When I began planning the menu for our delayed Chinese New Year dinner, I had certain dishes in mind. As we had ground pork in our freezer, I wanted to try making pork dumplings. With my husband and our 13 year old being big fans of fried rice, that was on the list. And, of course, trying to keep some healthiness to the menu, I decided to make Kung Pao Broccoli.
Deciding what to include in the fried rice was like working with LEGOs. If you’re creating something new, there are no set colors or placement of blocks; it’s your choice what the final product is. Rather than using a menu, I considered our likes and dislikes to choose the ingredients. Peas are not enjoyed by all of us, so they were not included. Shrimp is popular, so that would be the meat in the rice. For crunch, bean sprouts are more popular than napa cabbage, so that was another choice.
Working on fried rice can be time consuming. There are a variety of ingredients to be prepped. The shrimp need to be shelled, scallions need to be chopped, eggs need to be beaten, ginger needs to be grated. And, all of this needs to be done before you begin cooking. Once the cooking begins, you need to be fairly focused on the pan. Luckily for me, I had the assistance of my 11 and 13 year olds, which reduced the total prep time.
Although fried rice does require a decent amount of ingredients and time, it is well worth the effort, especially if you have assistants. The fried rice tastes fresh, not stale from having waited in a warming tray for hours. You can control the amount of sodium and oil in the rice, so it isn’t greasy and salty like a lot of take-out Chinese food. Plus, if you have helpers, you can have good conversation while working.
- 2 Tb. peanut oil, divided
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1 Tb. freshly grated ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 lb. shrimp, peeled & deveined
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 4 cups rice, cooked
- 3 Tb. low sodium soy sauce
- 8 oz. bean sprouts
- 2 scallions, chopped
- Heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add shallots, ginger, and garlic to wok, and saute for 1 minute.
- Add shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes or until pink. Transfer to a plate.
- Wipe the wok with a dry paper towel.
- Return the wok to the heat and coat with 1 tablespoon oil. Add eggs, scrambling until fully cooked.
- Add rice and toss with the egg until combined, making sure to break up all clumps.
- Add the cooked vegetables and shrimp to the rice and season with soy sauce. Add scallions.
- Stir to combine and heat all ingredients.