Yin Yang Fried Rice (鴛鴦炒飯)

This visually stunning rice dish is secretly super easy to make!

flodesk gif
Prep Time
35 min
Total Time
55 min
Yields
4 servings

A Recipe by Daddy Lau

My dad's been cooking Chinese food for over 50 years - as a kid fending for himself in Guangzhou, as the head chef of his own restaurant, and as a loving father in our home.

Hopefully, by learning this recipe, you'll get to experience some of the delicious joy we felt growing up eating his food!

- Randy

This is a classic Cantonese restaurant dish, found in all kinds of special event menus. It's an especially meaningful dish at weddings for its symbolism of duality in its two distinct, delicious sauces.

While the English name is Yin Yang Fried Rice, referencing the way the sauces are arranged in a yin yang Taichi symbol, the Chinese name, 鴛鴦炒飯 isn't actually Yin Yang Fried Rice.

Instead, 鴛鴦 means mandarin ducks. In Chinese culture, mandarin ducks are believed to mate for life and are auspicious symbols of marital bliss and fidelity. That's why pairs of ducks are a prominent motif in Chinese decorations, embroidery, and paintings, and the romantic symbolism is why the other English name for this dish is Lovers' Fried Rice.

The contrast of the red and white sauces is a treat for both the eyes and the belly, so get ready to wow your friends and family! And you don't have to tell them how easy it was to put together.

Check out a quick story summary of our recipe!

Ingredients

Weight: US
oz
g
Volume: US
cup
mL
Servings
4

Fried Rice

  • 12 oz rice
  • 13 oz water
  • 3 egg
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 0.50 tsp salt

Ingredients

  • 1 tomato
  • 1 oz onion
  • 5 oz shrimp
  • 15 oz chicken breast

Chicken Marinade

  • 0.50 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water

Red Sauce

  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil (

    for cooking red side

    )
  • 6 oz chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water

White Sauce

  • 2 tbsp oil (

    for stir-frying white side

    )
  • 8 oz chicken broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp oil (

    for finishing the white sauce

    )
  • 2 oz peas

Alternative proteins

You can use whatever meats or proteins you like: beef, pork, chicken, fish, etc. However, pale proteins such as white meat and seafood will be best for presentation, especially on the white side.

How to get the prettiest Yin Yang Fried Rice

Chinese cuisine has a philosophy that the best dishes engage all of your senses: taste, smell, sound, touch, and sight. It should taste great, smell enticing, sound wonderful (crackling, sizzling, boiling), have the right texture, and look amazing.

Following our recipe will help you hit all of those senses, with a big emphasis on its beautiful presentation! Keep these tips in mind to make the most stunning Yin Yang Fried Rice:

  • Choose pale proteins, such as white meat and seafood, to keep the dish looking bright
  • Mix the yolks into the rice prior to frying, so the white sauce will really pop against the uniform yellow color of the fried rice.
  • Level the fried rice when you're scooping it into the serving dish, so that the sauces will be able to sit pretty on the even surface.
  • When you finish the white sauce, mix in the peas last, and take it off the heat quickly so they don't overcook and turn yellow.
  • When you scoop the sauces onto the serving plate, do your best to keep them on their respective sides of the foil mold, and you'll get the perfect yin yang shape!

First, wash the rice (12 oz) 3 times in clean water. Each rinse should result in slightly less starchy water than the previous rinse.

Then, add water (13 oz) to the rice and cook in your rice cooker.

The water is a slightly smaller amount than you might use for general steamed rice, because we want a drier rice for a better fried rice.

Separate the eggs (3 ) into two bowls. Crack each egg open and carefully transfer the yolk between the eggshell halves, allowing the whites to fall down into one of the bowls. Then, put the yolk into the other bowl.

Cut the tomato (1 ) in quarters, and then cut away the hard stem at the top, where the leaves come out, and discard it.

Then, cut the tomato core away from the wall, and roughly dice into small pieces. Then cut the rest of the tomato into two ways: cut half of them into short strips, and dice the rest.

Cut the onion (1 oz) in two different ways, just like the tomato. Cut half into small strips, which we'll use for the red side, and dice the other half into small pieces. We'll be using the diced onion for the white side.

Cut the shrimp (5 oz) in half, lengthwise, so they still look like whole shrimp from one side but are half the thickness.

Cut the chicken breast (15 oz) in half horizontally to halve the thickness, and then slice into short strips.

Then, marinate the chicken in a bowl with salt (0.50 tsp), cornstarch (1 tbsp), and water (2 tbsp). Don't forget Daddy Lau's trick of mixing the marinade on the side of the bowl first to get all the clumps out, so that you're not fighting clumps amidst the chicken.

Prepare the red sauce in a medium-sized bowl. Mix together ketchup (3 tbsp), sugar (2 tbsp), vinegar (1 tbsp), and salt (1 tsp). Then add chicken broth (6 oz).

(If you're following our recipe according to the original amounts, this is almost half of a 14 oz can, and the rest of the can will be used for cooking the shrimp.)

Stir the sauce together, have a taste, and adjust the flavors to your liking.

Time to get crafty! Tear out a piece of aluminum foil, at least 1.5 the diameter of your serving dish. Fold it in half lengthwise, and curve it into an S shape. Later, you'll use this as your sauce separator so that the final dish will be that iconic yin yang symbol.

To prepare for the fried rice, mix the egg yolks into the steamed rice.

This is different from our typical process of frying the rice first and then adding the egg. This time, we want the yolk mixed in prior to frying, so that every grain of rice will fry up to be yellow, and the fried rice will contrast beautifully against the white sauce.

Heat the wok on high for about a minute on the highest heat. Then, add oil (1 tbsp), give it a quick swirl to coat the bottom, and add the rice in. Fry the rice on high for about 3 minutes.

If you hear crackling sounds as you fry it, that's a great sign that you're getting that much-coveted wok hei!

Season the fried rice with salt (0.50 tsp), mix it in, and cook for another 30-40 seconds. Scoop the rice into your serving plate and gentle pat it down so it's level. It needs to be flat so when you put the sauce over it, the sauces can also lay flat instead of sliding down towards any dips and depressions.

Reheat the wok on high for another 30 seconds, then add the oil (1 tbsp). Add the chicken and stir-fry for about 30-40 seconds.

Push the chicken to the side of the wok to make some room, and add the sliced onion. Stir-fry the onions a bit and add the tomatoes. My dad likes to add the juicy core and the diced pieces first, and press down on them with the spatula to squeeze the juice out. Add the strips of tomato as well, and stir-fry for 40-50 seconds.

Add the red sauce that we mixed up earlier. Lower the heat, and give it a taste. Adjust the taste to your liking: my dad added a little more sugar.

Then, prepare the thickening slurry by mixing cornstarch (1 tbsp) and water (2 tbsp) in a separate, small bowl. Pour the mixed slurry slowly into the red sauce, stirring constantly to prevent clumping.

Cook the sauce for another minute, and then transfer to a bowl.

We want the colors and flavors to stay distinct and not mix, so either use a separate wok and spatula, or give your set-up a quick clean so that there's no residue of the red sauce.

Heat the wok on high for about a minute, and add oil (2 tbsp). Give it a quick swirl to coat the wok, and put the shrimp in. Turn the heat down to low, and cook the shrimp for about 20 seconds.

Add the minced onion and stir-fry for 20 seconds. Then add chicken broth and salt.

To thicken the sauce, make another slurry with cornstarch (1 tbsp) and water (2 tbsp) in a small bowl, and mix well. Because the amount of broth makes this sauce runnier to begin with, you may need to make more slurry in a bit.

Beat the egg whites really well to incorporate some air and volume into it. We're not looking for meringue, though, so leave your electric beaters stashed away.

Now, add the slurry while stirring constantly. Make and add more cornstarch slurry if it still seems too runny.

Next, pour the egg whites slowly, circling over the surface a few times. Don't stir it yet! Use the pouring pattern to control the size and shape of the egg pieces. You want the egg whites to cook in slightly firmer pieces, and if you stir it right away, they'll break apart. Let the egg whites cook for 20-30 seconds, and turn off the heat.

Add oil (1 tsp) for shine and sprinkle on peas (2 oz) for color. Stir the peas in so the heat can cook them just a bit.

Put your aluminum mold on top of the prepared fried rice. Scoop the red sauce onto one side of the mold, and the white sauce on the other side. Gently remove the mold by pulling it straight up. Enjoy!

Summary

Yin Yang Fried Rice (鴛鴦炒飯)
This visually stunning rice dish is secretly super easy to make!
  • Prep Time: 35 min
  • Total Time: 55 min
  • Yield: 4 servings

Fried Rice

  • 12 oz rice
  • 13 oz water
  • 3 egg
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 0.50 tsp salt

Ingredients

  • 1 tomato
  • 1 oz onion
  • 5 oz shrimp
  • 15 oz chicken breast

Chicken Marinade

  • 0.50 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water

Red Sauce

  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil (

    for cooking red side

    )
  • 6 oz chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water

White Sauce

  • 2 tbsp oil (

    for stir-frying white side

    )
  • 8 oz chicken broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp oil (

    for finishing the white sauce

    )
  • 2 oz peas

Step 1 - Wash & cook rice

↑ Jump to details

First, wash the rice (12 oz) 3 times in clean water.

Then, add water (13 oz) to the rice and cook in your rice cooker.

Step 2 - Prepare eggs, tomato, & onion

↑ Jump to details

Separate the eggs (3 ) into two bowls, one for yolks, and the other for whites.

Cut the tomato (1 ) in quarters, and cut and discard the hard stem. Then, cut the tomato core away from the wall, and roughly dice into small pieces.

Cut the rest of the tomato into two ways: cut half of them into small strips, and dice the rest.

Cut the onion (1 oz) in two different ways: cut half into small strips, and dice the rest.

Step 3 - Prepare shrimp & chicken

↑ Jump to details

Cut the shrimp (5 oz) in half, lengthwise, so they still look like whole shrimp from one side but are half the thickness.

Cut the chicken breast (15 oz) in half horizontally to halve the thickness, and then slice into short strips.

Then, marinate the chicken with salt (0.50 tsp), cornstarch (1 tbsp), and water (2 tbsp).

Step 4 - Create red sauce

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In a medium-sized bowl, mix together ketchup (3 tbsp), sugar (2 tbsp), vinegar (1 tbsp), salt (1 tsp), and chicken broth (6 oz). Have a taste and adjust the flavors to your liking.

Step 5 - Fold foil & prepare rice

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Tear out a piece of aluminum foil, at least 1.5 the diameter of your serving dish. Fold it in half lengthwise, curve it into an S shape, and set it aside for later.

Mix the egg yolks into the steamed rice.

Step 6 - Fry rice

↑ Jump to details

Heat the wok on high for about a minute on the highest heat. Then, add oil (1 tbsp), give it a quick swirl, and add the rice in. Fry the rice on high for about 3 minutes.

Season the fried rice with salt (0.50 tsp), mix it in, and cook for another 30-40 seconds. Scoop the rice into your serving plate and gentle pat it down so it's level.

Step 7 - Stir-fry red side

↑ Jump to details

Reheat the wok on high for another 30 seconds, then add the oil (1 tbsp). Add the chicken and stir-fry for about 30-40 seconds.

Push the chicken to the side of the wok, and add the sliced onion. Stir-fry the onions a bit and add the diced tomato core and pieces, pressing the juice out with the spatula. Add the tomato strips as well, and stir-fry for 40-50 seconds.

Add the red sauce that we mixed up earlier. Lower the heat, and give it a taste, and adjust to your liking.

Then, prepare the slurry by mixing cornstarch (1 tbsp) and water (2 tbsp) in a separate bowl. Pour the mixed slurry into the red sauce, stirring constantly to prevent clumping.

Cook the sauce for another minute, and then transfer to a bowl.

Step 8 - Stir-fry white side

↑ Jump to details

Either use a separate wok and spatula, or give your set-up a quick clean so that there's no residue of the red sauce.

Heat the wok on high for about a minute, and add oil (2 tbsp). Put the shrimp in, turn the heat down to low, and cook the shrimp for about 20 seconds.

Add the minced onion and stir-fry for 20 seconds. Then add chicken broth and salt.

Mix another slurry with cornstarch (1 tbsp) and water (2 tbsp) in a small bowl.

Beat the egg whites really well to incorporate some air and volume into it.

Now, add the slurry while stirring constantly. Make and add more cornstarch slurry if necessary.

Next, pour the egg whites slowly, circling over the surface a few times. Don't stir it yet! Let the egg whites cook for 20-30 seconds, and turn off the heat.

Add oil (1 tsp) for shine and sprinkle on peas (2 oz) for color. Stir the peas in so the heat can cook them just a bit.

Step 9 - Plate & serve

↑ Jump to details

Put your aluminum mold on top of the prepared fried rice. Scoop the red sauce onto one side of the mold, and the white sauce on the other side. Gently remove the mold by pulling it straight up. Enjoy!

Step 10 - Take pictures
Whip out your camera (1). Begin taking photos (1,000,000). Pick your favorites!
Step 11 - Share and tag us on Instagram @madewithlau #madewithlau!
Did you have fun making this recipe? We'd love to see & hear about it. (Especially my dad. He would be THRILLED!)

Enjoy!

We have many, many happy memories of enjoying this dish growing up.

Now, hopefully, you can create your own memories with this dish with your loved ones.

Also, I cordially invite you to eat with us and learn more about the dish, Chinese culture, and my family.

Cheers, and thanks for cooking with us!

Feel free to comment below if you have any questions about the recipe.