The "Riso alla Cantonese", which in Chinese is called 扬州炒饭, is one of the best-known Chinese fried rice over the world. It is a dish consists of stir-fried rice, eggs, hams, shrimps, carrots, peas, and other vegetables. Read this recipe and find out how to prepare it at your home in a few simple steps.
THE NAME 'RISO ALLA CANTONESE'
I was very confused when first time heard the Italian name of this dish: riso alla CANTONESE?! Because this dish was not from Canton (Guangdong) province. In fact it is called 扬州炒饭 in Chinese (Yangzhou fried rice), which states the origin of this dish. Yangzhou is a city in the province of Jiangsu. It is an antique center in the east China, where the cuisine belongs to Huaiyang cuisine.
Records can be traced back to thousand years ago that the fishmen on the Huaiyang Canal had been cooking fried rice on the boat. Their common practice was to stir-fry the left-over rice from lunch together with scramble eggs and ate it for dinner. When it arrived to the Qing Dynasty, a regional magistrate of Yangzhou added other ingredients into the fried rice to make it the prototype of today's Yangzhou fried rice (according to Baidu).
But due to the fact that nowadays the most popular Chinese restaurants overseas are with Cantonese style, such as Dim Sum restaurant, and almost all of them serve this dish, hence it is known as 'riso alla Cantonese'.
THE INGREDIENTS IN THE RISO ALLA CANTONESE
With the gaining of its popularity, the 'riso alla Cantonese' has been modified into various versions. Depending on where you eat this dish, the recipe could be different. However, there are certain staple ingredients that are un-replaceable in order to differentiate it from other fried rice: cooked rice, egg, ham (or pork), shrimps, vegetables such as carrots, peas, corn.
When prepare it at home, you could eliminate one of two elements, or adjust the portion of each ingredient. It is actually the beauty and fun part in making fried rice.
HOW TO MAKE FLUFFY & GOLDEN FRIED RICE
Different from the Italian risotto, the Chinese fried rice is meant to be dry. In fact, the fluffy texture is a key character for a properly cooked fried rice. At the same time, it would be even better if each grain is wrapped with egg, which gives this dish a golden color.
USE THE LEFT-OVER RICE
It is recommended to use the over-night left-over Basmati rice rather than the freshly cooked one. It is because after left in the fridge for hours, the humidity inside the rice is reduced. For this reason, it will be less sticky and easier to handle when we stir-fry.
SCRAMBLE THE EGG WHITE SEPARATELY
I prefer to separate the egg yolk and the white, then cook them in different steps. I use the yolk as a tint to give the rice a golden color. For this reason I would mix the yolk with the rice before stir-frying it.
RISO ALLA CANTONESE 扬州炒饭Course: SECOND COURSECuisine: ChineseDifficulty: Media
Basmati rice (cooked): 350g
Carrots: 150g (around 2)
- Cut the shrimps to small pieces (skip it if you use small shrimps) and marinate them with 1 tbsp of soy sauce and 2g of white pepper.
- If you use frozen peas, remember to defrost in advance.
- Peel the carrots and cut them into small cubes.
- Cut the ham into small cubes. (You could replace ham by other cured meat, such as speck, salami, pancetta, sausage, etc.)
- Break two eggs and separate the yolk and white. Mix the yolk with the rice evenly.
- Heat up a wok (or a skillet) with some sunflower oil. Scramble the egg white then take it out from the wok.
- Add in more oil, add the ham into the wok and stir-fry it until the color turns white.
- Add in the carrots, 2 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tbsp of oyster sauce. Stir-fry until the carrots are almost cooked.
- Add in the shrimps and peas. Keep stir-frying for 1 minute.
- Add in the rice (which is evenly mixed with yolk). Stir-fry everything meanwhile mix well all ingredients.
- When everything in the wok is cooked, put back the scrambled egg white and mix it well with everything.
- Add some salt and sprinkle some chopped scallion. ENJOY IT!
- Portion of each ingredient can be adjusted according to personal preference. Don't be afraid to play with it by replacing or adding in other ingredients, such as corn, pine nuts, beans, zucchini, etc.