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Prawn fried rice

Sat, 6 February, 2021

I eat fried rice on repeat. This time it’s prawn fried rice spiced Thai-style with cinnamon and star anise.

prawn fried rice

Cooking on repeat

I don’t know if it’s good or bad; whether it’s a sign of my culinary maturity or just the sign of old age but I’ve been cooking the same dishes all the time recently. We never before had the Shirley Valentine (husband to be precise) style chips ‘n’ egg on a Tuesday and steak on a Thursday, but we seem to have roast potatoes almost every Sunday now.

I tell myself a stir fry is different every time you cook it, as I chop up vegetables and marinate chicken in Shaoxing wine twice a week. When I shop for fish, it’s always salmon, because grilled salmon is a regular menu item. And I buy fennel every so often since we like caramelised fennel so much, with everything.

It’s not just dinners: my lunches have surreptitiously become samey. In the time of pandemic it is possibly understandable that we seek comfort in a routine, but my lunchtime rabbit bowl (as The Weather Man calls it) only ever differs by the addition or none of cream cheese*.

I tell myself it’s the search for perfection rather than senile laziness. And perhaps there’s really nothing wrong with it after all as Nigella does it too.

shrimp fried rice with Thai flavour

Anything fried rice

One of those dishes on repeat is whatever fried rice. I am beginning to think anything can be used to flavour fried rice, with perhaps the exception of custard. We have beef fried rice, pork fried rice, vegetable fried rice, chorizo fried rice and prawn fried rice. The best thing about the dish, obviously, is that a miniscule chunk of beef, pork etc. goes a really long way with rice.

Prawn fried rice is fairly generous with shrimp but then it’s the cooked frozen variety: the bag that always sits in your freezer and you can never get round to using it sensibly.

easy seafood fried rice

How to cook perfect fried rice

The first and only, really, condition for a fried rice is cold rice. If you cook it regularly and always have bowls leftover in the fridge, your dinner will be ready in ten minutes. If, like me, you decide to have rice because you’ve not had it for, umm - at least three days, cook it early enough for it to cool down and then get colder in the fridge.

Bonus point: it needn’t be fussed over, steamed or absorbing water under lid. Cook it like pasta: a large pan of salted water, rolling boil, rice ready in ten for white, twenty for brown.

prawn fried rice with cooked peeled prawns

Shrimp fried rice, not stir-fried rice

It is very simple: something to fragrance the rice and the prawns, in this instance it’s star anise and cinnamon sticks and they work incredibly well. Spring onions as ever – I don’t believe a stir fry is complete without them – and then the rice goes into the wok.

The secret is NOT to stir fry it. At least not for a long while: just fold it over into the onions once and then leave it be for at least a couple of minutes. The bottom will scorch and crispen beautifully, whereby you can scramble the rice about to turn it over and repeat the exercise.

The final touches, prawns and peas as my green accent of choice land in and the sauce is drizzled around the sides, to more evenly sauce the mixture. Finally, we get to stir fry it for a bit and it’s ready.

perfect shrimp fried rice

*For the inquisitive, here’s the rabbit bowl recipe: cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, chopped radish, half an avocado placed in a bowl and salted lavishly. To that I add so called sprinkles: assorted seeds and a few chopped nuts doused in soy sauce and toasted for 2 hours in the lowest oven possible. They keep in a jar for ever. There – a freebie for you, a recipe within a recipe.

Prawn fried rice

Servings: 4Time: 10 minutes plus cooking rice


  • 200g (1 cup) long grain rice
  • salt
  • a bunch of spring onions
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 12 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tbsp. groundnut oil
  • 12 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 14 tsp ground cloves
  • 12 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp. ketjap manis
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • juice from 12 lime
  • 125g (1 cup) cooked peeled frozen prawns, thawed
  • 60g (13 cup) frozen peas, thawed
  • To serve:
  • furikake seasoning


1. Cook the rice early enough so it can cool down completely – for fried rice it needs to be fridge cold. Put a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the rice to the boiling water and cook for 10 minutes, until al dente. Drain and set aside to cool, then place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. If you have cold, leftover rice (about 2 cups), go straight on.

2. Trim and chop the spring onions.

3. Heat dry wok until smoking with the star anise and cinnamon stick toasting at the bottom.

4. Add the groundnut oil and swirl it around. Add the spring onions and stir fry for a few seconds.

5. Stir the rice into the onions; spread it over the bottom of the wok and leave to crispen for 1 or 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the cinnamon, cloves and white pepper.

6. Stir the rice with the spices and turn it over with a spatula. Scorch on the other side for 1 minute.

how to cook fried rice

7. Mix the sesame oil, oyster and fish sauce, ketjap manis and lime juice in a small cup.

8. Pile the prawns and the peas in the middle of the rice; drizzle the sauce mix round the sides of the wok and stir fry everything for another minute, until the peas and prawns are piping hot. Discard the star anise and cinnamon stick.

how to season prawn fried rice

9. Divide the rice between serving bowls, sprinkle with furikake and serve immediately.

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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