Have you ever bitten into something thinking its one thing and it ends up being another? It always takes you a little off guard, and even if its a good taste, you're still taken aback. Take, for example the famous "Chicken" Pot Pie that's has the standard flaky pie crust, but uses vanilla pudding for the sauce and candy and fruit look-alikes to pass for the veggies. I've also once taken a swig of water, only to find it to be straight up vodka. Now that was a shocker.
Well, today's recipe isn't quite a shocker, but is still a nice surprise nonetheless. I came across Tigerfish's Tom Yum Fried Rice idea via his Teczcape blog. Loving this spicy and sour Thai seafood soup, I was intrigued that a rice dish could capture the same tangy, hot and sour flavor.
The ingredients are simple - tom yum paste, leftover rice, meats & veggies of your choice, an egg - though I did have some trouble locating lemongrass and ended up paying $4 for 2 stalks. Lemongrass is a key ingredient in many Thai dishes, but I feel that it would still be flavorful without for those of you who can't locate it. I had never cooked with lemongrass, so I also needed to do a little research on what exactly to do with my very expensive stalks (I could have bought a gallon of gas for the same price!) Following this tutorial, I peeled away the outer layers, and 'bruised' the lemongrass bulb with the blunt side of a wide knife. They suggest using a mortal and pestle if you're lucky enough to have one.
Like I've mentioned previously, fried rice is like a "choose your own adventure" adventure. use whatever veggies and meats you have on hand, and be liberal with the spices and seasonings. With such a big pot to work with, its hard to go wrong. For my version of Tom Yum Rice, I also added in some soy sauce and Kecap Manis for color and added taste, garlic, onions and shallots for flavor and an assortment of veggies I had in the fridge. Oh, and some imitation crab I found in the freezer. Feel free to come up with your own version and let me know how it goes!
Tom Yum Fried Rice (serves 4 or 2 very hungry people)
adapted from Teczcape
1 cup of uncooked rice (I like Jasmine rice)
2 eggs, beaten
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/2 - 3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks
(optional meats: beef, pork, shrimp, imitation crab)
1/4 cup frozen corn
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips
(optional veggies: sliced carrots, broccoli, mushrooms)
1 stalk lemongrass, use inner white bulb area only. Bruise the lemongrass with the side of a knife or rolling pin.
2 tbsp Tom Yum Paste, dissolved in 1/4 cup of water
1 tablespoon kecap manis (Indonesian Sweet Soy Sauce) (optional, use regular soy sauce if you don't have any)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
sprigs of cilantro for garnish
1. Cook 1 cup of rice per package instructions. Refrigerate rice for at least 4 hours or overnight. Even better, use leftover rice.
2. In a small pan, cook the egg omelet style. Cut into thin strips and set aside.
3. Generously coat a large wok with cooking spray and heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots, garlic, and onions and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add in the chopped chicken and sear until browned and almost cooked through.
3. Add in the veggies,lemongrass,and Tom Yum Paste mixture. Saute for 5-8 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.
4. Add in the rice, soy sauce and kecap manis and flip several times to incorporate into the mixture. Add additional tom yum paste mixture as desired. Add in egg and garnish with cilantro if desired.