Shrimp Fried Rice

For me there’s really only one rule about making shrimp fried rice at home – you need to have leftover rice. It’s actually a great idea to make more rice than you need for a dinner that includes rice just so that you have leftovers to use for fried rice the next day. Leftover rice is key because it has had a little time to dry out and that makes it more suitable for frying. Freshly made rice is too moist and can result in soggy or mushy fried rice, and nobody wants that!

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I’m not particular about what type of rice you use for fried rice. Jasmine would be my rice of choice, but as long as I have medium to long grain leftover rice, I’m happy to use it up in this delicious dish. Fried rice is a blank palette recipe, waiting for you to make it your own. Generally, you’ll want to add some vegetables, a protein of some kind and some scrambled egg. Then you can season with soy sauce and toasted sesame oil and quite honestly have dinner on the table in about 20 minutes with just the ingredients you like. 

Ingredients for shrimp fried rice on brown paper - shrimp, rice, sprouts, carrot, green onion, carrot.

As far as the vegetables are concerned, you could use any combination of veggies that you like. With vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, onions, sliced snow or snap peas and other quick cooking vegetables I cook them right in the pan before adding the rice. With vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower that are  bit more irregular in shape, I’ll blanch them first before adding them to the pan.

A pan with sautéed carrots next to a plate with cooked shrimp and egg.

 

For the protein, you could make the recipe just as written and enjoy some shrimp fried rice, or you could substitute sliced chicken, steak or pork, or cubed and marinated tofu. I generally cook the protein ahead of time in the pan because the pan, no matter how large, can really only accommodate so much. I don’t want to overcrowd the pan, adding the protein, vegetables and rice altogether because over-crowding cools the pan down and promotes moisture accumulation rather than having a surface area from which moisture can evaporate. Cooking the protein alone ensures that you don’t over cook it too and it’s just as easy to add it back to the pan once everything else is properly cooked. 

While egg is traditional in fried rice, you don’t have to add it if you don’t want to. It is a great way to stretch the amount of protein included in the dish and that’s helpful if you have only a small amount of meat or shrimp to use. It helps make the meal even more affordable if you’re on a budget.

Shrimp fried rice in a blue pan.

The seasoning of soy sauce and toasted sesame oil is really very basic for fried rice. There are other options and hundreds of different recipes out there, but this recipe keeps it nice and simple – accessible to all.

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Shrimp Fried Rice

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 17 m
  • Total Time: 32 m
  • Servings:
    4

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • ½ pound medium shrimp about 20
  • OR
  • 1 chicken breast, cut into small pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 carrot finely chopped
  • 3 green onions finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic sliced
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups cooked white rice, cooled and ideally day old
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts, optional
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat a 10- or 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add about one tablespoon of the oil and sauté the shrimp or chicken until just cooked through – about two or three minutes. Set the shrimp or chicken aside on a plate.
  2. Add a little more oil and cook the egg, scrambling as you go. As soon as the egg is just cooked, remove it to the same plate as the shrimp or chicken.
  3. Add a little more oil to the skillet and sauté the carrots for a couple of minutes. Add the green onion (saving some for garnish), garlic and crushed red pepper flake until the vegetables start to become tender – another two minutes. Add the rice, stir or toss everything together and let the rice fry for a few minutes. Flip the rice in the pan and fry for a few more minutes.
  4. Return the cooked shrimp and egg to the skillet and mix them in with the rice. Add mung bean sprouts (if using). Season with the soy sauce and sesame oil, adding more to taste if you like. Sprinkle more green onions on top and serve.
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