My family’s Chinese takeout restaurant featured a variety of fried rice dishes, but the shrimp fried rice was always a customer favorite. We always peeled shrimp to keep up with the quart orders of Shrimp Fried Rice that came through. The dish was so well received that we pre-boiled 10 pounds at a time to ensure enough for everyone.
Shrimp For Fried Rice: What Kind Should I Use?
Our jumbo shrimp will have to wait for another dish, so we’re using medium shrimp in this fried rice.
You probably already know this, but shrimp at Chinese takeout joints tend to be on the smaller side (70 to 90 size), while those at fancier establishments often serve larger, jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 size).
In case you’re curious, I learned during my summers working in the kitchen that these quantities are referred to as “the count” because they reveal how many shrimp are contained within one pound.
Fried Rice’s Color
The fried rice has changed color over time, another interesting aspect of this Shrimp Fried Rice. My parents’ first fried rice in the United States was a deep brown color from a combination of dark and light soy sauces and thick soy sauce. This dark, thick soy sauce gets its name from adding molasses to the regular soy sauce recipe.
It may have fallen out of favor because some people didn’t care for the faint molasses aftertaste. Because of the widespread use of yellow food coloring as a color agent in restaurants, fried rice has long since acquired its distinctive pale yellow hue.
We use a combination of soy sauces and turmeric to give our Shrimp Fried Rice its vibrant yellow color and robust flavor.
Should Cold Rice Be Used If It’s All That’s Left Over?
To put it briefly, the answer is no.
When making fried rice, leftover white rice works well, but what if there isn’t any? Do you decide against indulging in fried rice on that particular day?
There will be no going back on this! Don’t try to suppress your appetite. No one has time for such nonsense now.
The skills you’ll learn working in restaurants will come in handy here. The rice for fried rice dishes is, of course, pre-cooked in restaurants. How inefficient it would be if that weren’t the case!
The rice is precooked with soy sauce, seasonings, and a touch less water to produce freshly cooked rice, ready to be incorporated into the Shrimp Fried Rice dish. No longer will you have to stress over whether or not your next order of Shrimp Fried Rice will taste like it did when it arrived at your door. Come on, folks, let’s whip up some food!
For The Rice:
- 2 cups of uncooked jasmine rice
- 1½ cups of water
- 1 tbsp. of dark soy sauce
- 2 tsp. of light soy sauce
- ½ tsp. of turmeric
For The Dish:
- 3 tbsp. of canola oil(divided)
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- 12 oz. of shrimp (340g, 51 to 60 size, peeled and deveined)
- 1 medium onion (diced)
- ¼ tsp. of salt (or to taste)
- ¼ tsp. of sugar
- ¼ tsp. of sesame oil
- ¼ tsp. of ground white pepper
- 1 cup of snow peas (chopped)
- 1 scallion (chopped)
- 1 tbsp. of Shaoxing wine
- The rice should first be washed and the excess water drained. In a rice cooker or heavy-bottomed pot, combine the drained rice with 1 1/2 cups water, the soy sauces, and the turmeric powder. Follow our steps for perfect rice every time, or push a button if you have a rice cooker. You should get one if you love rice but still need a rice cooker.
- A rice paddle or fork can fluff the rice once it has finished cooking. You will notice the rice has turned out to be a uniform shade of golden brown. This rice can be eaten immediately, stored in the fridge, and eaten the next day. Using a cold, refrigerated rice necessitates a few extra steps, including breaking the grains apart with your hands before cooking, adding a bit of water, and covering the pan while cooking to ensure the rice is heated all the way through.
- The “fried” part of this fried rice will now be prepared. Turn the heat to medium-high in your wok. Scramble the eggs with a tablespoon of oil until they are just set. Make bite-sized morsels out of the big chunks by chopping them up with your spatula. As soon as they appear to be finished cooking, you can begin scooping them up, returning them to the mixing bowl, and putting them aside. They’ll get second cooking in the rice.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil until it smokes around the edge of the wok. Sear the shrimp for 20 seconds on each side after spreading them out in a single layer. Fry the shrimp in a wok until they turn opaque, then return them to their bowl and set aside. They will be re-cooked in the rice. Restaurants typically pre-boil their shrimp before using them in shrimp fried rice because of the high volume required (like they do for shrimp cocktail). Faster service is achieved by having wok cooks grab handfuls of the shrimp that have already been cooked for each order, but the better flavor is achieved by briefly searing the shrimp before serving.
- Add the remaining oil to the wok and heat it over medium-high heat; then, add the onions and cook them until they become translucent.
- After adding the rice, use the metal spatula to spread and separate any clumps. Five more minutes of stir-frying should be enough to warm the rice, turn the heat down a notch, cover, and let the steam do some of the work to get the rice to a more agreeable temperature in about a minute.
- Using a scooping motion, season the rice with salt, sugar, sesame oil, and freshly ground white pepper once it has reached the proper temperature (this is important so that the sauce incorporates, and the rice retains a uniform color). Stir-fry the mixture for another 30 seconds before adding the shrimp and snow peas.
- Stir-fry the rice for 30 seconds after adding the eggs and scallions. Move the rice to the center of the wok and allow the outer edges to heat up. Spread the Shaoxing wine around the edge of the wok after about 20 seconds, and continue to stir-fry for another 20 seconds. The secret to that authentic Chinese restaurant’s fried rice is a dash of wok hei.
- Prepare and serve!