Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fried Rice with Chicken and Chinese Sausage

When I was younger I hated fried rice.  I'm not sure why I hated it, except that (1) I loved plain white rice and I thought putting things in it or on it (including soy sauce) ruined it and (2) I disliked cooked carrots and peas so I couldn't understand why you would add them to any dish.  It took me years to grow to appreciate fried rice and even now, I have to admit that I prefer plain white rice with any meal.  I'm happy to eat fried rice as a meal in and of itself, but if I am going to order family-style and share a bunch of dishes with friends or family, I would prefer to stick with plain white rice as the accompaniment to my meal and not fried rice.  True story.  So I almost never order fried rice at a restaurant because I just don't see the point.  Somehow it is an entirely different story at home, where we make fried rice from time to time.  But I think that fried rice serves a purpose for me at home that it doesn't serve at a restaurant.  Fried rice for me is an amazing way to repurpose leftovers (both rice and protein) and is also a comforting, homey meal.  At restaurants I generally want meals that I cannot or for whatever reason prefer not to make at home.  Somehow in my mind, fried rice is not a restaurant-quality dish.  And to be perfectly honest, so many restaurants make such inferior, mediocre fried rice that I wouldn't order it even if I considered it to be a restaurant-quality dish.  I guess that's the rice snob in me rearing its ugly head.  This fried rice is wonderful because it has a variety of flavors and textures - I love the chunks of egg, the sweet sausage and the marinated chicken.  And you can really modify it to suit whatever it is that you have in the fridge.  No peas?  No problem.  I considered adding some dried shiitake mushrooms like we did in this Stir-Fried Rice with Pork and Shiitake Mushrooms, but I got lazy.  I also considered adding more soy sauce or other liquids to season the rice itself like we did in this Thai Fried Rice and this Fried Rice with Chinese Sausage and Chicken Adobo.  But I generally prefer my fried rice on the dry side and I wanted a more clean/pure fried rice, so I left the soy sauce out as well.

Recipe after the jump!

Fried Rice with Chicken and Chinese Sausage

2 small chicken breasts or 1 large (about 1/2 lb), thinly sliced
1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
1 tbsp light soy
ground white pepper
2 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp)
3 tsp fresh ginger, minced
3 tbsp peanut oil
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
1 Chinese sausage, diced
1 medium carrot, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup frozen peas
4 cups cooked rice (you want to use leftover rice that has been in the fridge overnight)
1/2 cup scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced on the bias

Combine rice wine, light soy, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp minced ginger in a medium bowl.  Add chicken and stir to combine.  Set aside to marinate.

Heat a wok over medium heat.  Add 1 tbsp peanut oil.  Swirl oil around to coat the wok.  Once the oil is hot, gently pour eggs into pan. Add 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Allow eggs to set into thin egg pancake, about 3-5 minutes. Once top sets, flip the eggs over and remove from heat. Allow eggs to cool until they can be handled, then chop the eggs up finely.

Add 1 tbsp oil to the wok and raise heat to medium-high.  Swirl to coat the wok in oil.  Add chicken (reserving remaining marinade) and spread out evenly in one layer.  Allow to cook for one minute undisturbed to sear the chicken on one side.  Stir-fry until chicken is opaque, but not cooked through, about 1-2 minutes.  Add juices from marinade to the pan, along with remaining ginger and garlic.  Stir-fry briefly to combine.  Add Chinese sausage.  Stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add diced carrots and stir-fry until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes.  By this point the liquid from the marinade should have cooked off.  If the pan looks dry, add remaining tbsp oil.  Add rice and frozen peas.  Stir-fry vigorously until rice is coated in oil, about 1-2 minutes.  Allow rice to periodically sear on the bottom of the wok to give it some texture.  Season to taste with kosher salt and a pinch of ground white pepper.  Toss scallions into the fried rice and remove from heat.


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