So, I may be biased but this prawn fried rice is seriously the best fried rice recipe. Filled with peas, bean sprouts and all the authentic flavour you get from your favourite Chinese takeaway, your family will love this.
Why you’ll love it
So here’s why you’re going to love this Chinese prawn fried rice.
- This is REAL fried rice – just like you get from your Chinese takeaway.
- Quick and easy to make – a few little preps ahead of time will make it even easier.
- It tastes amazing –authentic fried rice flavour and texture is so easy to do.
- Luxury – Prawns right! And and a simple trick to get them in every bite.
Make this for a full dinner (for 4) or as a side dish (also for 4, because, hello FRIED RICE). We have been eating this one for weeks now, while I tested and tested to get it just right and I’m super excited to share this one with you.
One more thing:
- It’s a fridge cleaner – sound gross right but, hey, if you don’t have prawns but you’ve got chicken, go for it. Got a spare bit of bacon that needs using up, go for it. No peas but you’ve got corn and carrots – have at it. The base rice flavour is all you need to make this the fried rice of your dreams!
Too much. Ha! Let’s make it!
Table of contents
Ingredients you’ll need
Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Type: Use whichever type / species of prawns or shrimp you can get your hands on. I use large ones and the recipe timing is to suit. If yours are smaller just cook them until they look cooked through, then proceed. Got jumbo prawns, butterfly them but cut all the way through.
- Shell on: Your choice, of course, but I have to put my bid in for you to buy prawns with the shell on and shell them yourself. It takes 10 extra minutes (which you can do the day before) but the texture is so, so, so much better – I promise. Those that are unshelled then frozen, absorb moisture and end up having a crunchy as opposed to meaty texture.
- Type: Want to know what kind of rice Chinese restaurants use? It’s Jasmine rice and that’s exactly what I’ve used here. Basmati rice will work too though it has a slightly different flavour. Brown rice can work too, since any rice you use needs to be pre-cooked, but it will have a much different flavour.
- Day-old: This is so important for the best fried rice, make the rice the day before. I go into more depth on this below.
- Peanut oil: This is a classic in Chinese cookery because it has a very high smoke point making it perfect for super-hot wok cooking and stir fry. Check that whoever you’re making this for isn’t allergic to peanuts first however you can also substitute for another high smoking point oil. Rice bran is my runner up!
- Soy sauce: Use light soy sauce. Not dark, not sweet. You can use tamari for a gluten-free version.
- Oyster sauce: Filled with umami, this is like a thick, slightly sweeter and somehow meatier flavoured sauce. Check the label if you need gluten-free. I believe Kikkoman is suitable for a GF diet.
- Seasoning: Other than sauces, the only seasoning you need is salt and ground white pepper. The pepper adds a good kick so feel free to cut it in half.
- Eggs: You’ll need 3 eggs. Get free-range if you have the means and do the chooks a favour.
- Garlic: Almost like a seasoning here, garlic adds a good umami element.
- Spring onions: You may know these as green onions or scallions. These look like itty bitty skinny leeks and add loads of, albeit mild, onion flavour.
- Peas & bean sprouts: Frozen peas work a treat but get fresh bean sprouts. They add great flavour, extra veg and a tender kind of crunch.
The sesame chilli oil
I simply had to add this sesame chilli oil but it’s totally optional. As a whole meal the chilli oil just finishes it off perfectly.
With sesame oil, garlic and soy sauce it has a great umami bite. Ginger adds sweetness and heat. The sesame seeds add a slight crunch and the five spice powder adds a lovely cosiness.
The chilli though – use Korean or Chinese chilli flakes, available from any Asian grocer – see them above. If you use regular dried chilli flakes you’ll need much less as they contain seeds making it much hotter. The Korean or Chinese style is much milder, meaning you can get a bit of heat and a gorgeous colour by adding more.
- Chilli oil: The sesame chilli oil can be served at room temperature so make it a day, or a few, before.
- Prawns: Shell and devein your prawns the day before and leave them, covered, in the fridge overnight.
- Rice: To get the perfect fried rice texture, the rice should be day-old, so cook it the day before and chill within an hour.
- Mise en place: To be completely honest, if you do a little mise en place (aka fancy French term for prepping all ingredients and having them ready in little bowls or on a plate), you can have this made in 15 minutes or less. So, prep your rice and prawns yesterday, chop up your onions, mince the garlic and ginger before work in the morning and tadaa! Seriously quick dinner.
Tools you’ll need
- A wok (← this is the actual one I use and love – affiliate link)
- A good wooden or bamboo spatula
- Chopping board and a good sharp knife.
How to cook white rice
Before making fried rice, you’ll need to cook up your rice (the day before). I use my rice cooker most often but cooking it on the stove using the “absorption method” is actually just as simple.
Wash the rice:
- Always wash the rice first. Place it in a strainer and wash, moving it around with your hands until the water runs clear. Washing the rice will remove excess starch which only makes rice stick together.
To cook the rice:
- Place 1 cup of rice into a large saucepan (that has a lid) and add 1 ½ cups of tap water.
- Place over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil.
- Turn it immediately down to a low simmer, place the lid on and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and let it sit, with the lid on, for another 8 minutes.
- Remove the lid and fluff it up with a fork.
- Let it cool for no longer than 1 hour before storing in the fridge in an airtight container.
How to make fried rice with prawns
This easy fried rice with prawns makes such a quick and tasty weeknight dinner but it’s also super comforting and the leftovers are delicious too.
Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Prepare your ingredients: This recipe moves very quickly, so make sure everything you need is ready and on hand before you start. Chop up 6-7 of the prawns into small pieces – this makes sure you get pieces of prawn in every bite plus some nice big whole ones.
- Make the chilli oil: (photo 1) If you’re using it, make the chilli oil ahead of time, so it can cool but you can make it immediately before starting the fried rice.
- Mix your sauce: Mix up your fried rice sauce ingredients in a small bowl (photo 2) so you can add them in one go.
- Cook the eggs: Start by adding some oil to a wok over medium-high heat and let it get hot. Add the beaten eggs and cook, carefully moving and folding (photo 3) it a little until just cooked through. Set it aside on a chopping board. Roughly chop it up.
- Cook the prawns: Add the whole and the roughly chopped prawns, garlic and chopped spring onions. Stir fry for 3-5 minutes until the whole prawns are just about cooked through (photo 4).
- Add the rice: Add the cold, pre-cooked rice and cook stirring for another couple of minutes to heat through (photo 5).
- Add the rest: Add the sauce and mix it through well then add the peas and bean sprouts. Let them cook for a couple of minutes then add the egg and green parts of the spring onions.
- Serve immediately: The rice is ready to serve straight away. I serve it with a few fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) and raw bean sprouts, then drizzle over a little chilli oil. If not using chilli oil, you could add some finely sliced green chilli.
- Use a large wok so that you have room to make this all at once. With smaller woks, you’ll need to cook in batches or the rice may become gluggy.
- Have everything ready: This dish moves extremely quickly so make sure everything is ready at the start.
- Prep ahead: Prepping your prawns, rice and chilli oil the day before saves even more time.
- Use day-old rice: See more below but fresh warm rice will just turn out mushy.
- Roughly chop up 6-7 prawns: Chopping some of the prawns into small pieces means you’ll get a bit of prawn in every mouthful.
Why use day-old rice for fried rice?
Rice cooked right before you add it to fried rice will result in stodgy fried rice. Yuk! We want individual grains of rice with an almost chewy texture that’s so classic with fried rice which means it needs to be cold and fluffed up before you start.
There’s actually some science to this. Chilled rice goes through a process called retrogradation in which the starch molecules form crystalline structures that make the grains firm enough to withstand the second round of cooking. Info from this source.
What to do with leftover steamed rice
I suggest if you’re making rice for a meal to make twice the amount, so that you have some ready for fried rice. There’s a few rules though.
- Chill it within an hour of cooking: Rice should not be left to go cold on the kitchen bench as it can easily develop bacteria. Chill it within a maximum of 1 hour, I normally do it within ½ an hour.
- Don’t doggy bag it: Do not doggy bag rice and take it home when you eat out. You don’t know how many times it’s been reheated and it may be left out and be ripe for bacterial growth by the time you get home
- Freeze it: If you make a double batch, or even have just a little bit leftover, freeze it. Cooked rice actually freezes very well and you can add to it each time you make it, then when you have enough, it’s fried rice night – this is generally how we do it in our house.
More recipes you’ll love
- Sesame Prawn Toast
- Salt and Pepper Prawns
- Turkey San Choy Bow (Chinese Lettuce Cups)
- Honey Pepper Pork Stir Fry
- Crispy Asian Chilli Beef Mince
- One pan prawn and chorizo pasta
IF YOU TRY THIS recipe for prawn fried rice, please take a moment to leave a rating and comment below. I love hearing from you, and it helps other readers too!
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Chinese Prawn Fried Rice
- 750 g raw, unpeeled large prawns (shrimp) (1.7lb) (notes 4)
FOR THE SAUCE
- 1 ½ tablespoons light soy sauce (notes 1)
- 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
FOR THE RICE
- ¼ cup peanut oil
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 4 cups cooked day-old Jasmine rice, chilled (fluff up, then measure) (540g / 1.2lb) (notes 2)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 spring onions (scallions / green onions), finely chopped (white and green divided)
- ¾ cup frozen peas
- 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
OPTIONAL: SESAME CHILLI OIL
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 ½ tablespoons Korean chilli flakes (or 1-2 tsp dried chilli flakes) (notes 6)
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
- ¼ teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- ¼ cup peanut oil (or a neutral flavoured vegetable oil)
- OPTIONAL: SESAME CHILLI OIL (Can be made 2-3 days in advance). Combine the sesame oil, garlic, chilli flakes, sesame seeds, ginger, five spice powder and soy sauce in a heatproof bowl or jug (something you can safely add boiling hot oil to).
- Heat the peanut oil in a saucepan or wok until smoking and starting to bubble. Standing clear, pour the hot oil over the combined spices in the bowl. It will sizzle furiously for a few seconds. Stir, then leave to cool.
- PREP THE PRAWNS (can be done the day before): Remove the shells from the prawns, then cut down the back and pull / scrape out the digestive tract and discard. Chop 6 of the prawns into small pieces. Chill the prawns in a covered plate or container until ready to begin.
- THE SAUCE: Mix together the sauce ingredients and set aside.
- THE RICE: Heat 1 tablespoon oil over high heat in a wok. Add the eggs and cook swirling to make a thin omelette, folding the cooked parts as you go. Tip the fully cooked omelette out on a chopping board and roughly chop into large chunks.
- Add remaining oil to the wok and heat over medium-high heat. Add the prawns, garlic and white parts of the onions, stirring for 3-4 minutes until almost cooked through.
- Turn the heat up to high and add the rice, mixing well. Cook, turning and stirring often for another 2 minutes until hot through.
- Add the sauce and stir through.
- Immediately add the peas and bean sprouts and cook, stirring often for another 2 minutes.
- Finally, add back the egg and the green parts of the onions. Stir well. Let it heat for another minute then serve immediately with a drizzle of chilli oil, if using.
- Please take a moment to rate this recipe. I helps me to keep creating free recipes and helps other readers too.
- Recipe based on a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons). Many other countries including the US have a 15ml tablespoon.
- For best results, you must use day-old, chilled rice.
- To cook rice. Add 2 cups Jasmine rice and 3 cups of water to a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then cover with a lid and turn down to a low simmer for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave it with the lid on for another 8 minutes. Fluff it up with a fork. Let it cool no more than one hour before transferring to the fridge in an airtight container.
- Prawns / shrimp are best purchased with the shell on and removed yourself – it affects the texture greatly.
- Prawns / shrimp weigh about twice as much with the head and shell on, so purchase roughly 750g prawns in their shells.
- Chilli flakes: Dried chilli flakes / red pepper flakes come in many different varieties. The more seeds visible, the hotter it will be. If you want the gorgeous red colour of a traditional chilli oil without having to add so much chilli that it’s inedible, try getting hold of some Chinese or Korean chilli flakes from an Asian grocer. These are perfectly suited to making chilli oil and giving a bit of spice with a bright red colour.
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