Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tom Yum Fried Rice: A Fusion of Expectations

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.


RecipeGirl said...

The dish sounds good. I've not heard of Tom Yum paste before. Perhaps they carry it at 99 Ranch?

I just realized that you are a fellow San Diego blogger!

Anonymous said...

Sounds delish. I've never worked with lemongrass so I find it amusing to say bruise it up!

Stephanie said...

I LOVE fried rice! I'll definitely be trying this one! Thanks!

test it comm said...

This tom yum fried rice sounds really tasty!

daphne said...

I lurrrrrve this. I always have a jar of tom yum paste in my fridge! Once, I fried noodles with it and top it with an fried egg! hehee. Yours look delightful! Yum!

Anonymous said...

that looks very yummy. i love dunking rice in tom yum soup. now this brings both together. great. :)

marias23 said...

Whoa! I'm a big fan of tom yum. I totally have to try this. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I love little culinary surprises. This sounds like a good one as I love the flavor of Tom Yum soup.

Anonymous said...

I love Tigerfish's blog too! Nice post. That fried rice looks yummmmyyyy.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, that looks and sounds divine.

Anonymous said...

This sounds very good - and healthy, too! I think I would try substituting the real eggs with egg beaters and see how that works, thanks! Hopefully it won't be noticed! lol

MrOrph said...

Fried rice is my favorite thing to eat, I of them...I have too many favorites :-)

You know, lemon grass is quite the ingredient. You will most certainly know if it is missing from a dish. I bought a tube of lemongrass paste from my local mega-mart and I use it when I cannot find fresh.

Also Sharon, you can freeze those expensive stalks and use them when needed. They keep for about 6 months in the freezer.

tigerfish said...

Hope you like this Tom Yum fried rice. It does not have that strong a tangy, hot and sour flavor compared to the soup version but I like every hint of that aspect in my fried rice.

I like it when you mentioned you like Jasmine rice. Hahah...I love Jasmine rice too. Here, they use short-grain rice more often and I just miss my long-grain jasmine rice :D

Which brand of Tom Yum paste did you use ? You can try Lee's brand avail in Ranch99.

Sharon said...

Thanks all for the comments & another thanks to Tigerfish for the great recipe! For those not familiar with lemongrass, hopefully its not as expensive as mine. I didn't have the time or energy to go back to the Asian grocery where I'd hope it'd be cheaper.

Tigerfish-I used the Por Kwan brand from Ranch 99. I'll have to try the Lee's brand another time. It took me so long to actually find the Tom Yum paste that I didn't dwell too much once I spotted it.

JJ- I'm sure egg beaters would be fine and not noticed. There's already a lot of flavor going on.

Mr Orph, thanks for the tip about freezing lemongrass. Seems like I'm freezing just about everything these days!