Eight-Treasure Fried Rice
Eight-treasure dishes, also called "eight-precious," feature an abundance of luxury ingredients. The ingredients can vary, and there can be a few more or less than eight, as long as the message is delivered that this is a little splurge. Typical are items that are expensive, rare, beloved, or all three. Sweet versions include the classic ba bao fan, a steamed dessert of sticky rice enclosing a center of sweet red bean paste and garnished with a mosaic of dried fruits and nuts. Savory versions featuring meat and nuts in auspicious numbers are used as a stuffing for poultry or steamed in lotus leaf packets. My fried-rice version makes a luxurious party dish. The ingredients can be prepared in advance, leaving you with a quick-cooking session just before serving time.
Total Timeunder 2 hours
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Recipe Coursemain course, side dish
Dietary Considerationpeanut free
Taste and Texturemeaty, nutty, savory
- 4 cups cooked long-grain rice, preferably chilled (see Notes) 1 L
- 2 tbsp dry sherry or Shaoxing rice wine 25 mL
- 1 tbsp soy sauce 15 mL
- 1 tsp salt or to taste 5 mL
- 1 tsp granulated sugar 5 mL
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil, divided eggs, beaten 45 mL
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 tbsp chopped onion 25 mL
- 2 tsp chopped garlic 10 mL
- 2 tsp chopped fresh gingerroot 10 mL
- ½ cup frozen, shelled edamame beans or tiny peas 125 mL
- ½ cup diced sweet Chinese sausage or kielbasa (3 oz/90 g) 125 mL
- 12 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined 12
- ¾ cup thickly sliced shiitake mushroom caps 175 mL
- ½ cup diced ham 125 mL
- ½ cup dry-roasted salted cashews 125 mL
- 3 tbsp thinly sliced green onions 45 mL
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro 45 mL
- 2 tsp Asian sesame oil 10 mL
Crumble rice with your fingers, breaking up into individual grains. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine sherry, soy sauce, salt and sugar and stir well. Set aside.
Place a plate next to the stove to hold eggs after you cook them. Heat a wok or a large deep skillet over high heat. Add 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the vegetable oil and swirl to coat pan. Add eggs and swirl to expose them to the hot pan and cook, undisturbed, until edges have begun to set, about 15 seconds. Stir and scoop to break the cooked portions into soft lumps rather than flat sheets. Continue swirling and scooping until eggs are softly scrambled but still very moist, about 1 minute. Transfer to reserved plate.
Add remaining oil to pan and swirl to coat well. Add onion, garlic and ginger and toss well, until fragrant about 15 seconds. Add edamame and sausage and toss well. Cook, tossing often, for 30 seconds.
Add shrimp, spreading into a single layer. Cook, undisturbed, I until most of the edges turn pink, about 1 minute. Toss well. Add mushrooms and ham. Cook, tossing often, until mushrooms have softened and most of the shrimp have turned pink, about 1 minute more. Add rice and toss well. Cook, tossing often, for 1 minute.
Add sherry mixture, pouring in around sides of pan and toss well. Cook, tossing often, until shrimp is cooked through and rice is hot and tender and evenly seasoned, about 1 minute more. Add cashews, green onions and scrambled eggs and toss well. Add cilantro and sesame oil and toss well. Transfer to a serving plate. Serve hot or warm.
Variation: You can choose treasures that suit you, substituting a similar amount of a comparable ingredient. Typical ingredients in traditional eight-treasure rice stuffings include sweet Chinese sausage, pork and chicken, bamboo shoots, dried shrimp, lotus seeds, gingko nuts, chestnuts, dried shiitake mushrooms and cloud ear mushrooms. You could use Chinese-style roast duck, grilled chicken, kielbasa, crabmeat, bay scallops, peanuts, pine nuts, chopped asparagus or string beans.
There's a bit more preparation and assembly for this fried rice recipe, so you may want to handle all the chopping in one preliminary session and then keep the cleaned shrimp, chopped meats and scrambled egg in separate bowls. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day before cooking.
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2007 Nancie McDermott