Does shrimp fried rice need an introduction? It’s one of the best fried rices out there, based on ingredients alone.
You’ll love this fried rice with juicy plump shrimp, crispy rice, fluffy scrambled eggs, sautéed onions, bonus Chinese sausage, and salty, bombastic flavors bursting with hints of ginger, garlic, and white pepper. It’s amazing what flavors you can get out of ordinary ingredients with the right technique.
The best fried rice
All fried rice is good, but great fried rice is life changing. Each grain of rice should be fluffy and distinct and each spoonful should have a bit of everything in it for the perfect bite. It should be hot and have a little bit of crisp on the rice and all the ingredients should be perfectly cooked. Good fried rice can stand on its own and needs no accompaniments – it should be so satisfying that you crave another bowl before you’ve finished the one in front of you.
Fried rice is usually thought of as a quick 20 minute dish that you just throw together on a weeknight when you can’t think of what to make. It’s true that fried rice comes together in a flash, but it shouldn’t be a second choice when it comes to making dinner.
Why you should make authentic fried rice
To be honest I’m kind of disappointed in the first couple of google results for shrimp fried rice. I shouldn’t make assumptions, but it looks like those recipes don’t have a huge amount in common with authentic fried rice.
It’s 2021 and I probably don’t need to talk about the importance of voices and platforms. Do you need to be Chinese to make or enjoy fried rice? Absolutely not. Should you look at a recipe with Chinese roots when you want to be inspired before doing your own take on fried rice? Absolutely.
This shrimp fried rice recipe
This particular shrimp fried rice is a take on yang chow fried rice. Yang chow fried rice comes to us via the city of Yangzhou and now every Chinese restaurant has their own version. All yangzhou fried rice has at least two kinds of protein and one of them is always shrimp.
How to make shrimp fried rice
- Prep. Make sure all your ingredients are ready to go. The shrimp should be prepped, the sausage should be chopped, the onion should be diced, the rice should be ready, and the seasoning should be mixed up. Fried rice cooks fast and having everything prepped makes it a lot easier.
- Scramble the eggs. Scramble the eggs in a hot wok until they’re barely set, then remove them from the wok and place in a bowl.
- Cook the sausage. Cubes of Chinese sausage add a sweet and salty umami punch. Cook them until they crisp up and some fat renders out. Scoop them out of the wok and put them in the bowl with the egg.
- Cook the onions and shrimp. Add the onions to the rendered fat and cook, stirring, until soft, then add the shrimp, briefly stir fry, until just opaque and cooked through, and scoop everything out into the bowl.
- Fry the rice. If the wok is dry, add some oil and when it’s hot, add the rice along with the seasoning. Searing the rice, stirring occasionally, until it is heated through, fluffy, and crisp.
- Mix and serve! Add the bowl of eggs, sausage, onions, and prawns back into the wok, along with the green onions. Toss everything together until it’s all mixed up and enjoy, hot!
Most of the ingredients for shrimp fried rice are pretty standard: oil, eggs, onions, green onions. Here are a couple notes on the rest:
- Shrimp – plump and juicy 51/60 size shrimp are perfect for fried rice. Not too tiny and not too big. Frozen, uncooked shrimp is great – it’s the same as the defrosted shrimp in the case. Make sure to defrost and pat dry before using.
- Chinese sausage – Chinese sausage is sweet, smoky, savory, and packed with umami. Find it at your local Asian grocery store or in the Asian aisle at any supermarket. This is an optional ingredient for shrimp fried rice but it adds so much amazing flavor, don’t sleep on it! You can even get it online if you need to.
- Rice – day old rice is best, but if you’re using fresh rice, be sure to spread it out and cool it down entirely so it’s not too moist. I like to use jasmine rice.
We’re going to season with chicken stock, garlic powder, ginger powder, salt, and white pepper:
- Chicken stock. The chicken stock adds a bit of umami as well as moisture. It helps the rice get fluffy and crisp without sticking to the pan too much.
- Dehydrated spices. Dehydrated ginger and garlic add all the flavors without chopping.
- White pepper, if you have it, adds a bright floral pepper flavor.
3 key tips to make your fried rice taste like restaurant style fried rice:
If you have a wok, use it! A wok, with its different heat zones, due to its cute and round shape, is made for frying and tossing, perfect for fried rice. If you use a wok, you’re going to get some wok hei, that essential smokey essence you get when you get when you use a wok over hot heat. Chinese people are crazy about wok hei, which means “wok breath” and if you want that authentic fried rice flavor, a wok is how you’re going to get it.
A good carbon steel wok is usually not too expensive and will last you a lifetime. If you have a gas stove, you’ll want a wok that is perfectly round on the bottom. If you are on electric or induction, you need to get a flat-bottomed wok. In either case, it’s best to get a pre-seasoned one so you don’t need to remove the handle and season it yourself.
If you don’t have a wok, using a cast iron or non-stick pan is perfectly acceptable, just make sure it it’s big enough and remember that with non-stick, don’t turn up the heat as much. Of the multiple kinds of non-stick pans out there, a ceramic/non-teflon coating is probably your best bet.
Don’t be stingy – if you want restaurant quality fried rice, you’re gonna have to get a little oily. Hot oil helps everything not stick, distributes heat, and helps with distributing flavor. Having said that, please don’t go overboard, no one likes super oily fried rice.
3. Cook step by step
The right way to cook fried rice is to cook everything separately and then combine at the end. This ensures that everything is cooked to perfection. Cooking everything separately, scooping it out and then adding it back in seems like extra steps but this is the KEY to good fried rice. If you add everything to the pan at once or leave things in the pan, things are guaranteed to be overcooked.
I like using day old jasmine rice. Break the rice up before you add it to the wok by slightly wetting your hands and gently squeezing and breaking into loose individual kernels. Each grain of rice should be firm, fluffy, and distinct.
What to serve with fried rice
Go forth and make the best fried rice of your life!
Shrimp Fried Rice
Authentic shrimp fried rice with juicy plump shrimp, crispy rice, fluffy scrambled eggs, and salty, bombastic flavors.
- In a small bowl, mix together the chicken stock, salt, ground ginger, garlic powder, and white pepper. Make sure all your other ingredients are prepped and ready to go. In a large skillet or wok, heat up a some of the oil over high heat and scramble your eggs until mostly set, but still slightly runny. The eggs will cook a bit more when you fry everything together at the end. Remove and set aside in a bowl.
- If you are using Chinese sausage: Crisp up the Chinese sausage over medium high heat, cooking until slightly browned, stirring occasionally. You shouldn’t need to add oil to the pan as the Chinese sausages will render out a bunch of fat, but if they’re sticking, add a bit in. Remove the Chinese sausage from the pan and add it to the bowl with the eggs.
- Sauté the onions for 1-2 minutes in the rendered fat, stirring occasionally. Add a bit of oil to the pan if needed and cook the shrimp with the onions very briefly, until just opaque and cooked through. Remove from the pan and pop it into the egg and sausage bowl.
- Heat up 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan and add the rice. If you’re using rice from the fridge, it’s best to break it up with slightly wet hands before putting in the pan. Add the seasoning to the rice and fry over high heat, stirring occasionally until the rice is fluffy, crispy, and heated through.
- Add the eggs, sausage, onion, shrimp, and green onions and toss everything together so that everything is evenly distributed. Enjoy hot!
Estimated nutrition does not include optional ingredients
Shrimp Fried Rice
Amount Per Serving
Calories 425 Calories from Fat 61
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 1.5g9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.