As with most stir fried dishes, the prep time for this shrimp fried rice with broccoli and cauliflower is twice as long as the cooking time. But since it only takes a mere seven minutes or so to cook this dish, the combined preparation and cooking time is not really all that long.
We had this shrimp fried rice with broccoli and cauliflower for dinner last night. After staying away from crustaceans for decades because of an allergy, I am finally able to eat shrimps so long as the heads are removed and discarded prior to cooking. That might sound sacrilegious considering that most of the flavors are concentrated in the head but it’s either no heads or no shrimps at all for me.
The curious thing is that my former inability to digest shrimps seems to have transferred to Alex. She has enjoyed shrimps all her life but, recently, she can eat a piece or two shrimps and no more than that. We’re hoping though that since I overcame my almost life-long inability to digest shrimps properly, so will she. In time.
But broccoli and cauliflower in a fried rice dish? Carrot and sweet peas are the most popular choices, I know. But why go popular when you can create something better? If you’re just craving for shrimp fried rice, you can always order take-out from the nearest Chinese restaurant. Your shrimp fried rice will have small shrimps (probably cut in half to give the impression that there are more shrimps in the dish), and a smattering of bright orange (carrot), green (peas) and yellow (egg). Fried rice, after all, originated as a way to make good use of bits and pieces of leftover ingredients.
But if you want a shrimp fried rice that’s good enough of a one-dish meal, you had better cook it at home. Choose not-so-small shrimps and the best combination of vegetables. Instead of adding vegetables merely for color, treat them as a main feature that is just as important as the shrimps. Broccoli and cauliflower are my choices because they are delicious, nutritious and, when not overcooked, they retain their crispness that contrast vividly with the creaminess of the eggs and rice.
I used fresh shrimps for this fried rice. I pulled out the heads (gave them to the cats), then shelled and deveined them. That’s why the prep time is as long as 15 minutes. You may, of course, use frozen shrimps from the grocery that have been shelled and deveined. That should cut down the prep time to about five minutes. We rarely buy frozen shrimps only because there are two of us in the family who are hypersensitive to shrimps. We go for fresh ones—the freshest ones we can get our hands on—to minimize any chance of adverse digestive reaction. If you’re confident about the freshness of the frozen shrimps from your grocery, go ahead and use them.
For those who prefer fresh whole shrimps, there are two ways to devein them. One is by slitting the back; the other is by using a toothpick to pry out the vein. I slit the back of the shrimps to cook this fried rice but it is entirely up to you which technique to use for removing the vein.
- 300 to 400 grams fresh whole shrimps
- 3 cloves garlic
- 12 stalks scallions
- 1/2 carrot
- 1/2 small head cauliflower
- 1/2 small head broccoli
- 2 to 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 generous drizzle rice wine
- 2 to 3 cups cooked rice
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 heaping tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 heaping tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame seed oil
Toss the shelled and deveined shrimps with a few pinches of salt and pepper
Peel and mince the garlic.
Finely slice the scallions. Divide into two portions.
Peel the carrot and cut into small pieces; a quarter inch cube is a good size.
Cut the cauliflower and broccoli into small florets.
Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan.
Pour in the beaten eggs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook just until set. Scoop out and move to the chopping board. Finely slice or roughly chop.
Reheat the oil to smoking point. Sear the shrimps, about 15 seconds on each sides. Scoop out and set aside.
Reheat the oil over medium heat. Saute the garlic and one portion of scallions for about half a minute.
Turn up the heat. Add the chopped carrot, broccoli and cauliflower florets. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss a few times ti lightly sear. Pour in the rice wine. Cook the vegetables until the liquid has evaporated, about one minute.
Return the shrimps to the pan. Toss. Cook just until heated through.
Add the rice to the shrimps and vegetables. Pour in the soy, oyster and hoisin sauces. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Stir fry just until the rice is heated through.
Turn off the heat. Add the eggs to the fried rice. Drizzle in the sesame seed oil. Toss a few times to blend. Taste, adjust the seasonings, if needed.
Sprinkle the shrimp fried rice with the remaining scallions and serve immediately.