Tom Yum Fried Rice

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tom Yum Paste, what's not to love about it? It truly combines some of my favorite flavors together in one lovely paste: fragrant lemongrass, spicy red chilis, tangy Kaffir lime leaves & lime juice, savory fish sauce with the aromatics of crushed garlic, shallots and galangal. For you vegetarians out there, Vegetarian Tom Yum Paste is readily available as well - I've done a taste test and it's definitely comparable.

With my failed expectation of Tom Yum Fried Rice at Champa Garden, reviewed here, I decided to give it a go. My biggest criticism for their version was that it didn't have enough Tom Yum flavor, so I made sure I added tons of tom yum paste in mine.

The Key to Good Fried Rice: Fried rice should ALWAYS be made with leftover day-old rice. If you don't have any, try to cook it a few hours before hand, let it sit in the rice cooker unplugged before cooking. This helps take a bit of moisture away from the rice and helps you get individual grains instead of clumps, giving it extra restaurant-made quality.

My version of Tom Yum Fried Rice, notice all the carmelized Tom Yum paste on the shrimp? Cooking all the ingredients separately allows for the rice to really develop the Tom Yum taste while not having the eggs get overcooked.


Tom Yum Fried Rice

3-4 Servings

1.5-2 Tablespoons of Tom Yum Paste
15 Jumbo Shrimps, shells off and deveined - for a vegetarian recipe, omit the shrimp!
4 big bowls of cooked, leftover white rice
4 eggs
1/4 medium onion, diced
1 spring onion, cut into little pieces
1 bird-eye chili, finely chopped
1/2 cup corn (optional, but gives the rice some extra crunch and sweetness)
2 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 dash of fish sauce
1 tablespoon of water
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 lime, squeezed
salt
cilantro, for garnish


1. In a wok, or a skillet, heat up a dash of oil in high heat. Wait until the wok is red hot, and add 1/2 tablespoon of tom yum paste and a few onions. Pat your shrimps dry with a paper towel, allowing the shrimp to caramelize later in the wok.

2. Add the shrimp, and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Take it off the wok once it turns pink and the tom yum paste creates a nice crust on the shrimp and put it in a separate bowl.

3. Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil and add onions, corn, garlic and chili. Cook until the onion softens, about 4-5 minutes. If the wok is too hot and is burning the onions, lower the heat. Remove from wok and into a different bowl from the shrimp.

4. Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil and let the wok heat back up. Put in 4 eggs, and scramble softly. Be careful not to over cook them, or they will become rubbery. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

5. Add last 1/2 tablespoon of oil to a red hot wok and add remaining tom yum paste. Cook for 15-20 seconds and add the rice. Cook for about 3-4 minutes and add a mixture of the water, fish sauce and lime juice. Taste the rice to see if it's salty enough, if not add salt, or a bit more fish sauce. Don't add soy sauce!

6. Once the rice tastes right to you, add the corn and egg mixture. Toss together, and finally add the green onions last. Cook for a few more minutes and remove from heat. Garnish with shrimp and cilantro, and you're good to go!

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