Recipe: Chinese Sausage Fried Rice

We just wanted to sit in front of the couch and eat a bowl full of rice.
I will always remember making this dish with such fondness. Why? Because I was the sous chef (second in command). My husband took the lead and cooked this while I was coaching and guiding him through each step of the process.

I just had my spine surgery done and I was under a "soft food diet" for the first week. Carl did a great job feeding me mostly with soup, soft bread, chocolate pudding, and Jell-O. The first few days, I was just useless. Every movement hurt (I feared having to sneeze) and all I needed to do was rest, drink loads of water, and focus on getting better. As the following weekend approached, Carl asked me how to make fried rice because he saw we had bought some Chinese sausages that were in the chiller. By this time, I was able to stand and walk around a bit, with my cane of course. I was happy because Carl wanted to cook the dish and I was equally amused when he told me to just coach him on how to do it. He knew he wanted to prepare this but didn't know where to start. The only thing he asked me to do was really just slice the chicken and the sausages - I know he's just mainly grossed out with touching uncooked meats. (I had to rest after that too... what a strenuous activity!) Other than that, he did all the work. And he did such a great job too! Good job, Baboy! (Yes, I call him that. It means "pig" in Tagalog. He calls me "Unggoy"... that means "monkey".)

With my phone on one hand (to take photos) and my cane on the other, I wobbled about beside him while he went straight to work. He followed each instruction, measured to the tee, and with equal panic and delight, he was able to make this. The onion-slicing part was probably the toughest for him - because you know.... tears. I also think that he was especially craving for freshly-made food (specifically rice) because since I was on a soft diet, I think he felt guilty eating a different kind of dish from what I was having so he would also have some sandwich and soup with me.

Of course, needless to say.... there were no leftovers. We scraped that pan clean.

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Chinese Sausage Fried Rice
This recipe could definitely feed 2-3 people. It was easy, you know.... for just the 2 of us to finish this.  Not that we felt challenged to finish it. We were just really starving at this point.

You'll need a skillet or wok, a wooden spoon, a chopping board, some plates, and some bowls.

Ingredients
2 chicken thighs, deboned or fillets, skin-on and cubed
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp soy sauce
salt and pepper

4 Chinese sausage links, sliced on a diagonal
vegetable oil, as needed

1/2 white onion, sliced
1 knob of ginger, sliced on a diagonal
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup frozen vegetables (carrots, peas, beans, and corn mix, or whatever you have)

2 eggs, large, beaten
3 1/2 cups cooked jasmine rice

2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp hoisin sauce

2 tsp sesame oil
green onions, chopped for topping
sesame seeds, optional for topping

Procedure
1. Prepare all your ingredients and assemble your mise-en-place. Marinate your chicken thighs (in garlic powder, sesame oil, soy sauce, and salt and pepper), slice your vegetables, and prepare your sliced sausages.
 

2. Heat up the vegetable oil in a skillet to medium heat and sauté the sausage slices then set aside. Using the same pan, sear the chicken pieces until well browned and cooked through. Set aside.
 
 

3. Sauté the ginger slices next for about a minute. Add the sliced onions and chopped garlic. Sauté until tender. Add the frozen vegetables and continue to cook through. Set aside.
 
 

4. Add some more vegetable oil, enough to coat the pan. Add the scrambled eggs and swirl around the pan. Once it starts cooking through (but still a little runny), add the cooked rice and mix together.
   

5. Add the cooked sausages and chicken thigh pieces. Add the liquids together (soy sauce, oyster sauce, and hoisin sauce) and sauté making sure the sauces are distributed and have coated the rice. Add the cooked vegetables.
    

6. Turn off the heat and drizzle the sesame oil. Stir into the fried rice and season to taste. Optional, top with sesame seeds and chopped green onions.

7. Grab some chopsticks, pick a movie, sit on the couch, and stuff your face. ENJOY!!!

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*When you "slice on a diagonal", you essentially expose more surface area of the food item when cooking or sautéing. This then enables the ingredient to release more of its flavour, has better Maillard reaction, and caramelizes much better. You may see this more in Asian cookery. 

**Sometimes, my husband likes his fried rice sweeter, like when you make Unagi (eel) fried rice. You can definitely add a sprinkling of brown sugar. Because you have all the other sauces here, you've got a myriad of all these umami-packed flavours. Oyster sauce provides a salty and briny taste, Hoisin sauce is sweet, salty, and garlicky, while the Soy sauce provides a salty depth and an umami punch to the dish. You can always just select 1 base sauce or lessen or add more of any sauce. Just don't go overboard.

***As with any other cuisine, there's a whole range of types of sausages. Chinese sausages are mostly dried with a sweet or salty taste. The variations are many but mostly pork-based, with a good amount of pork meat and fat. These are definitely umami-packed and can kick-up the flavour-scale of a dish. The most common known Chinese sausage is the Lap Cheong wherein a bacteria is added to the meat mixture, allowing it to breakdown the meats and sugars. After this ferments during the curing process, the sausages are flavoured and dried slowly thus developing its unique flavour. 



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