For many Chinese and ABCs (American-born Chinese), this Cantonese chicken and salted fish fried rice dish is an absolute no-brainer. When it’s on the menu, you must have it, no matter whom you’re eating with and how disgusted they may or may not be by your meal choice. Feel no shame, my friend!
As for our non-Asian friends, this salted fish fried rice might sound perhaps a bit too adventurous, at best. At its worst, it sounds like something Andrew Zimmern might describe with one of his crazy adjectives. Fetid. Mineral-y. Barnyard-y?
Don’t click away! Try to keep an open mind, because I want to share a story with you—my first encounter with a plain cheese pizza.
My grandmother helped every one of her five adult children and their families come to America in 1983 (between all the uncles, aunts and cousins, there were 20 of us).
We were literally “fresh off the boat” (well, fresh off an airplane, anyway), and my grandmother was eager to show us America. We’d only been in the USA for one day when she decided to take everyone to a local pizza parlor in downtown Monticello, NY.
She ordered some cheese pizzas, raving about how good this “pizza” was. But when the hot, gooey pizza arrived at the table, we immediately started gagging.
The smell of the cheese was overwhelming—overwhelmingly bad! Staring at my grandmother as she dug in and chowed down, we couldn’t fathom how she was controlling her gag reflex, let alone taking bite after bite of the stuff.
Such was my first encounter with cheese.
Needless to say, now I love pizza and crave cheese of all kinds.
So let’s come back to this chicken and salted fish fried rice—which may sound kind of nasty at first blush, but is actually amazing. If you love cheese and the subtle nuttiness of cooked, melted anchovies, YOU WILL LOVE THIS DISH.
It is literally like a strong cross between cheese and anchovies (if you’re not convinced by now, you can go ahead and head to another page).
But for those of you still here…another big reason to make it yourself is that restaurants never give you enough of the salty fish—sometimes to the point where you can’t even taste it (it’s expensive stuff. An entire salted fish can cost you upwards of a hundred dollars. Dollars. It’s serious. But not to worry…you can buy it in small pieces, and a little goes a long way.)
For a less exotic choice, try Scallop Fried Rice or maybe a Thai Basil Shrimp Fried Rice?
Or, just stick with this one and I promise, you won’t be sorry – on with the recipe!
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in your wok over very high heat, sear the chicken until lightly browned, and set aside.
Heat your other 2 tablespoons of oil in the wok over very high heat (the flame should be roaring the entire time you’re making this dish), and add the onion.
Cook it until turns translucent, and add the finely diced salt-cured fish. Cook for another couple minutes, until that funky (in a good way), heady aroma hits the air.
Then add the cooked rice and chicken and stir everything well until the rice is heated through.
Now add the shaoxing wine, sesame oil, and salt to taste. Stir for another minute, add the lettuce and chopped scallion, and give it all a final stir.
Serve this chicken and salted fish fried rice as a meal!