the next country on k’s daycare schedule is China. the teacher asked for my help. years ago i taught elementary grade kids to make dumplings and i thought of simpler steps for k’s class of toddlers to make them but my greatest challenge was k’s wheat allergy. i tried for several weeks to make gluten free dumping wrappers to no avail. they kept falling apart – too fragile for toddler hands.
so m suggested fried rice, as it is something m makes often. since k’s daycare was making it for China study, i figured i’d look into the history of fried rice. according to some research, the recipe was invented by Qing China‘s Yi Bingshou (1754–1815) and the dish was named Yang Zhou fried rice since Yi was once the regional magistrate of Yangzhou and included staple ingredients like: cooked rice, shrimp, pork, scallions, fresh vegetables such as chinese broccoli, carrots, peas, corn, bamboo shoots, etc. and eggs *see note 1. eggs are an important part of the fried rice but since k has an egg allergy, i chose only ingredients that k could eat. traditional style fried rice doesn’t use soy sauce, like American take-out version fried rice uses – which i liked because soy sauce has wheat! before MSG received a bad name, it was often used for flavoring. now, an option i’ve read is to use chicken stock – or to make a meatless version – vegetable stock.
this was a fun activity to prepare for k’s class and i learned something too! when i was younger, my mom used to pack rice in a round bowl and flip it leaving a fun round shape. so i thought it would be fun to do for k’s class. i hope the kids enjoy the fried rice tower!
- mixing bowls
- 1 large saucepan
- 1 small saucepan or frying pan
- 1 frying pan – or – wok
- 5 small storage containers and 1 medium storage container
- round bowl(s) or cup(s) to shape
- shallow bowl(s) or plate(s) to serve
- 24 to 36 ounces low sodium vegetable – or – chicken stock
- 20 to 30 frozen cooked and deveined shrimp
- ½ cup bamboo shoots, chopped into bite sizes
- ½ cup shiitake mushrooms, chopped into bite sizes
- ½ cup broccoli – or – Chinese broccoli, chopped into bite sizes
- ¼ cup char sou pork, chopped into bite sizes – or –
¼ cup boiled pork, chopped into bite sizes – or –
½ cup tofu, chopped bite sizes
- ½ cup scallions (white and free parts), chopped into bite sizes, optional
- 3 cups day-old white rice
- heat stock in a large saucepan.
- take frozen shrimp from the freezer and put them in a small mixing bowl to defrost.
- take day old fried rice to warm to room temperature.
- in a small saucepan, add some stock. lightly boil vegetables in stock – bamboo, mushroom and broccoli *see note 2. strain vegetables and pack each in separate small containers.
- if including pre-made char sou pork, just chop into bite sized pieces and pack in small container. if using uncooked pork, put some stock in a small saucepan until well done. if including tofu, put some stock in a small saucepan and boil until cooked. pack in small container.
- in a small saucepan, add stock and blanch shrimps just for a minute or two until warm. pack in small container.
- in a heated frying pan, add day-old rice and separate to reduce clumps. add a little stock at a time to soften and toss until stock dries out. pack in medium container.
daycare cooking activity
- put a scoop of rice in a small mixing bowl and give each kid a bowl.
- allow each student to add any vegetable / protein ingredients in his/her bowls and mix the ingredients together. (an alternate way is to put rice and vegetable / protein ingredients into one cup. cover with another cup and then shake.)
- with mixed fried rice in first cup, use the bottom of the second cup to pack the fried rice and create shape. place a plate on top of the first cup and flip so the fried rice falls to the plate in a nice round shape. enjoy!
1. resource Wikipedia: Yeung Chow Fried Rice
2. in case there are foods k’s classmates can’t eat, i cooked each vegetable separately, each in a clean saucepan with new stock so the ingredients don’t cross contaminate.