Salted Fish Fried Rice 鹹魚炒飯

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Salted fish – one of my favorite ingredients ever! I’m sure I’ve told the story of how I when I was young, I convinced people that eating salted fish, salted eggs and preserved turnips (chaipo) made me big and strong (more like short and fat – but that was cute when you were 6.) I’m sure it isn’t true, but I just love the umami of those salted ingredients! It might be a lot to take in, if you haven’t tried it before, but I do urge everyone to give it a try; very much like tasting fish sauce or shrimp paste for the first time, once you get past the initial smell test the complex umami-charged flavours will have you come back for more.

I had a couple of pieces of salted mackerel that my grandmother painstakingly packed for me to bring back to the US from Singapore. She wrapped it in at least six layers – plastic bag, newspaper, plastic bag, newspaper, plastic bag, newspaper, more plastic – so that the sniffer dogs at the airport will not be able to smell them, and so my bag would not be checked going through customs. My grandmother is so nice, I told her that she didn’t need to go through this trouble and I really didn’t need to have nice salted fish while in the US – we have crappy ones for sale here. Anyway, I’m glad I have these nice pieces of salted mackerel – they’re so delicious!

It’s a been a long while since I’ve posted a recipe, so I hope you do enjoy this! Life has been busy and I haven’t been making new recipes, just going back to the old ones because that is so much easier.

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

  • 3/8 cup chopped (dried) salted fish
  • 4 cups cooked rice (overnight rice preferred)
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 chicken breast or 2 chicken thighs, deboned and cubed
  • 2+3 tablespoons oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • dash of white pepper
  • 1/2 lb bean sprouts
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
  • [garnish] 1 stalk green onion, chopped
  • [optional] 1/4 teaspoon salt – depends on how salty your salted fish is

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Directions

Add 2 tablespoons of oil in a heated skillet, and add the eggs. Stir the eggs around until cooked, then break the egg into smaller pieces using the spatula. Set the cooked eggs aside.

Add 3 tablespoons of cooking oil in the same skillet, and add the chopped salted fish and minced garlic. Fry until fragrant and the garlic is golden.

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Add the cubed chicken pieces to the pan, and fry until the chicken is cooked.

Add rice, salt and sugar, and fry until combined.

Add the egg and bean sprouts, and fry until combined.

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Garnish with chopped green onions, serve and enjoy!

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