Chinese Style Shrimp Fried Rice
When my sisters and I were kids going out to eat wasn’t really a thing. “Why would we eat out when there is fresh food at home?” as my mother would always say. My mom cooked almost every day of the week and when she didn’t, leftovers from the day before were on the menu for the night. Or, my dad would grill up some kabobs and Iraqi style chicken. On the off night we’d splurge and go out to eat, my parents’ idea of trying something “new” was venturing to the local Persian or Middle Eastern restaurant where we would eat, yet again, more Middle Eastern food. On even rarer occasions, if my parents were headed to a party or out with friends, and we were left to our own devices, we would order Chinese takeout and we’d be thrilled! Chicago is a melting pot of culture and cuisine and, if you’ve ever grown up there like my sisters and I did, you’d have your very own, tried and true, local Chinese take-out joint around the corner from you where you know what your favorites are without so much as needing to look at a menu. GIVE ME ALL THE MSG! We’d order 3 or 4 different dishes, Mongolian Beef, Pork Egg Rolls, Cashew Chicken or whatever else piqued our interest… but ALWAYS a large order of Shrimp Fried Rice and always with a dollop of tart, sweet and peppery HP Sauce. Sidebar: if you don’t know what HP Sauce is, this handy international sauce guide, by Thrillist, can help. It also explains why Hoisin is an essential condiment which we will be using! Anywho, We would divide up our containers amongst us, plant ourselves on the carpet right in front of the tv, and pick a new movie to watch. It’s one of my fondest memories with my sisters.
We’re all grown up now which means fried rice for everyone! My version of Shrimp Fried Rice tastes just as I remember it, like takeout…but better! However, after researching different methods and combining them with my own variations, I’ve managed to make this recipe easy to follow, very quick to cook, and really great for successful execution every time.
There are a few notes that will help you make a really good tasting fried rice:
Use Brown Rice
I used brown rice in this recipe for a few reasons;
-being a whole grain, brown rice is healthier than using traditional white rice for a multitude of health benefits including lowering bad cholesterol, reducing risks of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and so on.
-the grains are chewier in texture and hold their individual shape better which makes for better frying and eliminates the need for using leftover rice so you don’t have to plan ahead!
-you can get away with using way less butter or oil so you won’t be eating greasy fried rice
-you can use microwaveable brown rice without microwaving it. Just open up the packaging and dump into your wok! This is the style I’m referring to. I always keep 2-4 bags in my pantry since they come in handy all the time.
Use seasonings, fats and sauces sparingly
In my recipe video, which you will find below… you can see I’m adding a little oil or butter at a time between frying up batches of my ingredients. It may seem like a lot but the squirt bottle I use has a very fine tip and only lets out a little stream of oil out at a time. In my recipe print out and video, I estimated the amount of oil used. I don’t want to say “you have to use exactly this much oil” as I think with fried rice, the pan, heat variances etc., will change how much oil you do need. Use it sparingly and use the butter only where you want to add velvety texture and richness. I will say adding a pat of butter to your egg, shrimp and rice is really all the butter you’ll need to use.
Also, since soy is already salty and the diced ham in this recipe adds salt, you really don’t need to add much more seasoning to your recipe. The shrimp will need to be salted lightly and your eggs should also be salted slightly. Remember, if you over do it, you will have a really salty dish on your hands. Additionally, don’t feel the need to keep adding more soy sauce than listed. If you add too much soy, you will end up with a soggy, overly s salted mess of a dish
Let’s talk about your spices. Chinese 5 spice powder is really potent. A pinch does the job so remember to be mindful of what the recipe calls for or you will have a really over powering flavor of cinnamon and the rest of the ingredients will lose their flavor power. The beauty of fried rice is that it is one main entree all confined to a bowl. A less is more approach is what you need with the seasonings and spices so that all of your ingredients shine through and play off of eachother in this dish.
Prep your ingredients beforehand - this is essential!
Avoid feeling stressed or rushed by making sure you get all of your ingredients measured out, chopped, and/or mixed before cooking. This recipe is deceptively quick. You do not want to be frantically trying to prep your ingredients while cooking and you can avoid burning some of your ingredients or forgetting to add a certain ingredient.
While we are talking ingredient points - don’t skip out on the Hoisin Sauce in this recipe. Hoisin sauce is kind of like a ‘secret’ ingredient that makes the fried rice give it that takeout mood, if you will. It has a sweet and umami flavor punch. My go-to hoisin is this Gluten Free one because I can make entire meals gluten free without worrying about one little addition of an ingredient.
Make a big batch! - You won’t regret it
Even if you are not feeding a large family or hosting dinner for 7 of your closest friends, make a big batch and freeze it in individual containers! You can take lunches to work, have a ready meal for nights you don’t feel like cooking or eat it as a side dish throughout the week. You will never not make a large batch again! You’re welcome.
And because I’m a fan of visuals, I’ve made a handy dandy recipe video for you!
scroll to the bottom for the recipe how-to video
Let’s get started, shall we?
Chinese Style Shrimp Fried Rice
Serves 6-8 Prep – 10 Min Cook Time – 20 min
Print this recipe here - (or you could save paper and just bookmark this recipe on your phone!)
4 Tbs Oil/3 Tbs butter (estimated - use sparingly between batches)
2 8.8 oz bags prepared brown Rice/18 oz leftover cooked brown rice
10 oz large shrimp – deveined and chopped into bite size pieces
4-6 oz diced ham (I know the video says 6 oz but about half the package is what you should aim for)
3 eggs – lightly beaten
1 onion – chopped
3 cloves garlic – crushed
1 cup broccoli
1 cup frozen peas, carrots, corn
Soy Mix: 3 tbs soy – (tamari for gluten free) 1 tbs sesame oil, 1 tbs rice vinegar all combined in a small dish
1 tbs gluten free hoisin sauce
½ tsp ginger powder
¼ tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
1 bunch scallions – greens and white divided and sliced thin
Step 1: Place a large sauté pan or wok on medium heat. Add 1 tbs oil and a small pat of butter (about ½ tbs) Add lightly beaten eggs and gently scramble. Once set, remove and place in a large dish.
Step 2: Add diced ham and stir-fry 2-3 minutes until golden. Remove and add to egg dish. On Medium-High heat Add 1 tbs of the butter and add shrimp. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add 1 clove crushed garlic. Stir-fry 4-6 minutes or until shrimp is just cooked through and opaque. Transfer with juices to large dish and set aside.
Step 3: return wok to fire on medium and add ½ tbs of oil. Add onions and stir fry 1-2 minutes. Add broccoli and stir-fry an additional minute. Add cabbage and stir-fry another 2-3 minutes. Transfer to large dish.
Step 4: return wok to fire and add ½ tbs oil. Add cooked rice, 1 tbs of butter, and remaining garlic. Season with ginger and 5 spice powder. Stir-fry 2-3 minutes letting some of the rice caramelize. Return all cooked ingredients that were set aside back into the wok and gently mix. Add frozen vegetables and gently combine. Add soy sauce mixture and hoisin. Incorporate into the fried rice, mixing well. Turn off heat, add scallion whites and half of the scallion greens and combine into the rice.
Garnish with hot chili sauce and top with more scallion greens. Enjoy!
Chinese Style Shrimp Fried Rice Video How-to
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