casaveneracion.com Yang Chow (Yeung Chow, Yang Zhou) fried rice

Yang Chow (Yeung Chow, Yang Zhou) fried rice

Browse through the menu of any Chinese restaurant in Manila and, among the fried rice items, Yang Chow fried rice is likely to be the most expensive. It’s not because it is more difficult to make — fried rice is just a stir fried dish made with cold rice and leftover meat, seafood and vegetables, and the cooking procedure doesn’t vary much from one fried rice dish to another. Yang chow is more expensive than others because of economics. Pork and shrimp, both Yang Chow staples, do not exactly come cheap.

Ordering Yang Chow fried rice in the Philippines has become a sort of strange ritual. Like, eating a Chinese meal is no good unless all the highly-seasoned dishes are accompanied by Yang Chow. And I have to admit that I’m guilty of this ritual. It has become automatic to order Yang Chow fried rice in a Chinese restaurant to accompany an array of saucy dishes and stir fries although it is a different story at home which I will talk about more later.

The curious thing is that in traditional Chinese cooking Yang Chow fried rice and all similar fried rice dishes are considered to be peasant food made with scraps of leftovers, a small amount of vegetables, and basic seasonings and spices. A stand alone dish. A complete meal because it has everything in it already — grain, seafood or meat or both, vegetables and seasoning. Traditionally, when the Chinese eat all those highly seasoned meat and seafood dishes, they are accompanied by plain steamed fluffy white rice which is neutral enough in taste so that it does not compete with the flavors of the main dishes.

Fried rice, along with egg foo yong (torta, in Filipino terminology) and chow mien (any variety of stir fried noodles that, in the Philippines, are all known by the generic name “pancit canton”), are inventions brought about by frugal practices. Waste nothing — leftovers can be transformed into totally new and tasty dishes. Be creative — a little meat, seafood and vegetables can be stretched by a good cook to feed an army, if need be.

At home, it is not uncommon for my family to eat fried rice and nothing else. It’s one of the two ways I deal with leftovers, the other being the ubiquitous torta which my daughters aren’t really very fond of. And fried rice is something I resort to when I only have about 15 minutes to prepare a meal. Of course, my home version of Chinese fried rice is such that with every mouthful, one gets a substantial amount of meat or seafood or both. And I like using a lot of vegetables, in different colors or shapes or both, to make the dish more visually appealing.

It’s a practice that many people find strange (I’ve had a friend ask once if we eat fried rice and nothing else because we’re in dire financial straits) but my daughters love fried rice. Even for school lunch boxes, it has always been one of their most requested dishes. And fried rice is such a practical thing to pack too. It requires only one container and it is convenient to eat. No need to deal with bones or cutting large chunks of meat. A spoon or a fork will do.

And so it was that, last Saturday, lunch was Yang Chow fried rice and miso soup. And nothing else. And my daughters and husband ate happily.

Yang Chow fried rice, like all other Chinese fried rice dishes, demands no strict list of ingredients. As it has become popular in restaurants, however, char siu (barbecued) pork, shrimp bits, green peas, scallions and eggs have become staples. Here’s how you can make Yang Chow fried rice at home. Good for four.

casaveneracion.com Yang Chow (Yeung Chow, Yang Zhou) fried rice

Ingredients

  • 4 c. of cold cooked rice, sprinkled with a little water and stirred to separate the grains
    ½ c. of chopped char siu pork (see note at the end)
    ½ c. of chopped fresh shrimps
    1 pc. of Chinese sausage (longganisa Macau), roughly chopped
    ½ c. of sweet peas (thawed and drained if frozen)
    a bunch of scallions (onion leaves), cut into one-inch lengths
    3 eggs, lightly beaten
    salt and pepper, to taste
    2 tbsps. of peanut (or soya or vegetable) oil
    2 tbsps. of oyster sauce (optional)
    a drizzle of sesame seed oil

Instructions

  1. Method 1: Heat the cooking oil in a wok. Add the pork and sausage and stir fry for about 30 seconds or just until heated through. Add the shrimps and peas and cook until the shrimps change color. Add the rice. Season with salt and pepper; pour in the oyster sauce, if using. Stir gently but thoroughly and cook until the rice is hot. Pour in the beaten eggs. When the eggs are partially set, sit and continue cooking until the eggs are cooked through. Drizzle with sesame seed oil and stir before serving.

    Method 2: Heat the cooking oil, pour in the eggs and cook just until set. Lift with a slotted spoon and cut into fine strips. Continue as above. Add the eggs just before drizzling with sesame seed oil.

Quick Notes

You can make char siu pork by marinating pork shoulder in a mixture of hoisin sauce, light soy sauce, rice wine, honey and five spice powder (or use bottled char siu paste). Roast in an oven until done. Brush with more honey while hot. Slice thinly to serve. Click here for the full char siu pork recipe.

Cooking time (duration): 10 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 4

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Comments

  1. says

    “Yang chow is more expensive than others because of economics.”

    So true, admittedly there is a world of difference between eating plain rice with your chinese food and eating yang chow.

  2. mamsi says

    You are right Miss Connie.. Fried rice is a delicious one dish meal.. And so easy to cook too.. My brother always says that yang chow fried rice is one of his comfort meals..
    I think it’s the chinese sausage that gives it that distinct taste. Last saturday, i bought a quarter kilo of chinese sausage (6 pieces) from one of the vendors at SALCEDO market. I Used two pcs. in cooking fried rice the next day.. I must say that the dish tasted as good as fried rice ordered from a chinese restaurant..(minus the MSG )

    Am going to SALCEDO market tomorrow and will buy more…

  3. says

    I am guilty of the same thing myself, beef broccoli or sweet and sour pork in chinese restaurants would not taste great if they are not paired with yang chow fried rice…makes me hungry already. I love chinese food, they are very satisfying…

  4. Pao says

    hi ms connie. i cooked this last saturday and it was a hit. ubos! thanks for such a great and helpful site. :D

  5. emy M says

    I can’t stop laughing.I was just curious about
    the Yang chow fried rice that I read at your
    newer post.When I googled it…I’m back at your
    blog.hahahaha
    Although my children always order fried rice
    at the Chinese resto I don’t eat it.My version
    is better,so I was told.(naks naman)
    I always use Chinese sausage also and shrimps
    but not oyster sauce.Gotta try.

    • says

      If you’re using the Google custom search at the top of the page, it should really bring you to another page in the blog. But if you’re using a general Google search, well, Google must love me hehehe

  6. merly says

    hi connie, every time we throw a party at home i always cook paella but i got tired of it. so last saturday “pacman fight,” i just cooked plain rice and left with left-overs. since i’ve got all the ingredients handy, i showed my husband your recipe and we decided to try your yang chow rice recipe and used left-over bratwurst (which i served for appetizer)and presto! It was so easy and soooo good!

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