Ah-Ma’s Fried Rice

28th October 2013

It was early summery morning and the smell of frying rice and white pepper woke me up. My maternal grandmother (I call her ‘Ah Ma’ 外媽) came to visit me and I remember Ah-Ma making it a few times. Her fried rice was one of my favorite childhood dishes, sometimes she would use ketchup in her fried rice, to make a sweet version. This traditional version contains Chinese sweet “sausage” and “eggs.” The difference between Taiwanese fried rice and other Asian versions is that in Taiwan, the eggs are mixed with the rice prior to frying and soy sauce is not commonly used.

Veganius Sausage

While in Buenos Aires, we found a vegan “seitan sausage” by Veganius at an Asian supermarket in Chinatown (Belgrano) and used it in fried rice. The seitan sausage is sort of like a dry, hard chorizo, yet underseasoned. After living for a month or so in Buenos Aires, I find most vegan products underseasoned, they aren’t as flavorful as the ones in the U.S. or Europe as an example. However, if you add it to the seasoned fried rice or any dish, it will provide texture.

Ah-Ma's Fried Rice

Ah-Ma’s Fried Rice

Yield: 4 servings


4 cups day-old cooked jasmine rice, at room temperature
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium carrot, finely diced
1 teaspoon white pepper, more as needed (mandatory)
2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 lb fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced (optional)
1/2 cup frozen peas & corn (defrost)
2 scallions greens & white parts, sliced as thin as possible (about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons packed cilantro leaves, chopped, more for garnish
Optional Add scrambled "tofu", cubed seitan, tofu and/or other vegetables. (about 1/4 - 1/2 cup)
Salt to taste


In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes, until softened and lightly browned. Add garlic and continue to cook for another minute or so, until fragrant.

Add the day-old cooked rice, breaking up clumps with a fork and add toasted sesame oil and white pepper. Use a wooden spatula and make a well in the center and add cubed seitan, tofu or prepared scrambled tofu. Cook them until warm, then stir into the rice.

Add the rest of the vegetables except for scallions and cilantro and stir to integrate for about 3 to 5 minutes until warm.

Add soy sauce (or tamari), then taste and add salt and white pepper if necessary. Turn off heat, stir in the chopped cilantro and scallions and serve.


Seitan sausage is optional: Add loads of veggies, smoked tofu or tofu “scramble.”

Gluten-Free: Use tamari instead of soy sauce.

the flat

We still have a week left here in Buenos Aires. We stayed at a house with my boyfriend’s family and it has 4 bedrooms and 3 1/2 bathrooms (but one office has a bunkbed). We found the place via Airbnb (get $30 off your first stay if you sign up for Airbnb here). Everything’s great except for Wi-Fi that works only on few devices (ugh, quite common in Buenos Aires). Here are few quick photos of the house, I didn’t photograph all the bedrooms/bathrooms:

house in buenos aires

Ground Floor: As you enter the house on the ground floor there is a hall, then a living room with fireplace, plus dining room. There is an outdoor patio area with a sitting area and barbecue (which we won’t use). There is also a toilet near the front door (not pictured). And a staircase that takes you to the bedrooms on the 1st Floor.

house in buenos aires

Ground Floor: Kitchen with basic appliances (boiler, coffee maker, toaster and microwave). A microwave is useful, it’s great for heating leftovers!

house in buenos aires

house in buenos aires

house in buenos aires

1st Floor: On the 1st floor, the main bedroom has a queen bed and full bathroom with a bathtub. There are other few bedrooms on the same floor.

house in buenos aires

Staircase: The left photo shows a staircase to the Ground Floor and the front door entrance. The right photo shows a staircase to the 2nd Floor, known as the “Cozy Room.”

house in buenos aires

2nd Floor: The Cozy Room has a playroom, 2 terraces with tables & sun beds, a small bathroom with shower and laundry room (includes washing machine and dryer).

house in buenos aires

2nd Floor: Private outdoor terrace with sun beds.

Have you tried white pepper or “dry” seitan before? What vegetables do you like to put in your fried rice?

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