Fried rice is one of the most common dishes in the world. It’s unbelievable how many variations of this dish there really are. Fried rice, nasi goreng, arroz frito, khao phat, arroz chaufa, chahan, sinangag, paella, biryani, jambalaya, chaulafan and the list just keeps going on. Part of the reason is it’s an “everything but the kitchen sink” dish that tastes amazing, but another is that it’s an easy way to use all of your leftovers in one single dish. Here’s our guide to shrimp and crab fried rice.
We’re definitely spoiled in our region when it comes to seafood options, so it’s not hard to elevate an otherwise simple dish like fried rice. From top-of-the-line pelagics like tuna, dorado, and yellowtail to bottom fish like lingcod, halibut, and sheepshead to shellfish like shrimp, crab, and lobster… we have all the resources we need for a super bomb fried rice dish rivaling many upscale restaurant versions.
Full disclosure – making fried rice isn’t as easy as it looks. It can be mushy, it can be burned, it can be undercooked, and it can be under/over seasoned. After practicing a few times, everything will fall into place and you’ll have the dish on lockdown, but it’s probably best to not expect perfection right out of the gate. It’s always going to end up edible, so that’s the good news, and here are a few suggestions to help reduce the learning curve.
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The first key is prep. Have all your ingredients cleaned, dried, cut, and laid out in order of cooking. This is a fast cook over high heat with not a lot of margin for error, so being ready is more important than ever. The concept is simple: cook things first to last based on time of cook needed. For example, you wouldn’t put shrimp or peas (less cooking) in at the same time as raw carrots or onions (more cooking). The second key is using previously cooked, leftover rice. Warm, freshly cooked rice is going to be too mushy, where as cold, leftover rice is firm and will hold up to another round of cooking. The third key is to invest in a solid, old school wok. The design and purpose of a wok is a whole ‘nother story, but it’s interesting enough to do a Web search and learn about it. You’ll see why a wok is the way for properly cooked fried rice. All that said, this is a seafood site, so I took the liberty of using the most amazing fried rice ingredients – Mexican white shrimp and Dungeness crab. You can substitute other types seafood and it will still be amazing, but it’s hard to look beyond these two options.
Recipe: Shrimp and Crab Kimchi Fried Rice
- Quantity depends on your group size, but in this case, I deveined and cleaned about two dozen Mexican white shrimp.
- For the crab, last time I boiled live Dungeness, I broke down the extras and froze them for another time, which is now!
- 1 bowl of cold, leftover (cooked) white rice - about 4 cups
- Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and togarashi to taste
- 6-8 Shiitake mushrooms - chopped
- 2-3 long green onions - sliced (and another 2 saved for garnish)
- 1 finger of ginger - peeled and minced
- 2 cloves of garlic - peeled and minced
- 3 carrots - julienned
- 1 ½ dozen snow peas
- 1 cup English peas
- 4-6 TBSP kimchi - chopped
- 2 eggs - beaten
- 1-2 TBSP sesame oil
- 2 TBSP shoyu/soy sauce
- 1 Tsp oyster sauce
- 1 Tsp red chili flakes
- 2 Tsp black and white sesame seeds (2 more Tsp for garnish)
- Start by cooking the rice a day or two before, let it cool and refrigerate.
- Wash, dry, cut and organize all ingredients in order of cooking. You’ll start with the ingredients that take the longest, and then the final ingredients will be the ones requiring the least amount of cooking time.
- Turn your stove on to high heat, put the wok over the flame to heat and add 1 TBSP grapeseed oil (high smoking point). Add the ginger and carrot and cook for a few minutes (constantly stirring), then the mushroom and green onions for a few minutes, and then the garlic and kimchi. Keep it moving.
- Add the rice, toss for 1-2 minutes (still over high heat) and then add the eggs.
- Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and add to the wok. Once almost done, add the cooked crab, peas and sesame seeds and toss. Follow with the soy sauce and oyster sauce and give it a final spin.
- At this point a lot of people serve it as is on the soft side, but many (myself included) add another element - crispy rice - that makes the dish. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let the fried rice sit in the wok undisturbed for a minute or two and it will create a slightly carmelized, crispy bottom. The wok will have carryover heat, so don’t let it sit too long, or it will burn. If you do it just right, it makes the dish. Again, don’t expect perfection on your first try, but know that once you figure it out, this will be on your home menu rotation for sure.