Quick Ham Fried Rice

Quick Ham Fried Rice
My first experience cooking Chinese food came many years ago when I was in high school. One of my favorite aunts, who had lived in various places throughout the world, came to visit and agreed to make a Chinese banquet at my Grandma's house for a special group of friends. My mother was part of the prep team, and afterwards taught me to make several Chinese dishes that she had learned while helping my Aunt June. That dinner became known throughout our family as "June Lee's Famous Chinese Banquet" and is still talked about 30+ years later. This rice is an adaptation of my Aunt June's rice that was included in that famous banquet.

You can use your favorite meat in this recipe - leftovers are fine - or leave the meat out entirely and add extra vegetables such as mushrooms, red and green peppers, etc. I like my rice to have crispy bits throughout, so when I stir fry the rice, I don't add the soy sauce and other ingredients until it is crisp.

Quick Ham Fried Rice
8 Servings

7 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided (about - more or less as needed)
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups diced ham
1 cup onions, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
6 cups cooked and cooled rice
3 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste
1 cup frozen peas and carrots
2 cups bean sprouts
1 tablespoon sesame oil
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Heat 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large wok and add the beaten eggs; swirl them so that they make a pancake, turning once to cook the other side. Remove from pan and dice; set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to the wok and add the ham, onions, garlic, and ginger.  Stir fry until the onions are tender and the ham is lightly browned. Set aside.

Add 4 tablespoons oil to the wok and add the rice; stir fry until it smells good, and is browning. If it sticks, you may need to add more oil. If you like your rice crispy, continue to stir fry until it is crisp. Add the soy sauce and the ingredients which have been set aside and stir to mix. Add the peas and carrots, bean sprouts, and sesame oil; taste for seasoning and stir to warm. Serve immediately.
Note: If you like your rice to be more compact, add a couple of beaten eggs at the end and stir to cook the eggs.

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