I generally only eat fried rice as a side dish, or else as one dish as part of a Chinese meal, but, on occasion, I have also been known to make a meal of it all by itself. Typically, I only will fry rice with a couple of simple ingredients, but when it form the focus of a meal, or is the meal, I can get quite elaborate. Lobster or dried scallops can really make fried rice very special but one ingredient that really adds a little extra something is Preserved Chinese Sausage. Today’s recipe, which incorporates their sweet, apple-like fragrance, is not a traditional recipe especially, but it does illustrate the basic technique for good fried rice…
- 3 cups COLD, COOKED long grain Rice *see below;
- 2 Chinese Preserved Sausage, diced;
- 1 cup medium Shrimp;
- 2 Black Chinese Mushrooms, reconstituted and thinly sliced;
- 1 small stalk of Celery;
- ½ cup frozen Peas;
- 2 Eggs, beaten;
- 1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce.
You will note that I made a point of emphasizing cold (COLD!!!), cooked (COOKED!!!) rice in the above ingredient list. This is absolutely the most important thing you need to learn about making proper fried rice. Never be tempted to boil or steam rice and then immediately try to fry it… you will just end up with a sticky, soggy mess. Even just cooling the rice after cooking is not enough; it needs to be allowed to go completely cold for long enough to dry slightly. For best results, cook your rice the day before then keep it covered in the fridge overnight.
Cooked egg is something I almost always include in fried rice. The basic idea is to first make a plain omelet using the beaten eggs and then chop it up to mix with the rice later. As you can see, I let my omelet brown in places as this adds a little extra flavor.
Heat just a little oil in your pan over moderately high heat and then saute the sausage and celery. There is no particular magic to the order in which you add ingredients but there are some useful rules-of-thumb you may wish to observe … Here, for example, frying the sausage in the cooking oil first allows the sweet umami flavor to infuse the whole dish.
Now add the shrimp and the peas along with the mushrooms. The shrimp only need to be fried long enough for them to turn pink (by which time the peas will be cooked as well).
Finally add the rice and, as you toss and turn it, add the soy. This will be the longest part of the cooking process and you need to keep tossing so that the rice gets heated all through without any of the other ingredients burning at the bottom of the pan. If necessary, adjust saltiness with a little more soy, but, in whatever order you add ingredients, make sure you add the cooked egg after you have added the last of the soy. Doing otherwise won’t affect the taste but liquid soy getting directly to the egg will ruin its pretty yellow color and, ultimately, the final appearance of your dish.