Friday, 15 November 2013
It's been a while since I posted a Thai recipe, but this Thai style fried rice is a perfect one to share. It's easy, its flexible and universally liked. I was about to post it, exactly as I make it but thought I should do a little research in my various Thai cookbooks first to see if I was committing any acts of culinary treason.
As is so often the case with Thai food, the experts differ quite a lot, which I think means my version is definitely acceptable. It also reinforces that this is a guide only - variation is a part of the deal - and you should be using what you have on hand with total confidence!
2 cups of uncooked jasmine rice
3 tablespoons peanut oil
3 or more cloves of garlic, smashed
2 eggs, beaten
6 or so spring onions, sliced
300-500gms sliced chicken breast/pork/tofu or a combination
Peas, shucked corn (optional and non traditional)
Soy and/or fish sauce
white pepper (optional)
Chilli sauce or chilli slices in vinegar
Cook the rice using the absorption method - put the rice with 3 cups of water in a pot with a tightly fitting lid and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as it boils, turn the heat to the lowest possible setting, simmer for about 8 minutes until rice is tender but not too soft. No need to stir or lift the lid for any reason during cooking, it just makes you lose steam. Turn rice out into a large open container, allow it to cool and lose steam, then cover and refrigerate until it is completely cold. While Thai cooking guru David Thompson advocates using warm rice he is very much a rebel in so doing - conventional wisdom (and my experience) says the colder rice is much easier to handle when frying.
Traditional Thai fried rice does not include a lot of veggies - but I include some to make the dish healthier. Having said that, it veers from the traditional dish completely if there's too much veg in there, so I usually limit it to some peas and corn, baby corn if I have it.
Heat the oil in a reasonable size wok and add the garlic, toss for a few seconds then add the meat. I have been known to pre-marinade the meat for extra flavour (soy, sweet soy and sherry is a good combo but completely untraditional), and if the meat is sliced thicker I may cook it first and set it to one side, cook the rest of the dish and then add it back to the pan at the last minute to keep it tender. Either way works just fine.
Add the rice and peas/corn if using. Keep the rice moving so it doesn't stick and use your stirrer to gently break up lumps. if it seems too dry add a few drizzles of oil down the sides of the wok. After a minute or two, push the rice to one side and pour the egg onto the exposed side of the wok, spreading it as you go to a thinnish layer. Flip the rice on top then stir it through - some egg will have cooked omelet style, the rest will form a coat on the rice. David Thompson advocates adding the egg before the rice to create more of the omelet effect because he thinks the rice gets too gluey if you add the eggs to the rice. It's a personal preference so try it both ways.
Lastly, stir through the spring onions and season with soy and/or fish sauce. Serve with a garnish of cool cucumber slices, a wedge of lime and a scattering of coriander leaves. A little optional heat is also looked upon favourably, so a good chilli sauce or some chilli slices floating in vinegar are nice to have at the table.