This week I am bringing you two Wok Wednesday dishes, Yangchow Fried Rice and Chinese Jamaican Stir-Fried Chicken with Chayote.
Yangchow Fried Rice is a simple yet flavorful dish to make. It is a classic dish served at a Chinese banquet toward the end of the meal and it’s an amazingly simple dish to prepare. There are only five ingredients (eight if you count the oil, salt, and pepper). No garlic, no ginger, and no soy sauce.
It begins with stir frying shrimp in a small amount of oil, and then adding cooked long grain rice, peas, ham, scallions, salt, and white pepper. It’s so tasty, and makes a great side dish or main dish. Make the rice the day before with just rice and water, fluff it, and put in the refrigerator.
Chinese Jamaican Stir-Fried Chicken with Chayote is an example of how Chinese migrants adapted local ingredients and flavors to their traditional way of cooking. Chayote is a member if the squash family. It has a mild flavor that is sort of a cross between a cucumber and zucchini… but not quite. It is a native plant from central America, and has found it’s way into the cooking traditions of many cultures. I was able to find them in abundance at my local Vietnamese superstore. Peeled and cut into pieces, they look like sliced green apples.
Another key ingredient to this dish is Pickapeppa Sauce, also known as Jamaican ketchup. It’s very vinegary (in a good way) and reminds me of A-1 Sauce, only a little sweeter and more complex. It’s not at all hot. It would be hard to use a substitute in this dish. Fortunately, my local Ralph’s supermarket carries it! I can’t wait to experiment with it.
The final key ingredient is dark soy sauce, which gives this dish its gorgeous color. It is thicker and tastes less salty than “regular” soy sauce. Look for Pearl River Bridge with the pink label.
This dish also includes chicken thighs, garlic, ketchup, and yellow onions. It has a rich sweet flavor, and is perfect with plain white rice.