I have a funny relationship with pork fried rice. Well, let me back up. When I was a kid, my Aunt Debbie and Uncle Roger lived in Hong Kong. My aunt has a Master’s Degree in Chinese Studies, and put her cultural, linguistic, and business savvy to use working with a bank overseas. We were all big fans of the culture, and ate up (literally and figuratively) every souvenir and bit of influence Deb and Roger brought back with them – especially the food. Deb became a great cook of authentic Chinese food. Naturally, I hopped on the bandwagon and, following recipes from books Deb brought me, became fairly adept myself.
One day last July I had a yen for pork dumplings and I prepared what has become our family recipe. We had a nice dinner of steamed pork dumplings with stir-fried bok choi and sesame noodles. But that craving was still nagging me the next day, and I realized that what I really wanted was pork fried rice – not the stuff you get from the dog-food Chinese place down the street (though that has a time and a place). I wanted real pork fried rice, with homemade cha shao (roast pork), fresh peas and carrots, fluffy egg, and scallions. Perfect, authentic pork fried rice the way it should be… It’s incomparable.
The next day I made a huge pot of pork fried rice and we ate that for dinner. And then I ate it for lunch the next day, and also dinner, and also for lunch and dinner the day after that. I put a fried egg on top of it and had it for “brunch”. I stuffed a zucchini with it… you get the idea. I ate that pork fried rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for five days straight. Bernie mused that we’d been together for five years and I rarely made Chinese food for him, let alone multiple dishes over the course of a week. About a week later I took a pregnancy test, and the rest is history.
Of course it is not the case that every time I want pork fried rice I am with child, but it is the case that every time I want pork fried rice, I think back to those first weeks of pregnancy and then everything that came next. So, my friends, make and eat this fried rice in good health. Love it as I love it and, if you happen to love it a little too much – like, five-days-in-a-row too much – maybe make some room in your schedule for a blood test and 9 months of OB visits. Just sayin’…
Cassidy’s Pork Fried Rice
(Adapted from Yangzhow Fried Rice / Chinese Regional Cooking / Deh-Ta Hsiung)
1 cup rice
1 tbsp fresh minced ginger
4 oz cha shao pork (below), diced
1 cup green peas
1 cup diced carrots
2 scallions, minced with some greens reserved for garnish
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sesame seeds for garnish
1. To cook the rice, rinse it once with cold water. Place the rice grains into a pot and fill the pot until the water level is 1″ above the rice. Bring to a boil, reduce to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Let sit until ready to prepare the dish.
2. In a small bowl, beat the eggs together with the scallions and a pinch of salt.
3. Over medium, 1 tbsp of coconut oil in a wok or large pan. When hot enough so that water sizzles gently when it touches the oil, scramble the egg and scallion mixture. Set aside the scrambled eggs once they are done.
4. Add remaining 2 tbsp of coconut oil. Sauté the ginger, peas, carrots, cha shao until the carrots begin to soften. Then add the rice and soy sauce. When thoroughly combined, add egg and scallions with sesame oil.
5. Continue to stir-fry the rice, until some bits begin to crisp up. Transfer to a bowl and garnish with scallion greens and sesame seeds.
(It’s really hard to find all of the ingredients needed to make the cha shao appropriately, so I’m going to give you my best approximation with what is accessible.)
2 lb pork chops, cut into thin strips
2 tbsp rice wine
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp honey
1. In a bowl, mix together rice wine, sugar, and soy sauce. Marinate the pork strips in the bowl with the sauce for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
2. Roast on a rack in a roasting pan at 400-degrees for 30 minutes. Then, drizzle with honey and put back in the oven for an additional 5 minutes.
I should note that my aunt gave me Chinese Regional Cooking, used, in the mid-1990’s and it is still the most authentic Chinese cookbook that I have my hands on (and I’ve done a LOT of research and cross-referencing). If you’re looking for a good Chinese cookbook, I highly recommend it. I just felt it needed its own shout-out.