Thursday, 8 April 2010
Fried rice, Thai style
I'm a big fan of fried rice. It's a reliably tasty, if unadventurous, dish to fall back on at pretty much any food outlet across South East Asia.
Crab fried rice is also on the lunch menu at Nahm and, in one or other form, it's often knocked up as an after-service chef's feed for us by whoever's on stirfry that evening.
Failing that i sometimes take a bowl of leftover rice home, and, with the addition of an egg and a few bits from largely empty fridge, I've got a tasty late night meal in minutes.
Working at Nahm means i cant help but to have learnt what makes good Thai style fried rice ('kao pat'), and how much nicer it is than much of the 'orrible Chinese takeaway / student style make-it-up-as-you-go-along stuff we often eat in this country.
Main things to remember are
a) use decent Thai or basmati rice, preferable a day or so old and definitely not wet or mushy.
b) don't use the dish as a dumping ground for all sorts of leftovers, random vegetables or other things found lurking at the back of your fridge - you don't need much more than an egg or two, little spring onion / choice herb or vegetable, plus perhaps a little cooked meat or something.
So....here's a recipe / rough guide (serves 2):
1 generous bowl of cooked rice (preferably cooked a little while ago / the day before, so it isn't still hot and steaming)
1-2 garlic cloves
A couple of shallots - optional
Some greens things e.g coriander leaves, few chopped spring onions, Asian celery or leaves of some sort of quick cook Asian greens
A some cooked protein e.g bit of grilled pork, cooked Chinese sausage, steak or a few cooked prawns.
Fish sauce / light soy
Plain oil - sunflower, groundnut etc
Pinch white sugar and white pepper
Nam pla prik (a little bowl of fish sauce with finely sliced bird's eye chillies in, and perhaps a squeeze of lime).
Plus a lime wedge and few pieces of cucumber, if you have them.
Mince/mash the garlic with a little salt, slice thinly the shallot and spring onion, if using. Roughly chop any green leaves / pick any herbs you're using, and finally cut any meat, prawn or whatever (i used a small piece of cooked steak in pics).
Get all your ingredients and seasonings to hand and take a wok put on a medium high heat and add two tablespoons of oil. When hot throw in the garlic and shallots and cook until just golden and fragrant, now quickly crack in your egg(s) and allow to set for 15 secs then mix well.
Now add your rice and cook on a medium heat, adding a touch more oil if sticking or a little dry, for a good 2 or 3 mins, pressing down to break up any clumps. The heat shouldn't be too high as you need time to heat through the rice. Season with a little white sugar, light soy (or fish sauce) and white pepper. Taste and adjust if needed.
Next add anything that needs heating through e.g greens and / or cooked meat.
Give it another minute, and finally add any herbs and spring onion. Mix through and serve with wedge of lime.
Season at the table with the essential and addictive nam pla prik:
p.s caught the Masterchef 2010 final on iplayer - congrats to all three finalists, looks like they all pulled the stops out and cooked some great stuff.