Best Shrimp Fried Rice

Back in Elementary school I’d remember we had International Day, where students were asked to bring a dish from the country they were from.  Being Chinese, most of my friends assumed all we ate were eggrolls and fried rice and that we all knew some form of karate.   Not wanting to veer too far from stereotypes to risk confusion and so more people would like me, I decided to make Shrimp Fried Rice.

I cooked two pots of rice and was frying my eggs when my mother loomed into the kitchen — “WHAT YOU DOING?” You see my mother has a thunderous voice, the kind that just shocks you right in the ear making your shoulder suddenly jolt up in pain. “Uhm…I’m making shrimp fried rice for International Day at school.” I continue to sauté my vegetables, feeling her lurking heavily over my shoulder.  She looked over at the pot of my freshly cooked rice and watched her brow wrinkle in distress: I’ve really gone and done it now, I’ve offended the Fried Rice Gods!  “How can you use that rice?  Must be OLD RICE, you cannot serve this, BU HAO!” And indeed it was bu hao, it sucked actually – I ended up with a goopy, soggy, pasty mess and safe to say, it was the worst fried rice ever.

You see–good thing you have mommy here to teach you how to make!” I ended up buying the Shrimp Fried Rice from General Chopsticks that day because what I made was honestly not edible.  That very weekend my mother taught me how to make the world’s BEST Shrimp Fried Rice, her secret? — A sprinkle of chicken bouillon and white pepper at the very end.  So here it is, I’m passing on the love: My mother’s guide to Shrimp Fried Rice.

1.       Always use day old rice – make sure it is dry and not mushy and preferably cold.

2.      Fry all of your ingredients separately – shrimp, eggs, vegetables, rice, to avoid making just one gigantic clump and this ensures that all ingredients are cooked evenly.

3.      Use very hot heat and the right amount of oil, too little oil will break the rice apart, making it very sticky – for every 2 1/2 cups of rice I recommend using 2 tablespoons of oil.

4.      Pre-marinating the shrimp makes all the difference in the world.

5.      Always taste your rice the very last minute and adjust seasonings accordingly.

Recipe for the Best Shrimp Fried Rice:

(Serves 2-3; Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Cooking Time: 40 minutes)


  • 1 cup shrimp
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • ¼ cup Shao Xing Cooking Wine
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • ½ cup vegetable oil


  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
  • ¼ cup white onion, chopped
  • ½ cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 ½ cups of cold, day old rice
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon Chicken Bouillon
  • A pinch of white pepper (and salt if needed.)
  • ½ cup green scallions, finely chopped

Marinate the shrimp with shrimp, cornstarch, cooking wine, soy sauce and white pepper.  The oil will be for later use.  Refrigerate the shrimp for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, gently break apart the rice into small clumps using your hands and set aside.  Chop the onion, green onion and scramble your eggs.

Set a metal strainer and a bowl aside to catch the excess oil from cooking the shrimp.  Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok at high heat until the oil just begins to smoke.  Add the shrimp mixture and quickly sauté the shrimp, making sure all surfaces of the shrimp hits the hot oil.  Cook for about 1 ½ -2 minutes or until shrimp are almost cooked through (the surfaces will turn entirely pink), turn off heat and allow shrimp to cook the rest of the way for an additional minute.  Strain shrimp through strainer and set aside and save the oil for the rice.

In the same skillet or wok, heat a tablespoon of the reserved oil over medium high heat until hot.  Sautee onions for 2 minutes and then add the frozen vegetables.  Add another tablespoon of oil and add the rice.  Gently break up the rice with the vegetable mixture by shaking the skillet or wok, or moving it around with a heat-proof spoon.  Add the soy sauce and mix thoroughly and then add the shrimp.  Sprinkle with chicken bouillon and a pinch of white pepper, taste and salt accordingly.  When ready to serve, sprinkle finely chopped green scallions to add a burst of freshness.


  1. Posted 8 Mar ’11 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Oh lovely, just the way an Asian style fried rice to look like! Btw, my hubby is now making his own fried rice in the kitchen. Ha…
    Blessings, Kristy

    • Posted 10 Mar ’11 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Kristy! How funny hahaha and how wonderful that your husband cooks for you :)

  2. Posted 8 Mar ’11 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Look at those beautiful grilled shrimp! I adore fried rice and love making it an entree by adding some tofu or shrimp on top.

    • Posted 10 Mar ’11 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      ThANK YOU bRIAN!

    • Posted 10 Mar ’11 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      oops my Caps was on. :)

  3. Posted 8 Mar ’11 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    I comment on all of your posts, don’t I? :P JOY! The photos are so good, I can almost smell the rice from my screen. I want to eat some NOW.

    • Posted 10 Mar ’11 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Hee hee Elissa you’re the best :) If only we lived close to each other, I’d feed you til your heart was content!

  4. Posted 8 Mar ’11 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    This is so funny. Oh, the things we learn as children that will change the course of our lives. That may sound dramatic, but all things are high drama as kids. The photos are gorgeous!

    • Posted 10 Mar ’11 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Ohmygosh I was all about drama when I was little. Too bad my dad always told me to shut it down and my mom just simply slapped me back into place. Thank you for the kind words :)

  5. Posted 8 Mar ’11 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Mmmm, your photos are as delectable as the foods themselves!

    • Posted 10 Mar ’11 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Farah :) !!!

  6. Posted 8 Mar ’11 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    I did not know about using old rice! We usually end up using rice that’s a couple days old when making fried rice, but several weeks ago we had a hankering but no rice. So of course, we cooked up some rice and, just as you said, it came out sticky and gummy! Learned the hard way. Now it’s confirmed that we must use old rice, and we’ll never forget it. The shrimp version sounds fabulous — will put to use soon, I’m sure… old rice included!



    • Posted 10 Mar ’11 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      Haha we learn from our mistakes :) Thank you for the kind words Heather!

  7. Posted 8 Mar ’11 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    super cute story, i admit to using same-day rice. but i guess i overcook it to the crappy point so it’s dried out anyway . now i am in the mood for shrimp! is it a super sin that i use brown rice sometimes when i made fried rice? oops :-)

    • Posted 10 Mar ’11 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Hi Mallory! It is not a sin at all to use brown rice, I’ve done it before plenty of times I’ve also used wild rice too.

  8. Posted 8 Mar ’11 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    Joy this is a fantastic dish. I love trying different version of Shrimp Fried Rice. This will be great during Lent for those meatless Fridays!

    • Posted 10 Mar ’11 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      OOOOoo! Thank you Bao — what did you give up for lent this year?

    • Posted 14 Mar ’11 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      Joy I gave up buy photography equipment…its a bad addiction… :)

  9. Posted 9 Mar ’11 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    Being that there’s heavy Chinese influence on Filipino cuisine, my family also adheres to the use of day-old rice (for fried rice) though I admit that when I absolutely must have fried rice, I’ve been known to use a freshly-cooked batch. There are very few things better than shrimp fried rice, I think. There was a Chinese restaurant my husband and I frequented for years until the matriarch decided to retire and take care of her grandchildren. Her shrimp fried rice was one of the best I’ve tasted. Now I can try your mom’s! Thanks for sharing it with us, Joy. I love it when you share stories about your mom. Reminds me of my relationship with my own mother. :-)

    • Posted 10 Mar ’11 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      :) I hate to say this but I really haven’t been exposed to a lot of Filipino food. I’ve had it a couple times through my friends and I LOVED it, but it always seems ot be a struggle to find a good filipino restaurant around town. I think at the end of the day, all asian moms are the same: intense, a little crazy, but always loving.

  10. Posted 9 Mar ’11 at 2:14 am | Permalink

    I like the story with this recipe! I agree about using cold, day-old rice, and thanks for the chicken bouillon tip!

    • Posted 10 Mar ’11 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Jennifer! My mom actually use to use little left over ramen packets too, she’d sprinkle just a little at the very end. It made all the difference in the world.

  11. Posted 9 Mar ’11 at 3:09 am | Permalink

    that looks delicious ! very nice blog and beautifully presented
    you could stop by at my blog if you wish to @ :)

    • Posted 10 Mar ’11 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Ayesha!

  12. Posted 9 Mar ’11 at 3:24 am | Permalink

    looks so delicious and colorful… when you say old rice, do you mean cooked rice which was left over from last night ?

    • Posted 10 Mar ’11 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Hello Kankana — yes old rice means left over rice from the day before! Thanks for the kind words :0

  13. Posted 9 Mar ’11 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    How is that mother’s are so good at pushing all your buttons but they end up being right so often? Argh, drives me crazy :-)

    • Posted 10 Mar ’11 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      It drives me nuts too. I remember I’d be so angry everytime she proved me wrong, but after 22 years she finally wore me down. I now accept any suggestion with an open and VERY willing heart haha

  14. Posted 9 Mar ’11 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Mommy always know the best when it comes to cooking. That fried rice is just wonderful. I am so making it. Thank you for wonderful tips.

    • Posted 10 Mar ’11 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Dont they?? Thanks so much, hope you enjoy the recipe!

  15. Posted 9 Mar ’11 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    I love your connection with your mom and how you have so much to express about her. I am sure if I was making some Armenian dish, my mom would have done the same.
    Confession: Never had fried rice at restaurants, but I would love to attempt to make it at home and I thank you for sharing your family recipe. :)

    • Posted 10 Mar ’11 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Hey Adelina –

      I actually always tell me friends to skip the fried rice at restaurants and try making it at home. I’m always weary of ordering fried rice after working at a Chinese restaurant for 2 years, it’s just so much better when you make it yourself :) Thanks for the kind words!

  16. Posted 9 Mar ’11 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    lovely photo!

    • Posted 10 Mar ’11 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Alyce!

  17. Posted 9 Mar ’11 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    Tell your mother thanks! I know what to do with my left over rice (I always make too much for my curries) … and now I know why my fried rice never meets my expectations!

    • Posted 10 Mar ’11 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Hahaha I will! Glad my mama could help you out :)

  18. Posted 9 Mar ’11 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    It’s indeed a very gorgeous looking fried rice! I want to dig in now!

    • Posted 10 Mar ’11 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Thanks so much Ellie :)

  19. Posted 10 Mar ’11 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    Joy, this is a perfect fried rice :) Congrats on the Foodbuzz Top 1!

    • Posted 10 Mar ’11 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Ann you too!!

  20. Posted 14 Mar ’11 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Mmmm this is making my mouth water, Joy! Looks and sounds like the best, indeed! I love fried for a fast and tasty meal. Your 2nd photo with the tray and wine bottle/glass is especially nice :) .

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