Yang Chow Fried Rice, Improvised

On a night when I was particularly busy trying to meet a submission deadline by midnight, I asked my boyfriend to make dinner for us (which I planned to shovel into my mouth at light speed before returning to work). He wanted to do something simple that could incorporate a bunch of ingredients and be a one-pot kind of dinner. Fried rice seemed to fit the bill! Neither of us particularly enjoys eating the soy sauce doused stuff that people pass for fried rice at greasy Chinese takeout spots. Instead we prefer Yang Chow style fried rice, which if you aren't familiar with, is a lighter and more savory fried rice that isn't flavored with dark soy sauce so the color is usually lighter, and contains certain usual ingredients including roast pork pieces, egg, shrimp, and scallions. Many times when I order Yang Chow fried rice in restaurants, they come looking pristine and white, which leads me to believe that they must be flavored with no soy sauce at all, though I'm not quite sure how to achieve that aside from using salt or fish sauce. In any case, my boyfriend decided to wing it based on skimming Wandering Chopstick's recipe (whose Asian blog I love), and thus was born his improvised version of Yang Chow fried rice:

He substituted Chinese sausage for the traditional roast pork, because it's what we have on hand and its sweet flavor is a very appropriate substitute for the roast bbq flavor of the pork. Shrimp and eggs were added, as well as diced carrots and onions for more body and flavor. For the greenery, he generously added chopped scallions and cilantro at the end of the stir frying, to keep them crisp and green. From what he tells me, he mainly flavored the rice with fish sauce and a little bit of soy sauce, as well as garlic and onion powders, salt, and sugar. He did manage to keep the rice relatively light colored though :)

I loved the cilantro here – it was so refreshingly good and crisp. To be honest, I used to hate cilantro when I was younger. In fact, I hated it up until maybe a year or two ago. But then one day something happened and I started to realize how much flavor it lent to certain dishes like Vietnamese summer rolls and Banh mi. And then it was just a matter of time before I started forcing myself to eat the cilantro that came with dishes, instead of picking them out like I normally would have. Just like that, I built up my tolerance and now I love cilantro in the right places. It perks this fried rice right up!

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