The city of Yangzhou in eastern Jiangsu Province is one of the ancient centers of Chinese gastronomy and the heartland of what is known as Huaiyang Cuisine. Strangely, only one of its dishes is widely known in the West and that is Yangzhou fried rice, which is on the menu of almost every overseas Cantonese restaurant. A colorful mixture of fragrant rice with diced meat, seafood, and vegetables, it traditionally includes a little sea cucumber and crabmeat as well as fresh bamboo shoots. Many versions, even some of those cooked up in Yangzhou itself, make this dish as a simple fried rice, but the classic recipe, upon which mine is based, includes an injection of chicken stock that adds an extra deliciousness. I have omitted hard-to-find ingredients, such as sea cucumber.
I first wrote this recipe for a Chinese New Year's feature in a magazine. One friend told me afterward that it had been such a hit with her children that she had been making it almost once a week ever since, so I've included it here in her honor.
Don't worry if you don’t have every ingredient: The key is to have a tempting selection of colors and tastes amid the rice. There's no need to weigh them exactly; just aim to have a small pile (about 3 tablespoons when chopped) of each. Yangzhou fried rice can be served as part of a special Chinese meal, or as a whole meal in itself, perhaps with simply a salad or a lightly cooked green vegetable on the side.
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*Note: For a more intense color, beat in a whole egg yolk as well.
- 1/4 Cup plus 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1/2 Ounce pork fillet, diced finely
- 1/2 Ounce small peeled shrimp
- 1/2 Ounce ham or salami, diced finely
- 1/2 Ounce cold, cooked chicken, diced finely
- 2 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, stalks discarded, diced finely
- 1/2 Ounce peas, peeled fava beans, or cooked green soy beans
- 1/2 Ounce bamboo shoot, diced finely (optional)
- 2 Teaspoons Shaoxing wine
- 3/4 Cups chicken stock
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
- 1 egg, beaten*
- 3 Cups cooked, cooled Thai fragrant rice (1 1/2 cups when raw)
- 3 scallions, green parts only, sliced thinly
Calories Per Serving745
Folate equivalent (total)34µg9%
Chinese Egg Fried Rice (Yang Chow Fried Rice)
Learn how to make Chinese egg fried rice (Yang Chow Fried Rice or Young Chow Fried Rice) in the right way with all tips you should know for a perfect homemade stir fried rice.
Fired rice (炒饭) and chow mein (炒面) possibly are the two most popular types of dishes based on staple foods of China—rice and noodles. Home-style fried rice can be as humble as basic egg fried rice or as luxury as this Yangzhou fried rice, a star throughout the country. The best tool for perfect fried rice is a wok, in which you can quickly move all the grains. Along with the movement, the grains are well separated while all the other ingredients and seasonings are well mixed.
Honestly, Chinese people have a clinging attitude about their food, especially the food from the hometowns. Basically rice is almost all-purpose for vegetables and meats. So you can add whatever in your kitchen to a bowl of leftover rice and make yourself a happy breakfast. But people in Jiangshu province insist that a real Yangzhou fried rice should at least includes egg, carrot, green peas, Chinese ham, shrimp and green onion. Those ingredients not only bring different tastes and textures, but more importantly different colors. The colorful fried rice is the most popular choice for children meal for lots of restaurants.
- 6 cups leftover white rice (note 1)
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup diced Chinese ham (or you can use char siu )
- 8-10 shelled shrimp, deveined
- 1/2 cup green peas
- 1/2 cup diced carrot
- Pinch of salt to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
Slightly separate the grains of rice via slightly pressing the rice by a rice scoop. This step is optional but highly recommended for beginners. If I plan to make stir fried rice next day, usually I cook the rice on stove with a claypot or cast iron pot other than a regular rice cooker. You can know more about how to make rice without a rice cooker.
Heat up around 1 tablespoon of cooking oil in wok and fry green beans and diced carrots until softened.
Heat up 1 tablespoon of cooking oil in a wok or a nonstick skillet (Note 2) and fry shrimp until slightly seared. Transfer out.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of cooking oil and pour in beaten egg and the fried rice. Give a quick stir so the egg and rice can be mixed well quickly.
Add green beans, carrots, ham and shrimp, light soy sauce, sprinkle pinch of salt and white pepper. Give everything a big stir-fry and mix well. Then add green onion and fry for another 30 seconds.
How To Make Yangzhou Fried Rice
Yangzhou, or yeung chow, fried rice is a simple homestyle dish that’s commonly served as the final course before dessert at Chinese holiday and festival meals. This is an easy recipe to add to your holiday menu, as well as a good single dish meal to add to your weekly family dinner repertoire.
Rice is the original Chinese staple food, the ultimate symbol of a household’s wealth and prosperity. Chinese children learn at an early age to eat every grain of rice in their bowls, lest they go wanting at future meals.
Within the rhythm of a Chinese holiday meal, fried rice is always the last dish served (if you’re a guest, this is a good sign the meal is near its end). Serving fried rice during the holidays bestows good fortune on the diners and ensures that no one leaves the table hungry.
There are countless varieties of Yangzhou fried rice, incorporating many types of vegetables and meats. The only common denominators are scrambled eggs, day old rice and a hot wok. The Shaoxing rice wine and chicken stock in this version of Yangzhou fried rice produce a deep, rich flavor that’s full of body.
Here’s how to make Yangzhou Fried Rice, step-by-step. The detailed tutorial with pictures and directions is at the bottom of the page.
Your turn! What tips can you share from your family’s recipe? Want to ask a question before you start cooking? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!
Yangzhou Fried Rice Recipe
Makes: 4 Servings | Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Cook Time: 5 Minutes
4 cups cold cooked rice
1 tablespoon oil
2 green onions, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
4 ounces shrimp, peeled, deveined and halved
1 cup peas, blanched for 3 minutes
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon Shaoxing rice wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
cilantro, to garnish
1. Place the rice in a large bowl and break up any clumps.
2. Heat the oil in a wok over high heat until smoking. Stir fry the spring onion and ginger for 15-30 seconds until fragrant. Add the shrimp and peas and stir fry until the shrimp turn pink. Reduce the heat to medium, add the eggs and scramble lightly.
3. Before the eggs are completely set, add the cooked rice. Return the heat to high and turn the rice quickly with a spatula until the rice is heated through, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the rice wine, soy sauce, salt and pepper and mix until well blended. Add half the chicken stock and stir fry for 30 seconds. Repeat with the remaining chicken stock.
4. Remove from the heat, add the sesame oil and toss well.
5. Transfer the fried rice to a serving plate, garnish with cilantro leaves and serve immediately.
Because fried rice is cooked so quickly, it’s really important to prepare all of the ingredients in advance. Use leftover rice (or make a pot of rice earlier in the day and allow to fully cool), peel, devein and halve the shrimp, mince the ginger and green onions, blanch the peas and combine the sauce ingredients.
Once you’re ready to cook, heat the oil in a wok over high heat. Stir fry the ginger and green onions until fragrant.
Add the shrimp and peas to the pan and stir fry until the shrimp pink up.
Reduce the heat to medium and then add the beaten eggs to the pan. Combine all the ingredients until the eggs begin to firm up.
Return the heat to high and dump in the rice. Turn the ingredients quickly in the pan until they’re combined well and heated through.
Add the rice wine, soy sauce, salt and pepper and combine. Finally, add 1/2 of the chicken stock and stir fry for 30 seconds, before repeating with the remainder of the chicken stock.
Remove the pan from the heat, add the sesame oil and mix one last time. Transfer the fried rice to a serving plate, garnish with cilantro leaves and serve immediately.
Yangzhou fried rice
If you order Yangzhou fried rice in restaurants, you can be pretty sure of what you’re going to get: small pieces of various vegetables, char siu (Chinese roast pork) and small shrimp (usually frozen). Some places get a little fancier and add crabmeat instead of shrimp but, thankfully, it hasn’t gone to the extreme where chefs are adding caviar or gold leaf.
You only need the gai lan (Chinese broccoli) stems for this dish the leaves and leafy tops can be cooked and served with the rice, although you will probably want to cook more than just the eight to 10 stalks called for in this recipe.
You can either stir-fry the gai lan with oil and salt, then stir in a drizzle of sesame oil just before turning off the flame, or blanch it by cooking in boiling water until crisp-tender, then drain, place on a plate and drizzle with oyster sauce and sesame oil. Whichever method you use, the stalks will take longer to cook than the more tender leaves, so add them to the wok or pan first.
Once the ingredients are prepared, cooking the fried rice takes only about five minutes.
1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk (extra yolk optional)
5 tablespoons cooking oil
1 ounce (27 g) raw pork fillet (tenderloin), cut into small dice
1 ounce (27 g) small peeled shrimp, fresh or frozen, cooked or uncooked
1 ounce (27 g) ham, cut into small dice
1 ounce (27 g) cold, cooked chicken, cut into small dice
2 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, then drained (stalks discared) and cut into small dice
1 ounce (27 g) fresh or frozen peas, peeled fava beans or cooked green soy beans (edamame)
1 ounce (27 g) bamboo shoots, cut into small dice (optional)
2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
3/4 cup (200 ml) chicken stock
3 cups (600 g) cooked, cooled jasmine rice (1 1/2 cups/300 g when raw)
3 scallions, green parts only, finely sliced
- 500g pack Thai fragrant rice3tbsp groundnut oil
- About 60g (2oz) each of diced raw pork, raw tiger prawns, raw or cooked, diced skinless chicken, diced pancetta or cooked ham
- About 60g (2oz) frozen soya beans or peas
- 150g (5oz) shiitake mushrooms, wiped clean (halved if large)
- 150g can bamboo shoots, drained
- 1tbsp Chinese (Shaoxing) cooking wine
- 400ml (14fl oz) hot chicken stock
- 2 medium eggs, beaten
- 6 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
1 Cook the rice following the instructions on the pack. Drain and rinse through with running cold water and leave to drain in a large sieve, then cool in a large bowl.
2 Heat 2tbsp of the oil in a wok over a high heat. Add the raw ingredients – pork, prawns, chicken, and pancetta – and stir-fry for 1 min. Add any cooked meats, the soya beans or peas, shiitake mushrooms and bamboo shoots, and stir-fry for another couple of minutes until cooked through.
Add the wine, pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Season with salt, to taste then spoon into a large bowl.
Wipe the wok clean with kitchen paper. Put it back on the heat with rest of the oil. Beat eggs with a little seasoning and pour into the hot oil, swirling them round. When half cooked, add all the rice in batches and stir-fry using a large spatula to break up any lumps. When hot, add the cooked ingredients in the stock. Mix well until hot, then add sliced spring onions and stir in. Serve hot. Serve with soy sauce if preferred.
Yangzhou fried rice is perhaps the most well-known dish of the city of Yangzhou, Jiangsu province. The recipe was invented by Qing China's Yi Bingshou (1754–1815) and the dish was named Yangzhou fried rice since Yi was once the regional magistrate of Yangzhou. It is often served with thousand fish soup. This dish incorporates scrambled eggs, but you can scramble your eggs in two different ways. The first variation is known as "silver covered gold", in which the egg is scrambled separately before mixing with the rice. The alternative "gold covered silver" method requires pouring the liquid egg over the rice and vegetables mix and frying the two together. Legend has it that the best cooks of Yangzhou fried rice will create the dish with a rice grain to egg piece ratio of 5:1 or even 3:1.
1. Wok (we can use Pan instead) (P1 & P2) （“P” for picture)
4. Whisk (normally we can just use bowl and chopsticks to whisk the yolk) (P5)
Recipe: How to Make Yangzhou Fried Rice (扬州炒饭)
So we wanted to teach you how to make a fried rice, and figured there’s no better place to start than the classic Yangzhou fried rice.
Now, it should be said upfront that proper Yangzhou fried rice is sort of a deluxe fried rice… it’s fried with lard and uses a bunch of dried umami-rich ingredients (the traditional recipe even calls for sea cucumber). We’re following a super old-school cookbook for this, but rarely will restaurants go this far – so feel free to play around with the recipe and make it your own.
Jasmine Rice (丝苗米/泰国香米), 450g. Ok, let’s talk rice prep. Fried rice is like allergic to wet, sticky rice. For fried rice, you either wanna use day old rice or rice cooked at a dry ratio. Leaving the rice out overnight isn’t a must – after thoroughly rinsing the rice until the water ran clear, we drained it (draining in a strainer’s an important step!) and cooked our Jasmine Rice at a ratio of 1.2 parts rice to one part water (that’s not a typo, 375g of water) and spread it out over a plate until the rice cooked and the steam dissipated. Of course, what’s often easier is just using leftover white rice: if going that route, spread the rice over a plate and have it dry out overnight in the fridge.
Eggs, 2. We’re just using two eggs here, but I’ve seen some recipes call for more.
Dried Shittake Mushrooms (冬菇), 3-4. Like always, leave this to soak in hot, boiled water for at least two hours. You could also just start soaking these in room temperature water in the morning, and they’ll be done by the time you get home for dinner.
Dried Scallops (干瑶柱/干贝),5-6 Soak these together with the dried mushrooms. As always, don’t toss the soaking liquid, because…
Reserved Mushroom/Scallop soaking liquid, 3 tbsp. If you’ve read any of these before, you’ve probably heard me wax poetic about this stuff. The soaking liquid from dried mushrooms and shellfish is just as good if not better than stock, and obviously vastly easier to make. This is gunna form the basis of the sauce/seasoning liquid.
Jinhua Ham (金华火腿), 30g. Jinhua Ham is a dried cured Chinese ham that’s made by more or less the process as Spanish Jamón ibérico. If you’re outside China and can’t find this, that Iberian Ham’s an obvious sub… or you could sub in Lap Cheong, a country ham or a Parma ham, or do what many restaurants outside China do and just use some Char Siu or wet-cured ham.
Pork Loin (瘦肉), 50g. We’re just gunna be dicing this up.
Chicken Breast or Thigh (鸡胸肉), 50g. Same sort of deal – we’re just dicing this up, anything boneless or skinless’ll do the trick.
Shrimp (虾仁), 70g. Deshell these guys. Devein them, don’t devein them… up to you. We don’t devein them because we feel deveining shrimp is a completely unnecessary pain (unless it’s some sort of jumbo prawn).
*Peas (豌豆), 30g.*Always a consistent component of Yangzhou fried rice, gives some color and texture.
Bamboo shoots (竹笋), 40g. Bamboo shoots are another awesome, umami-rich ingredient and’ll also give this dish some crunch. Canned bamboo shoots are totally fine.
4 sprigs. Green part only, cut into slices.
Cornstarch (生粉). ½ tsp to marinate the shrimp, ½ tsp to marinate the meat (the pork and chicken cubes are marinated together).
Salt. ¼ tsp to marinate the shrimp, ¼ tsp to marinate the meat, ½ tsp for the sauce/seasoning liquid.
Sugar. ½ tsp to marinate the meat, 1 tsp for the sauce/seasoning liquid.
Stock concentrate (鸡汁), 1 tsp. For the sauce/seasoning liquid. Whenever you see these in one of our recipes, know that you can sub with bullion powder (half tsp powder for every one tsp concentrate). We usually opt for concentrate because there’s some producers here in China that make some awesome high quality stock concentrates – if you’re just using Knorr, there wouldn’t really be too much of a quality difference between powder and concentrate.
Liaojiu (料酒), 1 tsp. A.k.a. Shaoxing wine, Huangjiu, Chinese Rice Cooking Wine.
MSG (味精), 1/8 tsp. Just a sprinkle. This is optional I guess, but we’re sort of fully on the MSG train now. A little goes a long way, and you want it in the background playing off the other ingredients. If you’re outside China I believe ‘Accent’ is a brand of MSG that’s available at most supermarkets, or you could sub in some bullion powder which also usually contains MSG unless explicitly stated otherwise.
Lard (猪油). For frying. You could really fry with any sort of oil you want… but this was our first time frying rice with lard and jesus, it’s delicious. I know sometimes you can find lard at the supermarket, but it’s pretty easy to make… so check the note on ‘how to make lard’ in the notes below if you don’t already know how.
Soak your dried ingredients. As we mentioned above, if you’re on a standard sort of work schedule, setting them out in the morning in room temperature water might be a good idea to have them ready for dinnertime. Otherwise, set them in hot, boiled water for 2-3 hours.
Make/prepare your rice. If using leftover white rice, remember to spread it out on a plate and let it dry overnight. If you’re going all out and just making some rice specifically for this dish… cook it at a dry ratio of 1.2 parts Jasmine rice to 1 part water, then spread it out over a plate to help the steam dissipate. Once the rice is cool, it’s ready to cook.
Dice the pork, the chicken, the ham, and the bamboo shoots. Get the reconstituted mushrooms into a small dice, cut each shrimp into three pieces, and cut the scallop into 4-5 small pieces. Lots of dicing. When you’re working with the dried scallop, what you’re looking to do is make one cut against the grain of the scallop. This’ll make it easy for the scallop to sort of ‘crumble apart’ into a couple pieces when you press it.
Marinate the shrimp, the chicken and pork, and prepare the sauce/seasoning liquid. For our marinades we’re using some dry marinades – for fried rice, we really wanna control how much liquid’s going into the dish. The shrimp we’re marinating with ¼ tsp salt and a ½ tsp cornstarch, the chicken and pork is mixed together and marinated with ¼ tsp salt, ½ tsp cornstarch, and also a ½ tsp sugar. The sauce/seasoning liquid is a mix of three tbsp of that reserved soaking water, ½ tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, and the stock concentrate, liaojiu, and MSG.
Longyau, then fry the shrimp. As always, first longyau - get that wok piping hot (hot enough where your hand would be noticeably uncomfortable holding it an inch or two above the bottom of the wok), shut off the heat, add in your oil (here we use lard as the cooking oil), and give it a thorough swirl to get a nice non-stick surface. The basic idea of the longyau is that heating it up will evaporate the moisture and humidity from the surface of the wok, allowing the oil to cling to the carbon steel and create a non-stick surface wherever it’s swirled to (disclaimer: not a chemist). Once you’re finished with that longyau process, you turn on your flame to the desired temperature and immediately add in the ingredient – here, for the shrimp we want medium-high. Stir fry for about a minute until the shrimp are done and have changed color, then take them out and set them aside.
Fry the meats, the dried mushrooms and scallops, the ham, the peas and bamboo shoots, then cook it together with your sauce/seasoning liquid. So these are going to be added in stages as they each have different cooking times. Sticking on medium-high, first toss in the chicken and pork (fry for roughly a minute), then add in the dried mushrooms and scallops (fry for roughly 30 seconds), then the ham (another 30 second fry), and finally the peas and bamboo shoots (fry for roughly one more minute). Then, up the heat to high and add in the sauce/seasoning liquid. Once that liquid comes up to a boil, shut off the heat and take everything all out, liquid included – note that the liquid’ll be, well, liquid-y… we’re not looking for thickening or anything.
Longyau, then fry the egg. That longyau process is gunna be especially important when frying rice, as rice sticking to the wok is like the worst nightmare of cooks everywhere. This time, after longyau put the flame to medium-low and toss in two thoroughly whisked eggs. Give em a scramble for about a minute or so… once some curds’ve started to form, you’re ready to add in the rice.
Toss in the rice together with the egg, fry over high heat, then add back the rest of the ingredients. Now up the heat to high and add in the rice. The technique for frying rice is to alternate between two motions: (1) pressing down on the rice with the spatula to break down the clumps and (2) scraping and pulling up from the bottom to prevent sticking. I know my words are sort of failing me here, so check out 5:12 in the video for a visual. What we want is for the rice to dry out a bit and loosen up into clear, separate individual grains. The rice’ll be done once the grains of rice are loose enough to sort of ‘flow’ off your spatula, but the timing will depend on how dry your rice was initially (for the rice we used in the video that was about three minutes, but super-moist takeout rice might even need like double that). Then, add back the stir-fry we made in step #6. Fry them together for about a minute til there’s no liquid remaining, then add in the shrimp and the green onions. Give it a quick mix, then serve.
A note on other Yangzhou Fried Rice Ingredients:
We were following that old-school cookbook pretty closely here, so we feel compelled to tell you what else was on their full ingredient list.
First thing they were asking for that we didn’t use was dried and reconstituted sea cucumber. Sea cucumber’s nice but certainly ain’t cheap, and we didn’t really feel like dropping a few hundred CNY for testing out this recipe. Add it in if you like, they’ll impart a real nice texture if you’re into that sort of thing.
Second thing we didn’t use was chicken liver. Diced chicken liver’s pretty tasty in stir-fried rice, but we didn’t add them in… mostly due to laziness. Our local market has chicken liver, but you gotta get there real early (like before 7:30) else they sell out.
A note on how to make lard:
Now the way I make lard isn’t necessarily interesting, or have any special Chinese technique to it or anything. If you find me confusing, there’s also like a million tutorials good out there about how to make it.
Get some pork fat… cut any little scraps of meat you might see off it, and wash away any blood. Cut the fat into rough cubes, put em in a large pot, and pour some water in until it’s just covering the cubes. Put it on a high enough heat to get the water to a real hefty simmer. Once the water’s basically evaporated (after
20 minutes), lower the heat to low to let the oil render out from the pork fat (should take 40-60 minutes). Stir periodically to make sure the fat’s not sticking to the bottom.
Once you get a solid chunk of oil and the fat’s shrunk significantly, strain the oil. Slightly cheaper for us than other sorts of non-blended oils, and a really tasty oil to fry with. Supposedly healthier than butter too (though I guess that’s not saying much).
1. Heat some cooking oil in a wok. Add the beaten eggs and fry them on a medium heat. After the eggs have set, break them up into small pieces. Remove the egg mixture from the wok and place it onto a plate.
2. Add some cooking oil to the wok. Add the mushrooms, corn kernels, carrots, cucumber, red bell pepper, and sausage, and stir-fry them briefly.
3. Add the fried egg mixture to the rest of the ingredients in the wok along with the cooked rice, and stir-fry evenly. Add some salt and continue to stir-fry until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
4. Serve the Yangzhou fried rice on a dish for sharing or into a bowl for one person.
The fried rice is probably best recognized worldwide as a staple dish in Chinese restaurants. It is a combination of leftover or precooked rice, fried in oil with a variety of other ingredients. Fried rice is also a staple dish in many Asian cuisines, though ingredients from a country or even a region of a country, to be materially different to others.
In American Chinese restaurants fried rice is often a combination of rice, peas or carrots and small amounts of pork or chicken. You can order the dish often with only pork or chicken. Many restaurants include a bit of seafood in recipes and label fried rice with mixed meats as a house special -. Recipes may include a bit of scrambled egg addition. This convenient and delicious way of preparation of leftover rice and meat is perhaps the most famous type of fried rice in the world and Yangzhou fried rice or Yangchow rice.