Honeymoon Fried Rice or Ying Yang Fried Rice

Honeymoon Rice or Ying Yang Fried Rice recipe at bottom of page...

As a few of you may know, I grew up in Vancouver after being born in Edmonton and then spirited out to the west coast in the dead of night, quite against my will initially. I went so far as to post missing child posters on lamp standards and telephone poles around my Vancouver neighbourhood in the hopes that some well meaning person would contact the authorities about the lost waif that would  end up with me being sent back to Edmonton. The posters had my picture and my grandmothers Edmonton phone number on them, and sadly no one cared enough about the poor lost soul to call the police, even when I had a poster taped to my chest and stood on the corner of our busy street waving my arms.

Finally, after a time, I came to love Vancouver and stayed there for a few more years to finish grade school and high school. I became familiar and fell in love with the Chinese culture due to friends and neighbours that lived in the area. It was in those years I came to love, I mean really love Chinese food. I also fell in love with a Chinese girl who would later rip out my heart and stomp on it like a reviled diseased cockroach then drop me like a used Kleenex,(I hope she's fat, lonely, and lives in a trailer in Whalley! A single wide!! And her live-in is named Bubba!!!).

I could then, and even still, eat Chinese food morning, noon and night. Rice dishes. Noodle dishes. Hot pots. Vegetables dishes too numerous to mention. Seafood. Dim Sum! OMG!!! I love Dim Sum. Little steamed balls of mystery some people call them. I call them Heaven! Also among my favourite foods were chow mein and tomato beef fried rice from the Ho Inn restaurant on Pender Street. In fact the Ho Inn was my family’s favourite restaurant for many years.

The Ho Inn was a very large restaurant that was set up with private areas containing large round tables and could sit from 6 to 60 people. The food that was served up was what we called “tourist food”, meaning food that the non Chinese diners would enjoy. Mostly the food was westernized versions of authentic dishes from the Cantonese areas of China. Regardless of the authenticity of what was served there, we all loved the food and went there often.

The up side to the Ho Inn apart from the great food was the prices were very, very reasonable and the servings were huge. An order of the beef and tomato fried rice came on a platter that took 2 men and a boy to tote. The chow mein and other dishes were served in similar fashion, which meant left overs and Chinese food for breakfast for Bart. The waiters at that great restaurant were unbelievably efficient and the cooks no slouches either. Sadly it closed after a fire and I don't know if it ever reopened. I expect that even if it reopened it would not be the same as the original, they never are.

The Ho Inn was a great place to meet for a Sunday brunch and especially so if one happened to be nursing the mother of all hangovers, or at least that's what I'm told. I would never have experienced that because I'm pure and innocent, but I do have it on good authority that by eating food from the Ho Inn whilst hungover the skull cramps would subside and the inner demons that possessed the afflicted were cast out onto Pender Street to be run over by a city bus. Quite cathartic really. If one wished for a little hair of the dog one had to bring his or hers own elixir since they weren't a licensed premise, but the waiter would be happy to bring you a cup and something to water it down with. Quite civilized really.

While I have enjoyed some great Chinese food in many places it is that Ho Inn comfort food I yearn for. It does not exist except for a memory, much like the ill fated relationship with that heart stomping girlfriend of long ago, a memory. But I am sooooooo over that now. Except for the food, I'm not over that. So search I still do.

Many experiments were undertaken by yours truly to try to recreate that great food from times past and while I did end up making dishes the family came to love, I never was able to best the tastes of my memory but son-of-a-bitch I ended up cooking some great stuff. One of the dishes we came to love was Ying Yang Fried Rice, or Honeymoon Fried Rice, or simply Honeymoon Rice. The dish was one we craved and could not find easily since few restaurants made it and certainly none in Prince George where we called home for 18 years. So I had to learn to make that as well.

Ying Yang Fried Rice is fried rice topped with a red and white sauce. The white is a mild milky sauce with shrimp and the red is a tangy tomato sauce served with beef, chicken or even pork, my favourite is chicken in this dish, hence – Ying and Yang. Where it gets the Honeymoon Fried Rice title I don't know, but perhaps it is because this dish is sometimes part of a wedding banquet, makes sense I guess. Regardless of its name it is very good.

The first time I ever tasted it I liked it a lot and liked it even more with every mouthful I shovelled in. The best part for me is the red sauce which when done well is very similar to the tomato sauce on the Ho Inn tomato beef fried rice. Very similar I am please to say. My wife likes the white sauce with the shrimp. I mean, she really likes it.

As I studied the taste in restaurants I finally came to a satisfactory version of the red sauce at home and with the help of the internet I came to settle on a recipe for the red sauce that is fantastic. But it was the white sauce that vexed me for years. I could never get it exactly right and asking a server in a restaurant that served it for the ingredients of the white sauce was always met with a “deer in the headlight” look and a smile as she walked away.

Then one fateful day I happened on a dear soul that told me THE secret, or at least the secret to the sauce in their restaurant and by gum, it was the missing link I was searching for. Eager to try it out I gathered up the ingredients to make a batch the next day - and so it was...

4 cups day old rice
2 eggs, well beaten. Bad eggs! Very, very bad eggs! Daddy needs to punish you!!!

2 Tbsp light soy sauce
1/4 cup canola oil

Red Sauce

1/2 lb fresh boneless skinless chicken thighs, sliced thin

In a measuring cup mix together the following ingredients:

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup ketchup

1 Tbsp light soy sauce

2 Tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp sesame seed oil

1 tsp chicken bouillon (optional)

1/2 tsp ginger powder
2 tsp cornstarch

White Sauce:

2 Tbsp butter

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1 lb large uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

3/4 cup frozen green peas

In a measuring cup mix together the following ingredients

1 cup 1% milk
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk

2 tsp cornstarch

pinch of nutmeg ( a very little pinch!)
white pepper to taste

Heat 1 tbsp oil over medium-high heat in a wok or non stick frying pan. Heat oil until it smokes, add rice, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of soy sauce over it and stir fry until hot, about 2 minutes.

Slowly stir egg into rice and fry continuously until egg is fully cooked. Transfer rice to large pie plate or deep sided serving platter and spread evenly on the platter.

Using the same pan, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium-high heat add chicken and fry until just done, about 3 minutes.

Add the Red Sauce mixture and cook for 2 minutes until sauce thickens.

Spoon sauce over half the rice.(Helpful hint: Place a ribbon of cardboard along the center of the rice before adding the sauce to keep a straight line or curve it like a Ying-Yang symbol), I did not do it tonight for this posting. Lazy bastard huh...

Clean pan and return to high heat. Add 1 tbsp oil and butter, add garlic and shrimp, stirring constantly to avoid having the garlic brown.

Add the White Sauce ingredients and the green peas and cook until sauce becomes fairly thick, again, stir constantly to keep it from burning.

Once peas are hot spoon white sauce over rice. (Hint: If you placed the paper divider to keep red and white sauces apart, once the white sauce was added, now would be a good time to remove the paper!!!)

You might also note that for tonight's posting I prepared the red sauce first and then the white sauce.  See! I am nothing if not versatile.

Serve hot.

Snowy Palms Resort