Category Archives: Chinese

Dried Scallop Fried Rice

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
Sea salt
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.

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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.

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2. Strain out the liquid, but don’t discard. Reserve the liquid and let scallops cool.

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3. Once the scallops have cooled, shred them with your fingers. Set aside.

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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.

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5. In the same wok, add 1 more tablespoon of oil. Add the the choy sum stems, and sauté for 30 seconds.

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6. Add the rice and 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid and quickly stir letting the rice absorb the liquid.

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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.

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8. Finally, add cooked egg whites, sesame oil and some black pepper to taste. Give it a quick stir to incorporate. Turn off heat.

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9. Divide the rice in 4 bowls and serve with a side of chili oil.

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*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.

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*Choy sum is a leafy, green vegetable sold in Asian Markets.

 

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Spicy Minced Chicken Noodles

 

I live in the San Gabriel Valley, the Asian food Mecca of Southern California. San Gabriel Valley is home to some of the best Chinese food outside of China. There is wide array of regional cuisines like Sichuan, Cantonese, Hunanese, etc. In addition to Chinese food, you can find Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Burmese, and even food from Borneo. From soupy dumplings to Hainan chicken, one will never run out of food options. One of my favorite noodle dishes out here is the minced pork noodle, made with a fermented bean sauce. Every restaurant has their own version, but it is always made with ground pork. I created my own version with organic ground chicken and spiced it up a bit. I use a chili pepper sauce made in San Francisco and noodles made nearby in Commerce (where I’ve actually visited the factory).

I tested this noodle dish at my office and it was a hit, even among those that don’t like spicy food. I may not be Chinese, but I have become very familiar with Chinese flavors, and based on the response I got, these noodles are as good as any noodle dish in the San Gabriel Valley. Once you have all the ingredients ready, the dish takes less than 20 minutes to whip up, but be sure to read the whole recipe in advance, as almost every step is 3 minutes or less and you’ll be moving quick! But don’t let that scare you off – once you make this dish, I guarantee you’ll enjoy it!

Serving Size: 2 large bowls of noodles

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of oil
3 cloves of garlic (minced)
8 ounces of organic ground chicken
1/2 cup of finely chopped choy sum leaves* or spinach leaves.
2 tablespoons of finely chopped preserved turnips*
2 tablespoons of chili pepper sauce*
2 tablespoons of organic soy sauce
1 tablespoon of Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon of Chinese five spice
1 teaspoon of sugar
3/4 cup of homemade chicken stock or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth (cold)
2 teaspoons of organic cornstarch
12 ounces of fresh Chinese wheat noodles (medium thickness)*
1 green onion, thinly sliced
Fresh cilantro leaves
Chinese chili oil (optional)

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Directions

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.

2. Meanwhile, heat a wok or a large sauté pan on high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil.

3. Add the minced garlic. Sauté for 15 seconds.

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4. Add the ground chicken. Sauté for 3 minutes, breaking up the meat.

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5. Add the choy sum. Sauté for 1 minute.

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6. Add the preserved turnips. Sauté for 30 seconds.

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7. Add the chili pepper sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, five spice, and sugar. Sauté for 1 minute.

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8. Add cornstarch in the chicken stock, making sure your chicken stock is cold. Mix well and and pour directly into the wok, stirring the meat. Cook until the sauce boils and thickens. This should take about 3-5 minutes. Turn off the heat.

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9. Take the fresh Chinese noodles and put in the boiling water. Follow the cooking directions on the package. The brand I use takes 2.5 minutes.

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10. Drain the noodles but don’t rinse. Divide the noodle into bowls.

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11. Pour a generous amount of meat sauce over the noodles. If using, drizzle a tablespoon of chili oil over the sauce. Garnish with chopped green onion and cilantro.

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12. Serve immediately.

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*Here are photos of some hard to find ingredients I used in this recipe. Also, I added a picture of the choy sum before it was chopped up. You can find all these ingredients at a Chinese grocery store: