This week's Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe was chosen by Sarah of Sarah's Kitchen Adventures. It was the Sesame Shrimp Fried Rice with Cabbage from Ellie's So Easy cookbook. I was instantly excited when I learned that this would be made by the group. I have a very special place in my heart for shrimp fried rice, you see. I was first introduced to Chinese take-out by ordering myself a pint of shrimp fried rice every time the rest of the family wanted Chinese food. While my parents were ordering way more exotic delicacies, I was perfectly content with my shrimp fried rice. I mean, I loved the stuff. I didn't even bother branching out and trying other Chinese dishes until I was in college! I'm glad I finally did, because of course I have discovered many, many other loves along the way. But you never forget your first, and shrimp fried rice was mine! (Am I getting carried away because of Valentine's Day? Who knows?)
I knew I could count on Ellie to make shrimp fried rice healthier, and still have it be just as delicious as I remember. Her variation is very simple: a generous heap of green cabbage is added to the rice, along with ginger, scallions, sesame oil/sesame seeds, a dash of soy sauce (my husband was shocked at how just 3 Tablespoons of soy went such a long way!), and last but not least, the shrimp. I decided to do part green cabbage and part bok choy, just because we love bok choy around here. I also used half the amount of oil to stir-fry the shrimp. Other than that, I was very faithful to Ellie's way of doing this.
This was one of the best homemade fried rice dishes we've ever had! The tip about making sure your rice is very cold is key here; it really makes the rice perfect; non-clumpy and all the grains are soft but not gummy. I think that has been my problem with fried rice I've made in the past. The rice was never quite right, and never reminded me of takeout. This one did, though. If you fed this to company, I'd bet you they'd never know it didn't come out of a Chinese food carton! I loved this so much that I think I'm going to be making it my stand-by fried rice from here on out! Thanks again, Ellie.