Help me adapt this recipe?
July 14, 2022 5:58 PM   Subscribe

The NYT's recipe thing, which I subscribe to and really like, had a recipe from Eric Kim for sheet pan kimchi fried rice. I won't link it because paywalled but it's terrific. I'm wanting to do something similar but am not sure quite how to go about it.

My partner and I both like Thai curry/tom yum fried rice you get at some restaurants. (Is it anything anyone eats in Thailand? I do not know!) The thing is I can't just sub in curry paste or tom yum for gochujang due to some other ingredients.

The relevant ingredients here are 2 cups of rice cooked up in a rice cooker, 3T butter, 1/4 c sesame oil, 1/4 c gochujang, 1/4 cup kimchi juice, some soy sauce and sugar.

I'm not going to make tom yum from scratch but have found paste for it in a jar. Not absolutely sure 1:1 of that and gochujang will give me a good balance, but I'm willing to try. The butter should be fine in either, just makes it richer. Sesame oil would taste wrong with tom yum so....plain vegetable oil? Water for kimchi juice? Does this sound any good?

I realize this is an exercise in hypothetical cooking for people who like these particular flavors but the thing about ask is usually someone actually says "oh, yeah, I have ideas about this..."

posted by less-of-course to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Sure - this will work!

It may not taste like what your neighborhood Thai restaurant makes, but it will be tasty!

Coconut oil for the butter and sesame oil
Coconut milk for the kimchi juice or at least coconut water, plus a squeeze of lime for the acidity
Fish sauce for salt
Palm sugar (or brown sugar) if it needs sweetness to bring it into balance

Add the tom yum paste or curry paste to the coconut milk to taste - the rice will mellow it out, so go for something a bit punchier than you want to eat straight. Thai curry paste usually benefits from being fried in a bit of oil to bloom the flavors - if you do this as a first step, fry some paste in a bit of coconut oil, then add to the coconut milk.) Add a good squeeze of lime juice, taste for seasoning, and you are all set.

It may take 2-3 attempts to get the flavor where you want it, but have fun with it!
posted by jenquat at 6:23 PM on July 14, 2022 [10 favorites]

I'd add lime juice, fish sauce, finely sliced makrut lime leaves and lemongrass, and sub palm sugar for the sugar. These are all probably in the paste to some extent or another, but if you can add extra/fresh versions--even if it's just fresh lime juice--I think it would make a real difference. Also fresh cilantro.
posted by pullayup at 6:23 PM on July 14, 2022 [4 favorites]

I don't know if i'd add coconut milk or oil in my first attempts, as I don't believe it's usually in tom yam--but it is in tom khaa, which is (I think--I'm definitely not an expert) a related recipe. So worth trying, but refine your tom yum flavors first.
posted by pullayup at 6:27 PM on July 14, 2022 [3 favorites]

Here's Hot Thai Kitchen's Tom Yum Fried Rice - see the sauce ingredients, I think that's what you would want.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:15 PM on July 14, 2022 [3 favorites]

I make curry fried rice at home using more "conventional" techniques and I usually use peanut oil, mae ploy brand paneng curry paste, fish sauce (as a sub for soy sauce that I would normally use), and rice + veggies + egg. No coconut milk/oil, though I do use that when making an actual curry.

So for this I would do:
3T butter: keep or sub vegetable or peanut oil
1/4 c sesame oil: are you sure this is the right amount because it's a lot? but I would switch to a neutral oil
1/4 c gochujang: normally I would say to put in a bit less curry paste than gochujang because it's much spicier, but this seems moderate for 2 cups of rice so I would do a straight substitution of red or paneng curry paste, green if you think the curry fried rice you usually get is more sweet than spicy
1/4 cup kimchi juice: replace with water
some soy sauce: sub fish sauce 1:1
sugar: sub brown sugar, raw sugar, palm sugar, or just leave as is
posted by A Blue Moon at 8:48 PM on July 14, 2022

Response by poster: Thanks, folks. As far as coconut milk, I'm a little concerned about what happened to it when it (mixed in with other stuff) is in a 425 oven for 30 minutes. The thing about the original recipe that's so appealing is you get a bit of nurungji--the crust of rice you get in a dolsot at a restaurant. I'm wondering what happens to very hot coconut milk.

Some of the other stuff I'll probably try, except for the fish sauce part just because sadly, unless it's really hidden among other flavors, I don't like it.
posted by less-of-course at 9:12 PM on July 14, 2022

curious, I did not get any paywall. I have no subscription but I got the full recipe page for what I think is the correct recipe....and it looks delicious!
posted by alchemist at 10:11 PM on July 14, 2022

Maybe someone can use Joshua Weissman's authentic tom yum recipe as a reference on what ingredients to include. He goes into how to make your own nam prik pao, (doesn't seem that hard...) then use that to make tom yum.
posted by kschang at 10:35 PM on July 14, 2022

I wouldn't add the coconut milk to the pan; I'd cook the rice in it - Hot Thai Kitchen has 1c rice, 3/4c water, 1/2c coconut milk, 1.5 Tbsp sugar and 1 tsp salt into the rice cooker. Although to be honest, if you're adding a bunch of tom yum paste, the coconut flavour might be masked. I'm also not sure I'd do both tom yum and gochujang at the same time; the funkiness of the gochujang might clash.
posted by Superilla at 11:18 PM on July 14, 2022 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure what recipe Superilla is referencing above, but agree the straight up tom yum fried rice from Hot Thai Kitchen looks like a good baseline.

Maybe if you have refined coconut oil, you could sub that for the butter (in case those saturated fats do something special in the cooking process?), and sub peanut or vegetable oil for the rest? I'd just sub water for the kimchi juice, and I'd wait until it's done cooking then squeeze lime juice over it (1-2 limes, to taste).

Your jarred tom yum paste is probably an approximation of nam prik pao/Thai chili paste plus the other aromatics. I'd say start with 1:1 gochujang sub, and adjust from there. Your tom yum paste may be saltier than gochujang, so not sure how to approximate the soy sauce. (But I will say that I find it's very worth it to use Thai thin soy sauce when cooking Thai dishes, especially if you're not going to use fish sauce.)
posted by gueneverey at 5:39 AM on July 15, 2022

So much great advice here, just want to note that it's *ice cold* that the NYTCooking does not have the Gift links feature.
posted by wowenthusiast at 10:16 AM on July 15, 2022

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