When I was in Hong Kong back in 2005, I had this incredibly delicious fried rice. Unlike most fried rice I’ve had at other Chinese restaurants, it wasn’t greasy and had very few ingredients: white rice, egg whites, dried scallops, and scallions. There’s no soy sauce or oyster sauce to overpower the subtle shellfish flavor of the dried scallops. The fried rice made the dried scallops the star. I loved the simplicity of the dish. Since then, I have tried several versions of this fried rice in Southern California, but none have been quite like the one I had in Hong Kong. So I decided to tackle the recipe myself.
Making fried rice is not difficult, but making good fried rice requires a few things. First, the rice should be cold, and typically a day old. This prevents clumping when frying the rice. Also, the rice should be fully cooked, but firm. You don’t want to use soft rice or your fried rice will be mushy. Also, make sure you use good-quality rice. Your recipe is only as good as its ingredients. Finally, making fried rice is fast process; once you have all the ingredients prepped, it’s just a matter of a few minutes before the dish is ready to be served.
Note: In addition to making the rice a day in advance, the dried scallops must be soaked overnight in the refrigerator. Please read the entire recipe first before starting this dish. Enjoy!
Dried Scallop Fried Rice
Serving Size: 4
7 large or 10 small dried scallops (soaked in water overnight)*
1 1/2 cup of chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
Sunflower seed oil or other neutral oil
3 egg whites
1/4 cup of choy sum stems, no leaves (thinly sliced)*
4 cups of cooked jasmine rice (day old)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of roasted sesame oil
Chili oil for serving (optional)
1. Take the scallops out of the water. Discard the water. Remove the tough muscle from each scallop.
2. Pour the chicken stock into a small sauce pan and add the scallops. Bring to a simmer and reduce to low and cover with a lid. Cook on low for 30 minutes.
2. Strain out the liquid, but don’t discard. Reserve the liquid and let scallops cool.
3. Once the scallops have cooled, shred them with your fingers. Set aside.
4. Heat a large wok on high. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok, swirl. Quickly beat the egg whites. Quickly cook the egg whites and remove from the wok. Set aside.
5. In the same wok, add 1 more tablespoon of oil. Add the the choy sum stems, and sauté for 30 seconds.
6. Add the rice and 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid and quickly stir letting the rice absorb the liquid.
7. Add the shredded scallops, sliced scallions, and a good pinch of sea salt. Fold to incorporate. Don’t over stir or you’ll break up the rice.
8. Finally, add cooked egg whites, sesame oil and some black pepper to taste. Give it a quick stir to incorporate. Turn off heat.
9. Divide the rice in 4 bowls and serve with a side of chili oil.
*You can find dried scallops in most large Chinese supermarkets or Chinese dried herb and supplement stores. Make sure you buy the Japanese dried scallops.
*Choy sum is a leafy, green vegetable sold in Asian Markets.