This delicious fried rice originates from the city of Yangzhou, China during the Sui Dynasty (589–618 CE), although the stir-frying technique did not become popular until the late Ming dynasty (1368–1644 CE) [i, ii]. Also known as Yangchow fried rice, this dish combines starch (traditionally Chinese white rice, here substituted with brown rice for higher fiber content), vegetables (here carrots, onion, corn kernels, green peas, and green onion), protein (here egg and shrimp), and oil (traditionally corn or peanut oil, here substituted with olive oil for higher antioxidant and lower saturated fatty acid contents). A staple in Chinese cuisine, this easy-to-prepare shrimp fried brown rice is a great way to incorporate more vegetables and whole grains into your diet!
This recipe uses mostly natural, minimally processed ingredients including:
Carrots: Carrots are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and antioxidants including lutein and zeaxanthin. Vitamin A is essential for vision, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps counter the formation of free radicals that lead to tissue damage, and lutein and zeaxanthin help protect eyes from harmful high-energy light waves such as UV rays in sunlight [iii].
Onions: Onions are a good source of several vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. In particular, quercetin, a flavonoid, is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent and assists with vitamin E production. Every onion has antioxidants, but red and yellow onions have more than the white ones [iv]. The prebiotic fiber in onions feeds gut bacteria (probiotics) to help with gastrointestinal digestion and support a healthy microbiome.
Green peas: Green peas are a good source of dietary fiber and plant-based protein. They also contain many B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and anti-inflammatory agents [v].
Green onions: Green onions are a good source of dietary fiber, folate, vitamin C, antioxidants including flavonoids and polyphenols, and antifungal agents including allicin. In particular, allicin may help reduce the risk for certain cancers and lower blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure. However, current evidence is inconclusive [vi].
Eggs: Eggs are a good source of high-quality protein, vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B12, vitamin D, iodine, selenium, choline, and more. One egg contains 6 grams of protein with all nine essential amino acids [vii].
Shrimp: Shrimp is a good source of high-quality protein, vitamin B12, iodine, selenium, phosphorus, antioxidant astaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that boost immunity, reduce inflammation, and lower the risk of various chronic diseases including CVD and rheumatoid arthritis [viii].
Brown rice: Brown rice is a good source of dietary fiber, B vitamins, iron, minerals, and antioxidants including flavonoids and polyphenols. In particular, brown rice is a high-fiber “whole grain” and has a lower glycemic index than white rice, meaning that it elevates blood sugar to a lesser extent, due to its retainment of husk, bran, and germ [ix].
Olive oil: Olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids (i.e. oleic acid), vitamin E, vitamin K, and antioxidants including polyphenols, phytosterols and terpenic acid. In particular, oleic acid helps reduce inflammation and lower blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and risk of various chronic diseases including CVD [x].
Chinese Shrimp Fried Brown Rice
- 3 carrots, medium
- 2 onions, large
- 4 green onions, fresh, medium
- 1 ½ cups corn kernels, fresh
- 1 ½ cups green peas, fresh
- 8 eggs, large, raw
- 30 shrimps, medium (approximately 1 pound)
- 2 1/2 cups brown rice, dry
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- Dice the carrots, onions, and green onions. Prepare 1.5 cups of fresh corn kernels and 1.5 cups of green peas. Crack and beat the eggs. Peel and devein the shrimp.
- Rinse the brown rice under cold water for 30 seconds. Drain. Soak in 5 cups of water for 10 minutes. Cook over high heat to bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and cover and simmer for 30 minutes until all liquid is absorbed.
- In a cooking pan, add olive oil and rapidly swirl in small circles around the pan. Add the eggs.
- Add the carrots, onions, corn kernels, green peas, shrimp, and cooked brown rice to the cooking pan.
- Add soy sauce, oyster sauce, black pepper, and green onion to the cooking pan. Stir-fry until completely mixed.
- This recipe is very flexible and any protein or vegetables can be used depending on your preferences. Frozen vegetables may also be used.
- You may substitute brown rice with konjac rice or cauli-rice if you are looking for a lower calorie or lower carbohydrate version.
- Substitute soy sauce and oyster sauce with reduced-sodium versions or reduce the quantity for those with high blood pressure or other conditions requiring salt reduction. Use coconut aminos to make this recipe gluten-free and soy-free.
- To save time, you can use pre-cooked rice or microwave rice pouches.
[i] Chinese Fried Rice. ifoodtv.
[ii] Young, G. (2010). Stir-Frying to the sky’s edge: The ultimate guide to mastery, with authentic recipes and stories. Simon and Schuster, 49, ISBN 9781416580577.
[iii] Nelson, A. (2020). Carrots. WebMD.
[iv] Mikstas, C. (2021). Health benefits of onions. WebMD.
[v] Sachdev, P. (2022). Health benefits of peas. WebMD.
[vi] Zelman, KM. (2022). Scallions. WebMD.
[vii] Juber, M. (2022). Health benefits of eggs. WebMD.
[viii] Blair, W. (2021). Health benefits of shrimp. WebMD.
[ix] Brown rice vs. white rice: Which is better for you? Healthline.
[x] Zelman, KM. (2022). Health benefits of olive oil. WebMD.