Yangzhou Fried Rice – A Culinary Delight from the Heart of Jiangsu

yangzhou fried rice

Yangzhou Fried Rice (扬州炒饭), also known as Yangzhou Egg Fried Rice, is a traditional and renowned dish hailing from Yangzhou, a city in Jiangsu Province, China. It is a proud representative of Huaiyang cuisine, and its main ingredients include rice, ham, eggs, and shrimp.

This exquisite dish is characterized by its meticulous ingredient selection, fine craftsmanship, and attention to detail, including a harmonious color palette. Once prepared, it features distinct rice grains, a perfect balance of tenderness, and a lustrous appearance, making it a delightful treat for both the eyes and the palate.

History

The history of Yangzhou Fried Rice is shrouded in legends and tales. Some claim that it was introduced to Yangzhou by Emperor Yang of the Sui Dynasty during his visit to Jiangdu (modern-day Yangzhou). Others believe that this delicacy originated from the hands of the local commoners.

Historical records suggest that as far back as the Spring and Autumn period, boatmen traveling along the ancient Grand Canal, known as the Hangou, were already relishing the delight of egg-fried rice. In old Yangzhou, when there were leftover rice from lunch, a few eggs, along with seasonings like chopped scallions, would be added, and the result was a simple yet delicious egg-fried rice.

During the Ming Dynasty, local chefs in Yangzhou began to incorporate additional ingredients into their fried rice, laying the foundation for what would later become the Yangzhou Fried Rice we know today.

It was during the Qing Dynasty, in the Jiaqing era, that Yangzhou’s governor, Yi Bingshou, enhanced the traditional scallion and egg fried rice by introducing ingredients like shrimp, diced lean meat, and ham. This gradual evolution gave rise to the diverse and delectable assortment of ingredients that characterize modern-day Yangzhou Fried Rice, offering an even more delectable flavor profile.

Subsequently, Chinese people, especially Yangzhou chefs who ventured overseas for trade and livelihood, played a pivotal role in spreading the popularity of Yangzhou Fried Rice to different parts of the world.

Recipe

Ingredients: Ham, cut into small cubes slightly smaller than green peas; Eggs; Salt; Chopped scallions; Carrots; Corn; Rice wine; Shrimp; Salt; Pepper, Cold, leftover rice.

Instructions:

  1. Cut the ham into small, bite-sized cubes.
  2. Crack the eggs into a bowl, add salt and finely chopped scallions, and beat until well mixed.
  3. Heat a wok, add oil, and pour in the beaten eggs, stirring until they become scrambled.
  4. Add green peas, chopped scallions, carrots, and corn. Stir-fry until well mixed.
  5. Add the cubed ham and stir-fry, then add a dash of rice wine.
  6. Finally, add the shrimp and stir-fry until they turn pink. Season with a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper.
  7. Add the leftover cold rice and quickly stir-fry until the rice grains are evenly coated and fragrant.
  8. Serve your Yangzhou Fried Rice hot, garnished with scallions or other desired toppings.

Yangzhou Fried Rice is a delicious embodiment of the culinary heritage of Yangzhou and a testament to the artistry and craftsmanship of Chinese cuisine. Its worldwide popularity is a testament to its incredible taste and the skill of the chefs who continue to prepare it with precision and passion.

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