Houston-born writer Dan Q. Dao shared his aunt's recipe for this rich, intensely flavored fried rice made with andouille sausage, crawfish, Cajun seasoning, and plenty of garlic. Like many Vietnamese-Americans who live in the coastal South, his family blends Vietnamese and Cajun ingredients and cooking techniques to make food that celebrates the best of both cultures, like this fantastic dish. His aunt's Vietnamese-Cajun Fried Rice requires a bit of time to prepare but is well worth the effort and feeds a crowd (or leaves you with plenty of leftovers). And several components can be made in advance so it comes together more easily. To save time, you can make the broth a few days in advance and store it, covered, in the refrigerator. Like all fried rice recipes, this one is best made with cold, cooked rice. Made the rice a day or two ahead (or at least 8 hours ahead), spread it out on a baking sheet to cool, then store, covered, in the refrigerator until you’re ready to prepare the dish.

Van Dao

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Credit: Cedric Angeles

Recipe Summary test

active:
1 hr
chill:
8 hrs
total:
2 hrs 50 mins
Yield:
Serves 14
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Ingredients

Broth
Fried Rice

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Prepare the Broth: Heat oil in a medium nonstick pot over medium-high. Add sliced shallots and chopped garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add fresh sausage. Cook, stirring with a spoon to break up sausage, until slightly browned and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add bell pepper, celery, tomato, fish sauce, basil, thyme, oregano, and cumin. Cook, stirring often, 3 minutes. Add chicken broth; bring to a boil over high.

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  • Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, undisturbed, 20 minutes. Pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a large heatproof bowl, pressing mixture with a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids. Store strained Broth, covered, in refrigerator until ready to use or up to 3 days. (If desired, refrigerate strained Broth overnight; skim and discard fat that rises to the top.)

  • Prepare the rice: Rinse rice in a colander under cold water until water runs clean; drain. Cook rice and 2 1/4 cups of the Broth in a rice cooker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Reserve remaining Broth for another use. (Alternative stove-top method: Place rice and 3 1/2 cups of the Broth in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook, undisturbed, 20 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand, covered, 10 minutes.)

  • Spread out cooked rice in a single layer on a baking sheet. Let cool completely, 1 to 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or up to overnight.

  • Remove rice from refrigerator. Lightly separate grains using your hands until no clumps remain. Set aside.

  • Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high. Add smoked sausages, and boil until water evaporates, about 6 minutes. Continue cooking sausages in dry saucepan, shaking pan to roll sausages around, until they turn slightly brown, about 1 minute. Remove from saucepan, and let cool 5 minutes. Slice thinly into rounds, or cut into cubes. Set aside.

  • Melt 1/2 tablespoon of the butter in a very large nonstick pan over high. Add 2 tablespoons of the chopped garlic. Cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in shrimp. Cook, stirring often, until shrimp are cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and quickly transfer mixture to a large bowl. Set aside.

  • Add 1/2 tablespoon of the butter to saucepan over high. Add chopped celery and 1/8 teaspoon each of the Cajun seasoning and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until celery starts to soften, about 1 minute. Transfer celery mixture to shrimp mixture in bowl. Repeat process using 1/2 tablespoon of the butter, chopped sugar snap peas, 1/8 teaspoon of the Cajun seasoning, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt.

  • Wipe saucepan clean, and add remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter over high. Add diced shallots, and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. Add rice and remaining 2 tablespoons chopped garlic, and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes. Add soy sauce and remaining 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, and stir well to combine. Taste, and add more salt or Cajun seasoning if desired.

  • Move rice mixture to sides of saucepan using a spatula, leaving an empty spot in middle of saucepan. Add half of the beaten eggs. Cook over high, stirring after eggs begin to set and scraping eggs from the outside inward, until eggs are cooked and scrambled, 2 to 3 minutes. Break up eggs, and fold into rice mixture, stirring well to mix. Repeat process using remaining beaten eggs.

  • Stir cooked sausage pieces into rice mixture, and cook over high, stirring until incorporated, 1 minute. Add cooked vegetable-shrimp mixture, diced tomatoes, and sliced scallions, and stir to combine. Remove Fried Rice from heat. Serve hot with hot sauce.

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