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Thai Fried Rice

Serves: Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 4 cups cooked and chilled jasmine rice
  • 1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced, reserved separately
  • 1 large shallot, minced (4 tablespoons)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Sliced cucumber and lime wedges, to serve


Procedures:

We liked the aromatic flavor of jasmine rice, but long-grain white or basmati works, too. It’s important to use chilled rice (which can be made up to a day ahead of time). A good Thai fish sauce was essential; at Milk Street we use Red Boat. Pork belly is traditional in this recipe, but that can be hard to find in the U.S. Pancetta worked well as a substitute; it has the right amount of salt and fat. Plain bacon will do the job, too, but avoid smoked bacon.

Don’t use hot or warm rice. The fried rice will turn out clumpy and gummy.


In a bowl, stir together the fish sauce, soy sauce, water and sugar. Set aside. Use your hands to break up the rice so no clumps remain. Set aside.

Heat a wok over medium-high until a drop of water evaporates within 1 to 2 seconds of contact, about 3 minutes. Swirl in the oil, then pour in the eggs. Cook, stirring, until just set. Transfer the eggs to a plate. Add the pancetta to the wok and cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the plate with the eggs.

Return the wok to medium-high until just smoking. Add the scallion whites, shallot and garlic, then, using a metal spatula, stir-fry until softened, about 1 minute. Add the rice and stir-fry until heated through, about 2 minutes.

Stir the fish sauce mixture to recombine, then pour in a thin stream along the sides of the wok. Stir-fry until well mixed. Stir in the pancetta, egg (breaking up the egg) and cilantro. Transfer to a large platter and sprinkle with scallion greens. Serve with cucumber and lime wedges.

by Christopher Kimball

 
 
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