Chinese fried rice combines a variety of different ingredients in a wok for a quick stir fry. The exact origin isn't clear, although it probably originated in China as a way to use up leftover rice and whatever other ingredients were on hand. In China, fried rice is considered peasant food. It isn't often served like in America, where the mixed and seasoned ingredients make it a favorite take-out dish.
Rice and Egg
Every version of Chinese fried rice includes rice and egg. White rice is most frequently used, although brown can be substituted. Eggs are scrambled until light and fluffy and mixed throughout the rice to help expand the dish.
Fried Rice Meats
Shrimp, beef, chicken and pork are staple meats of fried rice recipes. Various sauces can be combined with these meats to give it slightly different flavors. Soy sauce is common with beef, chicken and pork. Shrimp fried rice often uses oyster sauce or fish oil. Some take-out Chinese restaurants add a spicy barbecue sauce to pork or beef and then prepare a traditional fried rice. Though not as common, duck can be used in fried rice as well.
Fried Rice Vegetables
Fried rice uses a variety of vegetables such as bamboo shoots, onions or scallions, carrots and sometimes peas. These ingredients are often tossed into the wok during the later stages of stir frying to help maintain a crisper vegetable.
Fried Rice Seasoning
While some cooks add salt to fried rice, or even a little cayenne pepper, traditional fried rice relies on the saltiness of the soy or fish sauce for its seasoning. The main flavor of the fried rice comes from the combined effect of the ingredients stir fried together in the wok.
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