Chinese Sausage and Prawn Fried Rice

Chinese Sausage and Prawn Fried Rice

Cook time: 30 minutes  |  Total time: 1 hour |  Serves: 4

There are so many varieties of fried rice not just in China, but throughout the entire East Asia subcontinent. Fried rice is not considered a centrepiece dish, but often a side dish or a quick meal to eat during lunch with a fried egg on top. In its most basic form, fried rice is a white rice first steamed then dry fried with onions, lightly scrambled eggs and soy sauce in a hot wok. In China, by far the most prestigious is the fried rice from Yangzhou in Jiangsu Province, which has bits of fried egg, peas, Chinese ham, onions, sometimes prawns, and anything else the cook wants to throw in. It’s a bunch of critters fried with rice. In Guangdong, the Cantonese fried rice variety tends to be fried with bits of Cha Siu pork and liberal splashes of dark soy, giving the rice a darker look that Westerners are more accustomed to seeing in Chinese American junk food places like the contentious Panda Express. As you venture further south in Asia, seafood tends to be added—in some Thai restaurants, the specialty is a crab fried rice and in Vietnamese cuisine, the fried rice has hints of fish sauce. In my experience, fried rice seems to be a very Southeast Asian specialty. Traditionally, rice was a crop that was easier to grow in the hotter and wetter climate of Southeast Asia. North Asia, being much colder and arid with dry winds blasting from the Gobi Desert during winter time, was predominantly wheat based, with starchy specialities such as wheat based hand pulled noodles and steamed bread rolls. Therefore, if I ever go to a restaurant specialising in Northern Chinese cuisine (i.e. Beijing or Dongbei), I will never order fried rice.

I cook my fried rice as if it were an Asian soul food dish—using a few spices, sauces and meat fats to season the rice, which by itself is pretty tasteless. In this simple recipe I’m using Chinese sausage, which is fatty and sweet, with king prawns, which are slightly salty and fishy, with a mix of black and white pepper to really give it a kick. The obligatory ingredients are of course a good quality rice (Jasmine or Sushi rice, do not use long grain or Basmati rice), onions and eggs. The process pretty much goes: boil the rice and let cool >> quick fry the scrambled eggs, meats and veggies >> then throw in the rice >> splash with soy sauce >> fry some more. One last note: fried rice should be fragrant, eaten warm and should not be crispy.

What you'll need and how much:

— 1.5 cups of Jasmine or Japanese Sushi Rice
— 4 eggs
— 2 spring onions
— a dozen king prawns
— 4 Chinese sausages
— 1 white onion
— 5-6 tablespoons of light soy sauce
— 2 tablespoons of Shaoxing wine
— 3 tablespoons of water
— 3 tablespoons of cooking oil
— 1 teaspoon of black pepper
— 1 teaspoon of white pepper

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Prepare the rice first. Wash 1.5 cups of Jasmine or Japanese Sushi rice three times. If you don’t have a rice cooker, you can use a small sauce pan. Add the rice and cold water until it covers the top of the rice by about 2.5 mm. My method is to put my hand flat over the rice and when the water just covers your hand then you know it’s enough water. Bring the rice to a boil uncovered on high heat. Once it starts to boil, lower the heat to the lowest level on your stove hob and cover to simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. If the rice seems too dry by about the 10 minute mark, add a little more water and continue to let it slowly steam.

The key is to not overcook the rice making it soggy. If that happens, you can’t go back. Let the rice cool for at least 45 minutes. It’s best to use rice made the previous day.

Peel and devein the prawns, mix with 1 egg white to velvet the prawns and set aside at room temperature.

Slice the Chinese Sausage in thin slices cut at an angle so the slices are around 1/2 mm thick. Dice the white onion into pieces around 1 mm x 1 mm. Slice the spring onions into small slices around 1/2 mm thick.

Crack 4 eggs in a bowl and lightly beat them, but don’t over beat them. The egg white and yolk should just be lightly mixed together. The eggs get fluffier when you don’t fully beat the yolk and white together.

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Heat the wok with 1 tablespoon of oil on medium high heat and fry the prawns until they are pink (about 2 minutes). Remove the prawns to a plate.

Add 1 more tablespoon of oil to the wok and reheat it on medium high heat. Add the lightly beaten eggs and scramble until evenly cooked and remove.

Heat 1 more tablespoon of oil in a wok on medium heat and drop in the Chinese Sausage. Fry until it starts to look more translucent, constantly tossing the sausages around so they don’t burn. After 5 minutes of frying, push the sausages to once side of the wok and add the diced white onion to the other side and fry the onions while constantly moving them around. As the onions become translucent, mix the onions and sausages together.

Add the rice and stir fry together. Add the light soy sauce, water (if it’s too dry), and Shaoxing wine and continue to stir fry until the light soy has absorbed to colour the rice a nice light brown. Add the black and white pepper. Add the scrambled eggs and prawns to the rice and continue to stir fry until everything is nicely mixed and fragrant. At the last minute add the spring onions and toss the rice for one final time. Remove and serve hot.

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Ingredients

— 1.5 cups of Jasmine or Japanese Sushi Rice
— 5 eggs
— 2 spring onions
— a dozen king prawns
— 4 Chinese sausages
— 1 white onion
— 5-6 tablespoons of light soy sauce
— 2 tablespoons of Shaoxing wine
— 3 tablespoons of water
— 3 tablespoons of cooking oil
— 1 teaspoon of black pepper
— 1 teaspoon of white pepper

Recipe

  1. Prepare the rice first. Wash 1.5 cups of Jasmine or Japanese Sushi rice three times. If you don’t have a rice cooker, you can use a small sauce pan. Add the rice and cold water until it covers the top of the rice by about 2.5 mm. My method is to put my hand flat over the rice and when the water just covers your hand then you know it’s enough water. Bring the rice to a boil uncovered on high heat. Once it starts to boil, lower the heat to the lowest level on your stove hob and cover to simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. If the rice seems too dry by about the 10 minute mark, add a little more water and continue to let it slowly steam. Let it cool for at least 45 minutes. It’s best to use rice made the previous day.

  2. Peel and devein the prawns, mix with 1 egg white and set aside.

  3. Slice the Chinese Sausage in thin slices cut at an angle so the slices are around 1/2 mm thick. Dice the white onion into pieces around 1 mm x 1 mm. Slice the spring onions into small slices around 1/2 mm thick.

  4. Crack 4 eggs in a bowl and lightly beat them, but don’t over beat them. The egg white and yolk should just be lightly mixed together.

  5. Heat the wok with 1 tablespoon of oil on medium high heat and fry the prawns until they are pink (about 2 minutes). Remove the prawns to a plate.

  6. Add 1 more tablespoon of oil to the wok and reheat it on medium high heat. Add the lightly beaten eggs and scramble until evenly cooked and remove.

  7. Heat 1 more tablespoon of oil in a wok on medium heat and then drop in the Chinese Sausage. Fry until it starts to look more translucent, constantly tossing the sausages around so they don’t burn. After 5 minutes of frying, push the sausages to once side of the wok and add the diced white onion to the other side and fry the onions while constantly moving them around. As the onions become translucent, mix the onions and sausages together.

  8. Add the rice and stir fry together. Add the light soy sauce, water (if it’s too dry), and Shaoxing wine and continue to stir fry until the light soy has absorbed to colour the rice a nice light brown. Add the black and white pepper. Add the scrambled eggs and prawns to the rice and continue to stir fry until everything is nicely mixed and fragrant. At the last minute add the spring onions and toss the rice for one final time. Remove and serve hot.

Photo Credits: Jenny Smart

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