We are big fans of Thai food, the husband and I. We love how the cuisine uses very simple, earthy ingredients to create dishes that are so very flavourful. We love the way different flavours like sweet, sour and spicy meld together so beautifully in Thai cuisine.
The ingredients used in Thai and Indian cuisine are not all that different, and I have been able to replicate many of our favourite dishes at home. The husband and I enjoy knocking back a dish of Thai green curry with rice, a raw papaya salad or peanut noodles for lunch or dinner, a nice change from the usual. Recently, I tried my hands at making Khao Phad, vegetarian Thai fried rice, and it turned out wonderfully well. We have made it quite a few times since then, and it has become a house favourite.
Like many other Thai dishes, Khao Phad is a medley of flavours – sweet and sour and spicy come together to create this wholesome dish. It isn’t very tough to make – once you prep up the ingredients, putting together this Thai fried rice is a matter of minutes.
I use ingredients commonly available in India – like Indian ginger in place of Thai galangal, red chilli powder in place of bird’s eye chillies, and Sona Masoori rice in place of Thai jasmine rice – and the result is still very close to the original Khao Phad we tasted in Thailand. You have to try this out to understand just how simple yet beautiful this dish is!
Here’s how I make the Khao Phad or Thai fried rice.
Ingredients (3-4 servings):
Vegetables to be prepped:
- A 1-inch piece of ginger
- 4-5 cloves of garlic
- A small piece of cabbage
- 1/4 cup shelled green peas
- 1/4 cup sweet corn
- 1 medium-sized onion
- 1 small capsicum
- 5-6 beans
- 1 small carrot
- 1 seedless cucumber
Other veggies used:
- 1 lemon or as per taste
- A few stalks of fresh coriander
- 1 cup rice (I used Sona Masoori)
- Salt, to taste
- Red chilli powder, to taste
- 2 tablespoons soya sauce or to taste (I used Thai Heritage)
- 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce or to taste (I used Thai Heritage)
- 2 tablespoons demerera sugar/brown sugar (I used Eagle)
- 1/4 cup peanuts
- 1 tablespoon oil
- First, pressure cook the rice with 3 cups of water for 3 whistles. Let the pressure release entirely. Allow the rice to cool down completely, and then fluff it up gently. Keep aside.
- Dry roast the peanuts on medium flame till they get crisp. Allow them to cool down completely, and remove the skins. Now, coarsely pulse in a mixer for just about a second. Do not make a fine powder. Keep aside.
- Now, we will prep the veggies that will go into the fried rice. Peel the ginger and chop it very, very finely. Peel the garlic cloves and crush them coarsely, using a mortar and pestle. Chop the onion, beans (after removing strings) and cabbage finely. Peel the carrot and cucumber, and chop into batons. Cook the sweet corn for about 2 minutes in boiling water, and transfer to a colander to let all the excess water drain out. Slice the capsicum. Keep the veggies aside.
- Now, finely chop the coriander. Extract the juice from the lemon. Keep aside.
- Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the onion, ginger, garlic, capsicum, peas, beans, corn, cabbage, carrot and cucumber. Add salt and red chilli powder to taste. Stir fry on medium heat till the vegetables are cooked, but not overly so. The veggies should retain a little crunch.
- Add in the cooked rice, soya sauce, Sriracha sauce, crushed peanuts and demerera sugar. Mix well, but gently.
- Let everything cook together for about 2 minutes, stirring intermittently. Add more salt and/or red chilli powder if needed.
- When everything is well integrated together, switch off gas. Add in the lemon juice and finely chopped coriander. Mix well. Serve piping hot.
- Traditionally, jasmine rice is used to prepare Thai fried rice. I didn’t have any, so I have used Indian Sona Masoori rice instead.
- For plain steamed rice, I use about 3.75 cups of water per cup of rice. For fried rice, I have reduced the quantity of water to 3 cups. You could reduce the quantity of water you use, if you want grainier rice. We like our rice to be well-cooked but still grainy, and this ratio works out perfectly for us.
- I have used ordinary Indian ginger in place of Thai galangal and fresh lemon juice instead of Thai kaffir lime. If you can get your hands on galangal and kaffir lime, you could use that instead.
- Increase or decrease the quantity of lemon juice, sugar, soya sauce and Sriracha sauce as per your personal taste preferences. The quantities suggested above work out well for us.
- If you do not have demerera sugar, you could use ordinary refined sugar instead, but then, the fried rice may lose its beautiful brown colour.
- You could lightly steam the peas before adding them to the fried rice, too. I don’t.
- Other vegetables like mushrooms, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli and coloured capsicum can be added to the fried rice too. I commonly use the veggies that I have on hand.
- If you have rice left over, preferably a day old, it works very well for this recipe. You could use that in place of freshly cooked and cooled down rice.
- Chunks of fresh, ripe pineapple can also be mixed into the fried rice at the end, while you are adding the lemon juice and chopped coriander. That takes the flavour of the dish to a whole new level – I do that when I have chopped pineapple handy.
- Thai bird’s eye chillies can be used in place of red chilli powder.
This post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for the week is ‘Fusion Fiesta’, and each of the participants was required to post a fusion dish involving Indian and another, uncommon (to us) cuisine.