Fried Rice

Khao Phad Gai (Thai Chicken Fried Rice)

Khao Phad Gai (Chicken Fried Rice)A perennial takeaway favourite in our household, Thai-style Chicken Fried Rice (Khao Phad Gai) is one of the few dishes that both my partner and I enjoy eating, albeit with a few differences in our taste preferences. Naturally I like mine hot and spicy, whereas my partner’s is a somewhat more muted affair without any chilli or garlic. To my mind, the lack either of these elements seems like an affront to Thai cooking, but each to their own, I guess.

Along with an obligatory side order of Tom Yum Goong, Khao Phad Gai has a special place in my recent food history. It may be a simple meal, but this takeaway (along with a lot of red wine) was an absolute Godsend during a particularly stressful house-move – something I will forever be grateful for. Ordered almost every other night, we would sit, wine in hand, in amongst our half-packed boxes watching episodes of “Orange is the New Black”, tucking into our Khao Phad. None of it may have been very classy, but for a short while at least, this became our new normal.

Almost a year later, we don’t order Khao Phad as often as we did back then, but we still enjoy eating it now and again. After a rather disappointing order, though, I decided to try my hand at making it myself. Personally I prefer my own efforts, but my partner thinks otherwise. Apparently my version is “too flavoursome” for his delicate tastes – in my book that can never be a bad thing! As I said before, each to their own.

imageAs with most Asian food, the key to success is preparation…and a hot wok. Typically, 90% of any Asian stir-fry is prep-work, as the actual cooking usually takes just a few minutes – so make sure you have all you ingredients chopped and ready to go. Stir-frying can be fast and furious, and you don’t want to be faffing around with a carrot while your onions burn!

For more delicious Thai recipes please click here, or if you need tips on stocking your Thai Pantry please click here.

Click here for the recipe

Asia: The Fried Rice Miracle

Everybody loves fried rice and, for once, this actually includes my partner!

Frankly, given his flavour-phobic nature, the fact that he will even consider eating fried rice is a miracle in itself, and has saved us from many a Happy Meal whilst travelling through Asia. China, Malaysia, Thailand or Indonesia – it doesn’t matter where we are in the world, I always breathe a sigh of relief when I find fried rice on the menu! Whether it be called Khao Phad Gai in Phuket, Nasi Goreng in Java or  炒饭 in Sichuan, fried rice has been an absolute lifesaver on our travels!

However, as with all miracles, there is a strict criteria that must be adhered to before it can be fully realised: no prawn, no chilli, no garlic, no funny stuff. Wheter these “condiment commandments” are delivered verbally or on a printed card (thank God for Google Translate), these are instructions that have been communicated in a babel of tongues whilst on our many travels. Admittedly, “no funny stuff” is often lost in translation; but subsequent to the “Great Powdered Beef Floss Calamity” of ’07 in Beijing (which ruined a perfectly good plate of fried rice), this particular commandment has become almost as important as “no garlic”! For the likes of Brian it seems the world is filled with culinary pitfalls and devious chefs, just waiting to impart flavour upon their unsuspecting diners. Generally though, we seem to muddle through the minefield that is feeding Brian.

Sadly, his pedantic ordering instructions are not limited to ordering fried rice – even his beloved Big Macs are fraught with food dangers and require deconstruction. Typically the conversation goes something like this:

Me: “Please, wouldn’t you rather just have nuggets?”

Brian: “No, I fancy a Big Mac”

Me: Sigh

McD: “Next!”

Brian: “I would like a medium Big Mac Happy Meal please”

McD: “Okay. And to drink?”

Brian: “Coke Light. Okay, now on the Big Mac, I don’t want any cheese, gherkin, sauce…or mayo”

McD: “There is no mayo in a Big Mac, sir”

Brian: “That’s fine, I just want to make sure they don’t add any mayo”

McD: “Err, okaaayyy sir. So you just want the bread, meat and lettuce then?”

Brian: “Definitely, none of that other crap”

This exchange would be mortifying at the best of times…now imagine this entire conversation taking place in Japan! Ordering food has never been a highpoint of our travels.

Thankfully, through perseverance and experimentation, we’ve slowly been able to expand his list of edible foods abroad. And although still far from possessing a global palette he has, nevertheless, come a long way. Of course, the “condiment commandments” still apply to these new dishes, but we are no longer confined just to the Golden Arches or to the Colonel’s Secret Recipe! In Tokyo he ate Japanese Curry almost exclusively for 2 weeks, and in Malaysia he now merrily scoffs down roti canai (but only with sugar) and murtabak…even Banana Leaf Curry has recently been given the thumbs up.

But when all else fails, we can always rely on the tried and tested “Fried Rice Miracle”…just as long as they don’t try to add any of that “funny stuff”!