Thai Food, The Basics

Summer veg fried rice

IMG_4291-0I wasn’t planning to  post this as a recipe but I put a picture on my Instagram feed a few people said they wanted to make it so here you go, by popular demand! Fried rice makes a quick easy meal and is very versatile in terms of using the veggies you have available. This one includes summer veg, sweet corn, courgettes / zucchini, green beans, tomatoes and spring onions as well as mushrooms. It can easily be made vegan or you can add eggs it’s up to you. The best rice to use in fried rice is cold left over rice as it will be less sticky, so it’s a great way to use up left rice. The rice shouldn’t be overcooked. I use a mix of brown and red local organic rice, which tends to keep it’s shape and doesn’t become sticky unless really overcooked, but use whatever you have. This will feed four people.

So what do you need? (approximate quantities)

  • 200-250g of chopped mushrooms
  • a large courgette / zucchini (or 2 small ones)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • the corn from one large, fresh cob (pre-boiled / steamed)
  • 150g green beans
  • 2 or 3 tomatoes
  • 4-6 spring onions (or one regular onion)
  • 3-4 large dried chillies (not too spicy type – optional)
  • half a cup of plain cashew nuts (optional)
  • 3-4 tbs sesame seeds
  • 1tbs of curry (regular yellow Indian style) powder
  • 2 large free range eggs (optional)
  • coriander leaves
  • oil for frying (sesame oil is good)
  • light soy sauce
  • some white pepper
  • about 4 -6 measuring cups of pre-cooked rice (depending on how hungry you are)

I start by chopping up all the vegetables and divide them into those that need a little longer to fry mushrooms, courgettes and garlic. and thise that cook quicker sweetcorn (I bought this on the cob at the local market ready steamed you could use frozen or canned instead but fresh is tastier and has more crunch), green beans (you could use peas instead), tomatoes and the spring onions (if you use a regular onion instead this should be added to the mushrooms and zucchini).

I heat some oil in my wok enough so that it’s about a cm deep in the base of the wok and start by frying the chillis in it, I then remove these. If you are using the cashews then fry these too until golden and put them aside too. I didn’t use cashews in my rice below as I was planning to serve it with fried tofu. If you are planning to have the rice on it’s own, and if you want a vegan version, then I suggest adding the cashews. Then in the same oil I fried the first batch of veggies: mushrooms, courgettes and garlic until they began to brown a little and then I added the other veg and cooked for a couple of minutes. Then I added the eggs, make sure you stir quickly at this point so the eggs don’t stick to the bottom of the wok. I then added the curry powder, the sesame seeds and a couple of good splashes of soy sauce and then I added the rice. Once you have added the rice keep stirring so all the rice gets hot. I broke up the fried chillies and added these (add the cashews too if you are using them).

IMG_4280I think the trick with fried rice is to try and get the grains to stay separated to do this the rice you use shouldn’t be overcooked and it should be cool and you need to fry it for some time, longer than you may think, stirring constantly, on a hot heat so that the rice heats through and dries out a little this ensures that your fried rice doesn’t stick together. Finally add in some coriander leaves and a shake of white pepper, taste it and add more soy sauce if necessary. The fried rice can be served as is, traditionally in Thailand it would be served with a garnish of fresh coriander leaves, a slice of lime to squeeze on it ad some sliced cucumber. Below I served it with some fried tofu on the side which was accompanied by a sauce (Thai sweet chilli dipping sauce with extra dried chilli and ground roasted peanuts and some fresh coriander leaves) and a local mushroom veggie chilli paste.IMG_4285

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