Yangzhou fried rice is a comforting stir-fried rice dish made with various ingredients. While you certainly can order it from most Chinese restaurants, it's also an easy toss-up you can do yourself.
So, continue reading as we share our foolproof Yangzhou fried rice recipe to help you on your stir-fry journey!
What is Yangzhou fried rice?
Yangzhou fried rice is a Chinese fried rice dish that you cook in a wok with different ingredients such as eggs, peas, carrots and pieces of barbecued pork. However, you can change your ingredients as you see fit. For example, some chefs use shrimp and silverfish to add more flavour to the dish.
Yangzhou Fried Rice History
Yangzhou fried rice is a favourite across many Chinese restaurants globally. This wok dish also has its fans in the US and the UK.
The dish originated in the city of Yangzhou, Jiangsu province. A magistrate invented it during the Qing Dynasty, and it originally was served with fish soup. Since then, the dish has appeared worldwide, with variations in several Asian cities.
We don't know much about how this delectable dish came to the UK. Still, since Malaya and Singapore were British colonies before the 19th century, the Chinese community who worked for the British in these places may have influenced the Europeans to start cooking these iconic grains in this manner.
For Americans, you may hear many stories about how the dish made its way to the country. These stories mostly revolve around American troops who may have brought back the recipe after the Vietnam War.
You could compare the history of this iconic Chinese fried rice dish with Mexican rice found in the South of the United States. We found that this Mexican rendition was supposedly discovered when the soldiers were in Thailand. The cooking technique of stir fry is similar, but eggs, chicken and bacon are its main ingredients instead.
While many theories exist, it's interesting to note that this humble dish has many versions depending on how people have adapted its recipe across many cultures.
Yangzhou fried rice has a slightly charred taste. Each spoonful you consume should leave your tongue with a brief burnt sensation while filling your senses with a smoky aroma.
The typical ingredients of barbecued pork, egg and green peas give your dish a multilayered taste and texture. The peas and other dishes make it sweet, while pork and egg enhance the charred flavour.
Yangzhou fried rice calories
Our Yangzhou fried rice recipe has about 500 calories per adult serving.
Yangzhou Fried Rice vs Fried Rice Types
Egg Fried Rice
Let's understand the difference between Yangzhou fried rice and its generic egg-fried counterpart. Chinese take-out restaurants usually cook this well-known version with only scrambled eggs and nothing else. Eggs are scrambled separately from the lightly sauteed grains before combining them in a wok. However, in the Yangzhou Chinese fried rice version, cooks stir-fry all ingredients together in a wok, including the eggs.
Chicken Fried Rice
Chicken fried rice adds chicken as protein to the overall meal. Before frying, you marinate chunky chicken slices in soy sauce and cornstarch. Afterwards, you add a lightly scrambled egg to the mix.
Fujian Fried Rice
You would recognise Fujian fried rice from the rich serving of chicken broth gravy atop the dish. Otherwise, its preparation is generally the same as the Yangzhou variation, by tossing and frying the ingredients in the wok. This Fujian rendition is cooked the same way, except for an added gravy made of oyster sauce and cornstarch.
Special Fried Rice
Special fried rice is also a popular variation of this dish. This adaption breaks the rules of the usual ingredients because it is incredibly versatile. You can basically add any ingredients. For example, you might add ham, spam, bacon, shrimp, and pork pieces to the carby base. Another variation of this adaptation that you must try is Singapore fried rice.
Yangzhou fried rice ingredients
To cook Yangzhou fried rice, you'll need rice, eggs, peas, carrots, scallions and Chinese barbecued pork. You can buy these ingredients from your local Asian supermarket or online. Let's have a look at the details for each.
It would be best if you got jasmine rice, a long-grain type, which you can find at any supermarket. Generally, Chinese cooks prefer long grains over short grains because they turn out soft and chewy when you cook the longer grains. This fragrant, fluffy product will be the main star in your dish.
You can omit them for a vegan alternative.
Peas, carrots, scallions
The peas and carrots are necessary as the veggie textures will best complement the soft texture of the eggs and the chewy meat. Meanwhile, the scallions are perfect for garnishing just before serving.
Chinese barbecued pork
If you do not like pork, you can also get Chinese sausage. However, that will give your dish a mild tart taste. You can also get shrimp and chicken if you want more protein.
If you want to make a vegan version of this meal, you will need to swap the eggs, barbecued pork and any other protein you add for more vegetables. You can use extra-firm tofu to replace the barbecued pork for a firm bite to complement the chewy base.
While a vegan version has no egg, one tip is to use a sauce made from peanut butter, soy sauce, a pinch of brown sugar, and garlic for the stir fry. It will substitute the mild flavour and creamy consistency that eggs give the dish. See our recipe on how to make vegan fried rice for more tips.
If you have halal or kosher dietary restrictions, you can substitute the pork with chicken or shrimp.
Making Yangzhou Fried Rice Tips
While this is an easy dish, you can make your cooking faster with some of these tips for a smoother and more delicious experience!
Use leftover rice
The first tip is to try and use day-old grains that have been in the fridge overnight. The refrigerated grains will be dryer and will not clump together when cooking. Next, you must break up the cold grains so that they will cook evenly and so that they are beautifully separated. If you like, you can add any leftover ingredients from your fridge to create this dish.
Fry using a wok
Secondly, a wok is the best equipment for this dish. Stirring and tossing in the wok helps separate the grains and cook them quickly. By the way, the art of wok hei, which is Cantonese to describe excellent wok handling skills, is what makes your favourite take-out place stand out. The art of cooking in a wok gives this dish a smoky aftertaste. When you try it, it is the taste that leaves you craving for more.
Use neutral flavoured oil
While woks cook food faster than a frying pan, you should still use oil to stir fry for a better flavour. The best oils for cooking in a wok are coconut, sesame, vegetable, avocado, and grapeseed. When cooking in a wok, it is crucial to use oil that smokes quickly. In addition, you must choose an oil type that is neutral in taste or complementary to your dish.
Make sure your wok is hot
Finally, if you are using a wok, turn the heat up. When your oil is smoking, make sure you start tossing your ingredients into the wok. Because the temperature will drop quickly once you've got the ingredients in, you must ensure that you toss fast so each grain is hot and coated with oil.
Yangzhou Fried Rice Recipe
- 6 cups cooked white rice
- 2 carrots diced
- ⅓ cup peas frozen or fresh
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup barbecued pork
- 2 scallions chopped
- 1.5 tbsps soy sauce
- 3 tbsps cooking oil
- You must prepare the necessary ingredients first. Beat the eggs in a bowl with salt to taste. Then, break up the refrigerated rice to separate the grains.
- Heat a wok or large pan over medium-high heat and add oil. Swirl it around. When the oil is smoking, add the carrots and peas. Remove from heat.
- Return the wok to the heat and add one tablespoon of oil. Swirl around to coat the bottom of the wok. Add the rice and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring and tossing the grains.
- Make space in the middle of the wok. Add the remaining one tablespoon of oil. Pour the eggs inside and cook for a few seconds while stirring. Mix the eggs and rice. Cook while stirring and tossing. Check that your eggs are runny and mostly cooked before lowering the heat.
- Add the slices of barbecued pork to your Yangzhou fried rice. Follow that with the peas and carrots. Stir them in the wok. Then, add soy sauce and pepper to cook for a few minutes, stirring and tossing continuously. Finally, turn off the heat and add the chopped scallions. Mix well and serve warm!
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and are only rough estimations.
Easy Kitchen 好易下橱 on Youtube has a simple and easy to understand video recipe on how to make Yangzhou fried rice at home. We recommend you watch their quick video before attempting at home.
While this is a simple dish, you will become a huge fan as it conveniently uses leftover ingredients. We hope you will enjoy cooking our tasty recipe. We want to see your delectable creations! Tag and follow us at @honestfoodtalks on Instagram so you can learn to cook even more Asian food dishes with us!