Shrimp Fried Rice

Circle B Kitchen

There are as many ways to cook shrimp fried rice as there are people who love it, but there seem to be 2 constants among them all. Firstly, you must use cold, cooked (preferably leftover) rice, and secondly, you must not overcook the shrimp. I love the strips of cooked egg woven into the finished dish, but if you prefer to scramble an egg in the pan after the rice is added, that’s just fine too. Leftover frittata is also awesome. Or leave the egg out entirely. Another personal preference is the addition of white pepper which I adore. It’s a bit spicier than black pepper and adds a subtle warm heat that makes this fried rice pretty special stuff. As for the rice, just about any rice is going to work here (as long as it’s cold from the fridge). My rice of choice is brown jasmine or brown basmati. I make up a batch the day before or a few days beforehand. I’ve noted a little shortcut below if you don’t have any leftover rice. And one more thing, I know this recipe looks long and perhaps a bit involved, but it really isn’t. If you have all of your ingredients prepped and ready, this comes together in about 10- 15 minutes.

Serves 3-4

For the shrimp:

12 ounces of medium shrimp, shelled and deveined

½ teaspoon cornstarch

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon white pepper

For the egg:

3 large eggs, beaten

¼ cup thawed, squeeze-dried frozen spinach (about 2 ounces frozen)

¼ cup of chopped scallions

For the rice:

*4 cups of cold, cooked rice (leftover rice is preferable)

2 tablespoons minced (or grated) ginger

¼ teaspoon white pepper

1 cup finely diced carrots

½ cup of fresh or frozen peas (optional)

2 scallions, chopped

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons sesame oil

2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

In a medium bowl, combine the shrimp with the cornstarch, salt and white pepper. Toss to coat the shrimp as evenly as possible and set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Combine the soy sauce and sesame oil and set aside.

Add the thawed spinach and ¼ cup scallions to the beaten egg, along with a little salt and pepper. Heat your skillet or wok and add a teaspoon or two of peanut or vegetable oil. Add the egg mixture and let it spread out to cover the bottom of the pan. Let it sit for about 30 seconds to cook the bottom and then use a spatula to flip it over. Cook another 5 or 10 seconds until cooked through and remove to a plate. After it has cooled, cut it into strips and set aside. You can make this the day before and refrigerate it until you're ready to cook.

Drizzle a bit more oil into the hot pan and add the shrimp, cooking quickly, untouched, for about 30 seconds and then flip them over and cook for another minute or two until they are just barely cooked through. Do not overcook them. Remove them from the pan and set aside.

Drizzle a bit more oil into the hot pan and add the ginger. Cook for about 10 to 15 seconds or until very fragrant and then add the diced carrots and peas (if using). Stir fry for a minute or so.

Add a bit more oil if the pan seems dry and add the rice, the white pepper and most of the remaining scallions, reserving a few for serving. Stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes until the rice is heated through.

Pour the soy sauce around the edges of the pan and stir to combine with the rice.

Add the shrimp and the sliced egg back into the pan and stir to combine well and heat through.

Remove from the heat and add the cilantro (if using). Serve while still warm from the pan, sprinkled with the few remaining scallions.

*If you don’t have any cold, leftover rice in your fridge, here’s a handy shortcut. You can cook the rice just like you would pasta! A few hours (or days) before you plan on making the fried rice, you can throw 1 ½ cups of rice into a pan with lots of water in it. Add a little salt and bring it to a boil. Once the water has come to a boil, reduce the heat, cover the pan and let it simmer for 20 minutes for brown rice. White rice might only take 10 or 15 minutes.

Drain the rice and spread it out on a smallish baking sheet or baking pan to cool and then place it in the fridge for at least 2 hours. You want the rice to be cold and to dry out a bit. That allows it to absorb the flavors in the pan and keeps the rice from becoming soggy or mushy.