I have what could be called an infatuation with fried rice, but have never stopped and thought through every step until I came across this recipe from Eileen Yin-Fei Lo's Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking. It's one of the most meticulous accounts of fried-rice-making I've ever seen. It features a marinade and a sauce, and a fairly complex set of instructions, which has you turning the heat up and down often. Luckily the results were worth all of the fussy instructions.
To be sure, it looks like a lot of ingredients, but many of the ingredients in the marinade are used again in the sauce. The only trouble I ran into was how to find a Chinese sugar ham. Lo has a recipe for it in the book, and while it isn't exactly the hardest thing to create, you will have to buy a ham shank, cure it, then baste it with sugar. Not exactly perfect for a weeknight meal. I took a short cut and just used some hickory smoked bacon—I figured it would have a little sweetness already. To keep the rice from getting too greasy, I cooked the bacon first, and drained away most of the fat.
- For the marinade
- 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
- 3/4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons rice wine
- 3/4 teaspoon sugar
- pinch of white pepper
- For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- pinch of white pepper
- For the fried rice:
- 1 cup bacon, diced
- 1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled, tails removed
- 6 cups cooked white rice, at room temperature
- 3 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 5 large eggs, beaten
- 5 scallions, ends trimmed, thinly sliced
For the marinade: Whisk together all marinade ingredients in medium-sized bowl.
For the sauce: Whisk together all the sauce ingredients together in another medium-sized bowl.
For the fried rice: Slice the shrimp in half lengthwise then crosswise. Add shrimp to bowl with sauce. Toss to coat. Set aside for 20 minutes.
Place wok over high heat until lightly smoking. Add bacon. Stir-fry until much of the fat has rendered off and bacon begins to crisp up, one to two minutes. Turn off heat, spoon out bacon, and drain on paper towel-lined plate. Transfer all but 1/2 tablespoon of fat to another container and save for another use.
Turn heat back to high. Swirl in 1 tablespoon of peanut oil. When it begins to smoke, add eggs. Scramble with wooden spoon. Cook, stirring continuously, until eggs are firm, about one minute. Turn off heat, and transfer eggs to plate. Break up eggs pieces into small pieces.
Rinse out wok and dry, then place over high heat. Pour in 2 ½ tablespoons of peanut oil, and heat until smoking. Add shrimp and marinade. Stir-fry until shrimp is no longer pink, about one minute.
Add rice and stir well. Reduce heat to medium, and stir-fry until the rice is very hot, about four minutes. Turn heat back up to high, and add sauce. Stir constantly for one minute. Then reduce heat to medium, and cook until the rice coated with sauce, about one more minute. Add bacon, eggs and scallions. Cook until eggs are warm, about one more minute. Serve.