Saturday, March 27, 2010

Shrimp & Pork Fried Rice

At Chinese restaurants, I have a love-hate relationship with fried rice. It is usually very tasty, but you can feel the fat from it moving from your mouth to your stomach, where it turns into extra adipose tissue and a sense of guilt. But when you make fried rice at home, you can control what goes into it, bending it to your will and your waistline. All stir-fries are a very quick process, so I could not take pictures of every step, but here are a good number of snaps to help you make your own delicious fried rice.

Mise en Place

The key to a lot of cooking is preparation. But mise en place is essential in stir-fry and fried rice. You are cooking over high heat so everything has to keep moving very quickly. You can't be caught cutting your meat while your garlic is burning. There is a little bit of leeway, so you don't need to work like a machine, but efficiency is a must.

Makes 4 servings
3 tbsp canola oil, divided
12 oz shrimp, shelled, deveined
3 eggs, beaten with salt and pepper
2 tsp ginger, minced
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 lb pork, cubed
3 cup rice, cooked, cooled
3 scallions, trimmed, cut into 1" pieces
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1 pinch black pepper


1. Heat a large pan over high heat. Add 1 tbsp oil and heat until a whisp of smoke appears. Add shrimp and cook until just done, about 2 minutes. Be sure to keep everything moving when it is in the pan. You don't want to brown the ingredients, you just want to cook them very quickly. When cooked, remove shrimp from pan and wipe it out with a paper towel.


2. Heat another tablespoon of oil in the pan over high heat until a whisp of smoke appears. Add the egg mixture and scramble, stirring constantly, until it is just set. Remove eggs from pan and chop into small pieces. Wipe out pan.


Heat the last tablespoon of oil in the pan over high heat until a whisp of smoke appears. Add the ginger and garlic to the pan and cook until the garlic is light brown. Add the pork to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the pork is cooked through.

Pork & Rice

Add the cooked rice to the pan with the pork. Mix the rice thoroughly, being sure to break up any clumps. There's nothing more annoying than a ball of white rice amid your fried rice.

Almost There

Return the shrimp to the pan and mix everything very well.

Rice A-frying

Turn heat down to medium-low. Add the sauce and scallions to the pan and mix everything thoroughly. Be sure the sauce is evenly distributed over all the rice. At this point, you can serve the rice, but I like to let it sit in the pan for a few minutes at a time, stirring occasionally, until some of the rice gets a little crispy. When done, place into a bowl and serve.

Fried Rice

It took me about twice as long to type this post than it did to make the fried rice. It is amazing how quickly stir-fry makes a good meal. The fried rice was delicious and it had a clean taste to it compared to restaurant varieties. I felt good after eating it. Most of the ingredients are pretty straightforward, but it is the complexity of the sauce ingredients that control the end result. It could easily be tweaked with other Asian staples (mirin, rice vinegar, fish sauce, sesame seeds, citrus juice, hoisin, etc.) to yield an endless variety of fried rice dishes that can be made by this same process. You may not want to eat the fried rice at your local Chinese restaurant again.

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