This has been my favorite kind of fried rice, savory, sweet, acidic and loads of umami flavors in one bite! This recipe is inspired by one of Martin Yan’s recipes. I don’t exactly remember what other ingredients are in his recipe, but pineapple and Chinese sausage are such a great combination that my sons and I really enjoy.
What Makes Great Fried Rice
Chinese restaurants and home cooks love to use cold cooked rice because it’s drier and less sticky which makes it perfect for stir-fry. But if you decide to make fried rice at the last minute and need to cook fresh rice, please see my notes in the recipe below for instructions. The idea of using cold & slightly dried rice is to make sure the rice can be easily spread out evenly so that every bit of rice would incorporate all the flavors and fragrance of the other ingredients. If the rice is too mushy and sticky, it’s hard to stir-fry evenly with other ingredients.
Soy sauce is the primary seasoning so getting a great quality one is really important. I personally like this double fermented Chinese soy sauce for stir-frying rice because it has the most balanced flavor and brighter colors after seasoning the rice. It’s sold in Chinese grocery stores. Whole bean soy sauce is also a great option too.
What is XO Sauce?
The recipe I am introducing today is a classic Hong Kong style fried rice. What makes it Hong Kong style? It is the spicy seafood-based XO sauce packed with tons of umami and aromatic flavors. It was invented in Hong Kong back in the 1980s. I use this sauce in almost every stir-fry dish, whether it’s vegetables or fried rice, or even just eat it with rice. If you are wondering how I make the sauce, check out the recipe here.
XO sauce is available at some Chinese grocery stores in the States or online. There’s also a Japanese version for ramen that is very similar to the Hong Kong version. Since the XO sauce uses high-quality seafood ingredients, they are quite expensive for a small jar compared to other stir-fry sauces. Buy a small jar first and see if you like it. I highly recommend making it at home since it’s less expensive and has no additives. It makes everything taste so much better!
There’s another sauce that Chinese people really like. The mushroom flavored soybean-based sauce (on the left in the picture below) is available in every Chinese store in the States. The best thing is it’s vegetarian and has tons of umami flavor thanks to the fermented shiitake mushrooms. When I first tasted it, it smelled just like meat sauce and super aromatic. It’s my go-to sauce when I run out of XO sauce.
If you are not able to buy any of the sauces or make your own, please see substitution in my recipe notes below.
The other key ingredient is the Chinese sausage. Hong Kong and Guangzhou are known for its superior and historic Cantonese-style sausage making. The savory and sweet sausage is made with pork meat seasoned with soy sauce and other ingredients. For where to buy Chinese sausage, I have a post about Chinese sausage and brand recommendations for those who live in the States. I also have a Chinese sausage recipe for fried rice.
Prepare all the ingredients beforehand and put them next to the wok/pan.
Heat 1 tsp oil in the wok over medium-high, add garlic and sausage. Once the sausage turns slightly brown, remove from the wok and set aside.
Heat the wok over medium heat. Once the wok gets hot, Add 1 tbsp oil, then the eggs and use a spatula to quickly scramble the egg.
*Important* The cooking temperature is key in this step. We don't want to use high heat at the beginning because it'll quickly overcook the eggs. Stir in rice while the eggs are still runny so that it's easy to incorporate them nicely. Also if you use high heat for cold rice, it can quickly burn the rice while it's still chunky.
Once the rice is almost broken apart, turn the heat to high. Transfer the sausage back in, add XO sauce, soy sauce, and pineapple. Keep stirring until everything is incorporated.
Garnish with green onions.
- To cook the rice, the regular rice-to-water ratio is 1:1.5. But if you decided to make fried rice last minute and need to make fresh rice, I recommend the ratio 1:1, meaning 1 cup water & 1 cup rice so the cooked rice is not too sticky.
- After the rice is cooked, make sure let cool to room temperature by spreading it out. If you have a little bit more time, transfer to a container and put it in the fridge for 1 hour.
- If you don't have XO sauce or mushroom sauce, combine 2 tbsps soy sauce, 1 tbsp dark soy sauce, and 1/2 tsp fish sauce and mix well.