Help me cut out the middleman for my thai food fix
February 11, 2009 5:27 PM   Subscribe

Tom Yum Fried Rice without a wok? (also, you got any rockin' recipes?)

I'm thinking it's time to make my favorite Thai restaurant food - Tom Yum Fried Rice. some problems arise.

1) sometimes it's called Tom Yum Fried Rice. Sometimes it's just called Thai Fried Rice. How can I find an awesome recipe that will set my mouth on fire with the limey, peppery, tomatoey goodness?

2) I don't have a wok, or gas. Electric stove + frying pan + rice = A good day for dog food OR a good day for OrangeDrink and his roommate?

3) You, uh, don't happen to have a recipe for Tom Yum Fried rice that will rock me Amadeus, do you?
posted by OrangeDrink to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Googling "tom yum fried rice" gives a bunch of results.

My fried rice recipe is here. It could easily be modified with lime, tomato, shrimp, lemongrass, etc, but I make no claims as to the results.

You are fine making fried rice without a wok. I use a 10-inch All-clad skillet and my results are damn good.
posted by charlesv at 5:38 PM on February 11, 2009

The biggest key isn't the cooking vessel, it's that the rice must be leftover rice -- not freshly made. Make it the night before and refrigerate overnight. (I use a 12-inch anodized aluminum skillet, no wok, and it's fine.)

I have no recipe to share that you couldl't find online. Do know, though, that for authenticity's sake, you'll need to hunt down some Thai basil.
posted by mudpuppie at 5:45 PM on February 11, 2009

Seconding mudpuppie's advice to use leftover refrigerated rice. It's less moist than freshly cooked rice which makes for better texture in the end product.

You can definitely use a frying pan but depending on how much rice you are making, you might have to cook in batches. A wok's size and sloped sides help keep the ingredients in the pan during the stirring and tossing. If you crowd ingredients in a regular frying pan and then stir/ toss, a lot of that deliciousness will end up on the floor. Yes, I'm speaking from experience.
posted by kitkatcathy at 5:58 PM on February 11, 2009

I always "stir fry" in a big flat pan because that's what works best with a Western cooktop. I don't have gas either, although I wish I did.

This recipe (and accompanying street vendor video) should be pretty good.

I guess I need to pick up some of that Golden Mountain sauce. It seems to come up in a lot of recipes.
posted by O9scar at 6:47 PM on February 11, 2009

Left-over rice is key. A large, regular saucepan is fine; the rice will escape from a frying-pan or skillet.
posted by nowonmai at 7:12 PM on February 11, 2009

A big cast iron skillet with deep sides is the absolute best thing to make most stir-fry in on western stoves. Holds the heat fantastically, especially useful on electric stoves. Wouldn't dream of using anything else.
posted by piedmont at 8:01 PM on February 11, 2009

Flat-bottomed pans work fine for stir-fries, as long as the walls are high enough. So instead of a skillet or frying pan I'd recommend a Dutch oven or stock pot. When you stir-fry, you need to keep the food moving energetically, and some of it gets airborne at times.

And seconding day-old refrigerated rice for all stir-fried rice dishes. When you take it out of the fridge it will be a solid mass, but tip it out onto a big plate or tray, put your hands flat on top, and press down. It will crumble into small chunks, which you can then break up by pressing again. In a few moments it will be loose grains, perfect for frying. (Leftover rice that has not been refrigerated is not nearly as cooperative.)

You do have a bottle of nam pla (fish sauce), right? It's essential for that characteristic Thai flavor, and soy sauce is not a substitute. If you have some kind of packaged Tom Yum flavoring, it's got the fish sauce built in. Otherwise, your Thai food fix will require an investment in this stinky but essential condiment. I haven't found much difference among brands, so anything you find would probably be fine.
posted by Quietgal at 8:43 AM on February 12, 2009

This isn't Tom Yum fried rice, but it's pretty close (basically indonesian fried rice) and you really can't screwed it up assuming you could the rice with a little less water (it should be a bit dry) and don't add that much oil. I've made it a bunch of times in a frying pan.

Also I realize it's the most obnoxious website ever, but that's how you know it's authentic!
posted by whoaali at 6:04 PM on February 12, 2009

Response by poster: In case anyone checks this later, here's what I made, and it tasted AWESOME:

1. 4-6 minced kaffir lime leaves
2. 4-6 minced Thai chilies
3. 4-6 minced garlic cloves
4. 2 minced tablespoons ginger
5. 1 onion, cut into wedges
6. 2 stalks lemon grass, thinly sliced
7. 1 can corn
8. ½ cup Tom Yum paste mixed in 1 cup water
9. 2 chicken breasts, cut into strips
10. 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
11. ¼ cup soy sauce mixed with dash of oyster and fish sauces
12. 3-4 cups refrigerated day old rice
13. 2 cucumbers, pealed and sliced

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the bottom of a large pan. Add ingredients 1-5 and heat for 5 to 8 minutes. Add ingredients 6-9 and cook for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes. Cook for an additional 5 minutes before adding ingredients 11 and 12. Cook for 5 more minutes, folding and stirring in rice to thoroughly breakup and mix rice. Serve with sliced cucumbers.
posted by OrangeDrink at 9:56 PM on March 6, 2009

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