I am looking for a job. Of course I am not quitting my day job, which I like, by the way. I am looking for something in the kitchens of some of my favorite restaurants….so that I can learn their special techniques in whipping up my favorites. I could be a fly on the wall, and take notes…but since flies are not welcome in a kitchen, I am exploring alternate ways. We have a Thai place near by and I eat so often from there, that they would be glad to hand over the recipe for Thai Fried rice just for giving them so much business. But sadly they don’t know my face, as we have lately become the take-outers. We never once sat in that restaurant to eat or for that matter any restaurant in the last few months. The thought of chasing our toddler who wants to dash through the tables and come dangerously close to knocking off the waiters carrying food is enough to deter us. And also the scary thought of engaging her through the dinner while she is continuously trying to get herself off the high chair and very clearly verbalizing it, if you know what I mean. The last few times we went to a restaurant, we would sit at the table, as if on-call for emergency response, and ready to doggy bag our food and leave if situation becomes uncontrollable.
So we are content to have food delivered or picked-up rather than enduring the drama at the restaurant, and leaving huge apologetic tips to take care of the mess created at our table. I have tried to recreate their fried rice at home several times and with much practice have come very close to it. I used dry shrimp soaked in warm water for 15 minutes, but preferred fresh shrimp and hence modified the recipe here accordingly. Also I added soy-marinated tofu, but you won’t miss it if you don’t have it. So until I can get that job in their kitchen, I will be content with this. And I assure, you will not be disappointed either!
What you need (for 2 servings):
12 shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup Thail Basil, loosely packed
4 shallots finely sliced (or 1/4 medium onion)
2 Thai chilies, finely chopped (deseed or omit altogether for milder heat)
1 tbsp Nam Prik Pao (Thai Chili Paste. Chilies and dried shrimp are the key ingredients)
1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1 cup of greens (bok choy-green parts, kai lan or finely cut broccoli florets)
1 tbsp Soy bean paste (also known as Yellow bean paste)
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 tbsp oil
2 cups cooked rice–preferably made the day before or at least cooled for a couple of hours
1 cup bean sprouts
1 pinch MSG (optional)
Salt to taste*
Finely shredded Carrots, Bean Sprouts, Cilantro leaves and Lime wedges for garnish
* Be careful of adding additional salt as Nam Prik Pao, Soy bean paste and fish sauce have good amount of salt in them.
How to make it:
- Heat the wok on high and add 2 tbsp oil to coat. Add minced garlic and toss till fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the chilies, shallots and Thai Basil and saute for 1 minute.
- Add the shrimp and toss until they turn pink
- Move the stuff in the wok to its sides, and in the center add 1 tbsp oil, and add the beaten egg. Once the bottom of the egg starts setting, scramble it and toss with rest of the stuff.
- Add rice and break up any clumps with your spatula while tossing.
- Add the fish sauce, nam prik pao, soy bean paste, brown sugar and msg if using and mix.
- Add the greens and toss well, cooking for an additional 2 minutes
- Taste and adjust salt as needed.
- Turn off heat and add the bean sprouts and lightly mix them in. They will cook slightly in the residual heat but still retain their crunch.
- Serve it piping hot with a garnish of shredded carrots, cilantro leaves and lime wedges.