork), shrimp, eggs, scallion as the basic standard. And vegetable like carrot, peas, shredded lettuce are added casually, and not always required. "Yeung Chow" in the Cantonese version didn't get its name from the city of Yang Zhou, it actually got its name from a restaurant in Guangzhou that specializes in Huai Yang cuisine (淮揚菜). They were first selling a Guoba dish that called Yang Zhou (Yeung Chow) Guoba, but then it had changed to using rice instead. They kept the name "Yeung Chow", and that's how the Cantonese version of Yeung Chow Fried Rice (揚州炒飯) started.
Phew. But isn't it kinda interesting where names are originated from?
Yeung Chow Fried Rice (揚州炒飯)
Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 20 mins Total time: 30 mins
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1/2 cup diced carrots
- 1/2 cup raw shrimp, shelled (cut into smaller pieces if they're big shrimp)
- 1/2 lb char siu (Chinese roast pork), diced
- 4 cups day-old, cooked rice
- 2 stalks scallions, chopped
- salt and pepper
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp white pepper powder
- 1 tsp salt
- In a hot pan/skillet, add oil and cook the eggs for 3 minutes. Salt and pepper, then set aside.
- Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Then add peas and carrots, cook for 3-4 minutes. Add raw shrimp and continue to cook until they start to turn pink, then add the diced char siu, and eggs.
- If the rice is still in one big piece, break it down until there're no large chunks. Add rice to the pan, and stir everything together and season with soy sauce, white pepper powder, and salt.
- Lastly, stir in chopped scallion. Serve immediately.