Every Asian family has their own fried rice recipe, and mine is no different! This Golden Shrimp Fried Rice is a dish that my mom taught me how to make, and since it is International Women’s Day, I want to celebrate my mom and her recipe.
My mom first came to the United States in her early 20’s, nearly 40 years ago. She did not speak much English and didn’t really know how to cook any kind of food that wasn’t Korean. But as a food lover, my mom was REALLY enjoying the variety of cuisines available to her not only as a new American, but also as a military wife spending most of her time with other non-American military wives.
So what ended up happening is that my mom was able to learn all kinds of new dishes, techniques, and flavors around the world. With that, she was able to create her own version of these dishes and I grew up on a lot of adapted recipes. My mom’s attempt to assimilate through food is one of the things I really admire about her journey as an immigrant, and her cooking style has had a huge influence on how I develop recipes as well.
What is “Golden” fried rice?
Golden fried rice refers to a Chinese imperial technique where day-old rice is first coated in egg yolks. This gives the rice a rich, eggy aroma and nice color. Turmeric is usually added to give it that rich yellow color, but my mom never carried turmeric in her kitchen so her fried rice does not have that signature yellow color that many Chinese fried rice dishes have. You can add it to yours if you’d like! Turmeric also has a lot of health benefits, so it can only elevate your fried rice.
Jasmine rice- long grain jasmine rice is the best option for making fried rice. Mahatma® Rice Jasmine White Rice is the brand I use for any dish that requires jasmine rice! Day old rice is preferred but fresh rice can work too.
Aromatics- any good fried rice needs a solid foundation of aromatics. My mom taught me to use garlic, ginger, onions, scallions, and jalapenos.
Veggies- peas & carrots, fresh or frozen it does not matter. These are optional! You can add any vegetables you want- sometimes I add bell peppers or chopped snap peas as well.
Protein- I’m making a shrimp fried rice today but you can use any protein you prefer. This also works great with chicken, beef, pork, or tofu (or any combination of these).
Eggs- separate the whites from the yolk, and mix the yolks into your rice prior to frying. This gives each grain of rice a rich, flavorful coat. You can add turmeric to this for added color, but I don’t normally do that. Then the egg whites get fried and mixed into the rice later on.
Seasoning- soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a little sugar.
Butter & oil- you will for sure need some neutral oil to fry the aromatics and rice. I recommend using butter as well if your protein does not have a lot of fat. If using beef or pork, depending on the cut, you may not need butter because the fat will produce enough flavor. But do use butter if your protein is very lean, like shrimp.
Tips for making the best fried rice:
Use long grain rice– I always use Mahatma® Rice Jasmine White Rice for this dish. Short grain rice is usually too sticky for making fried rice and tends to clump together.
Use cold, day-old rice! This is something that will continue to be debated over, but I have tried using freshly made rice and have to agree that it is too moist. The reason day-old rice is better for making fried rice is 100% because of the moisture content. Moisture is the enemy of a good fried rice. You’ll end up with wet, messy mush that might still taste good but it will not be the right texture.
Use flat-bottomed cookware that can get really hot, really quickly. Usually carbon steel or cast iron, but I used a non-stick fry pan that worked just as well. I do not recommend using a wok at home unless it is flat-bottomed or you have the right kind of heat source for it. Most home kitchens do not.
Use high heat when the rice hits the pan. Heat is one way to eliminate moisture, so you need to make sure the pan is piping hot when the rice is added. It doesn’t need to be as hot when you’re frying the aromatics- I actually prefer to extract the flavors from these ingredients at a lower heat for a longer period of time. Garlic especially tends to burn quickly, so be careful not to burn it.
This recipe is kindly sponsored by Mahatma® Rice. I carry their products in my kitchen at all times, especially their jasmine rice!
Golden Shrimp Fried Rice
- 2 cups cold, day-old Mahatma® Rice Jasmine White Rice
- 2 eggs yolks & whites separated
- pinch of sea salt & black pepper
- 1/2 lb large shrimp
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 green onions top half separated from bottom half
- 1/2 onion
- 1 tbsp garlic
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 jalapeno optional
- 1/4 cup frozen peas
- 1/4 cup frozen carrots
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- Wash at least 1 cup of Mahatma® Rice Jasmine White Rice until the water runs clear.
- Let the rice soak in the water for about half an hour. This is to slightly reduce the cook time- the reason this step is important is because the longer rice is cooked over heat, the more aroma it loses. Note: If you are using fresh rice (making this the same day that you will make the fried rice), use a little less water than the package instructions call for.
- Cook over medium low heat for 13-15 minutes covered. Then fluff the rice and allow steam to escape so it can dry out a bit. Let cool completely before storing in the refrigerator for later use.Note: if you are using fresh rice, at this point I would recommend spreading the rice in a dish with a large surface area so that as much steam & heat can evaporate, making the rice dry and cold so it's ready for making fried rice.
- Mix 2 egg yolks with 2 cups of cold, day-old rice. Set aside
- Whisk the remaining eggwhites with a pinch of sea salt and pepper. Set aside
- Peel & devein the shrimp, then season with sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and some oil. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
- Prepare your aromatics and vegetables: mince the garlic & ginger, chop the onion, jalapeno, green onions (separating the white parts from the green), and let the peas & carrots thaw.
- In a little oil in a pan over medium high heat, cook the shrimp. Add butter, then flip the shrimp over after 2 minutes. Continue cooking for 2 minutes on the other side (or until no longer transucent), then remove the shrimp from the pan and set it aside.
- Add a little more oil to the pan, reduce the heat to medium, then saute the white parts of green onions and regular onion until translucent.
- Add minced garlic, ginger, and jalapenos. Saute for another 2 minutes.
- Increase the heat to high, then add the eggy rice, soy sauce, fish sauce, and sesame oil. Fry & mix until fully combined.
- Add the peas & carrots and continue stir frying on high heat for a couple more minutes.Note: I used frozen peas and carrots which are flash-steamed before frozen & packaged, so they don't take much time to cook after thawing. If you're using fresh ingredients, you may need to cook these through before adding them.
- Add the dry seasonings: sea salt, black pepper & sugar
- Push the rice to one side and add the egg whites. You may need to add a bit more oil into the pan. Cook through and mix together.
- Add the shrimp back in and toss until they have just heated through again.
- Garnish with chopped green onions (the top parts) and enjoy!