December 16, 2011

Nasi Goreng Tom Yum (Tom Yum Fried Rice)

It is a strange summer in Australia this year.  According to the met services, we're experiencing the coldest summer in Canberra in 47 years! I felt the weather reverted from Spring to Autumn instead of progressing into sunny days, with temperature hovering between 19*C and 23*C since the start of the season. Suffice to say that we still need thick woollen blankets to sleep at night.

With the cold weather comes the need for comfort food. One of my perennial favourites is fried rice.  It's one of the easiest yet tastiest complete meals to produce. The best fried rice is made with yesterday's rice.  Even better refrigerated.  I must say, fried rice is highly customisable too.  There's the Malay version, the Chinese version, the Indian version and more. I am passionate about fried rice so much so that I contributed a recipe to an international magazine some time this year and it got published - in full glossy glory (with my name on it!).  Yay!

Add any "side kick" as you wish.
I have here slices of Vegetarian Mock Duck (Char Siew) and cucumber

Fast forward to my kitchen.  I was hooked on making Chinese fried rice for several days in a row.  This followed a friend's Facebook posting of the glorious dish she had in food-loving Singapore, of course.  I must digress a little here with a small confession to make. When I run out of ideas to cook, I turn to Facebook. My countrymen have a peculiar obsession of posting pictures of their gastronomic indulgences with pride. After all, might I remind you that we're people of Makan Nation, of which eating is second only to shopping as a national past time ("makan" is Malay for "eat").  

So, back to my kitchen.  The thing about fried rice is that you must allow for the rice to cool down (if you are cooking/steaming fresh rice) to at least room temperature.  If you fry the rice while it's hot, you will get clumps, which will kill the joy of having a delicious meal. I decided to give this fried rice a little twist. I got the idea from a Malaysian friend who cooks Thai Fried Rice regularly for her Aussie husband. I put the culinary experiment on my own husband who turned out to love this version of fried rice with a passion - once again, his Western taste bud tickled towards the Asian direction!

I have tried many different kinds of Tom Yum pastes but found this one
to be the mother of all instant Tom Yum pastes! It's sufficiently spicy and sour
and it's Halal! Just add some kaffir lime leaves for more punch, if you wish.

(serves 4)

2 cups rice (cooked & cooled to room temperature)
1 carrot (diced)
1/2 red or green capsicum (diced)
1 small bowl frozen corn kernels
2 cloves garlic (diced)
1/2 onion (diced)
4 seafood/crab sticks (cut into 1cm pieces)
100gm prawns
2 chicken stock cubes
2 eggs
1 tbsp Tom Yum paste
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste


1.  Heat oil in a wok or a large frying pan.  Stir in garlic and onions, fry them over medium heat until onion is tender and fragrant.

2.  Add carrots, stir fry for 2 minutes.  Add capsicums, stir fry for 2 minutes.

3.  Add seafood/crab stick pieces and prawns.  Stir fry until prawns turn pink.

4.  Separately crush chicken cubes until crumble and add to the ingredients in the wok.  Add corn kernels and stir fry all ingredients.

5.  Add Tom Yum paste and stir for 30 seconds.  Create a well in the middle of the wok (if too dry, add 1 tsp of olive oil).  Break the eggs in the well and leave them to cook slightly for 30 seconds before stirring the eggs to break the yolk.  Leave eggs to cook for a further 20 seconds.  Do not stir the other ingredients with the eggs at this point in time (they will become clumpy).  When eggs are almost cooked, fold the ingredients together.

6.  Add rice.  Stir all ingredients gently.  Increase heat to high and stir all ingredients until rice is thoroughly coated with the paste.  Add salt to taste.

7.  Serve hot.

Fearlessly Simple & Home Cooked

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