Salted Fish Fried Rice
Ham Yu Lap Cheong Chow Fan (Cantonese)
Servings: 4-6 | Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 10 mins
Salted fish fried rice makes for a pungent and tasty dish. This hardcore Cantonese comfort food is pure salty goodness, but it can be an acquired taste. This dish is called ham yu lap cheong chow fan
. Here's how it translates:
= ham yu
= lap cheong
= chow fan
is a salt rubbed or brined fish partially fermented and preserved to make fish last in the old days. But it's become an acquired taste that's still in demand in this modern world. At your local Asian market, it comes in many forms: dried, canned, frozen or jarred in oil. We favor using the jarred salted mackerel in soy bean oil for its ease of use. But this one is increasingly hard to find. Also available is the previously frozen but already defrosted salted mackerel steaks (2/pk) in clam shells in the refrigerated section. There's no need to rehydrate either of these before cooking. Because of its strong pungent flavor, we only need 2 medium mackerel steaks. Thanks partially to its high salt content and partially to it being soaked in oil, the jarred version keeps almost indefinitely refrigerated even after it's been open. But because it does contain high amounts of sodium, we recommend eating salted fish in moderation.
In this recipe, we pair salted fish with Chinese sausage (lap cheong)
. For the lap cheong
, we like Kam Yen Jan brand Chinese style sausage made with pork and chicken. Slice it thinly on the diagonal. To store the remainder of the open package, we typically go ahead and slice up all the sausages and freeze what we don't use. It'll make quick use of it in the future and keep much longer than simply throwing an open package into the fridge. If salted fish doesn't suit your palette, skip it and simply have Chinese sausage fried rice, also delicious.
Usually, fried rice is made with leftover day-old white rice, reheated. If you have to cook a fresh pot of rice to make fried rice, fluff it afterwards in a large shallow pan to allow rice to cool and aerate. You want the excess moisture in the rice to evaporate. Freshly cooked rice has too much moisture to fry successfully. You'll get mushy sticky fried rice that's more steamed than fried. And it'll be hard to capture that precious wok hay
(wok's breath) that good stir-fried food is supposed to have. Be mindful not to overcrowd the wok. It should be easy to flip or stir food around. Let the wok breathe. If you have a smaller wok, cook in batches. It'll take more time, but you'll get much better results.