Sunday, September 25, 2011

Thai Fried Rice with Crab Meat (Kao Paht Boo) & Chili Fish Sauce (Nam Pla Prig)

I adapted this recipe from and Nancy McDermott's Real Thai. You can substitute the crab meat with shrimp, scallops or even imitation crab meat. But the best, of course, is with fresh lump crab meat. Basil is not used in the original recipes, but I think a little bit adds a nice flavor to this dish.

8 cups (3 cups raw + 4 1/2 cups water in the rice cooker) cooked jasmine rice, cooled to room temperature
4 eggs, beaten
5 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 cup shallots or red onion, chopped
1 lb. lump crab meat (or substitute with crab claw meat, shrimp, scallop or imitation crab meat, or any combination thereof - just make sure any raw seafood is thoroughly cooked before adding to the rice)
3 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. soy sauce
4 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias (at an angle)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup fresh Thai basil, chopped (optional - use sweet basil, if Thai is not available)

2 limes, cut into wedges

1 English or hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
Tomato wedges

Chili Fish Sauce (Nam Pla Prig):
2-3 Thai or Serrano chilies, thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2-3 tbsp. fish sauce (enough to cover the chilies and shallot)

1. Combine all chili fish sauce ingredients in a small bowl, cover & set aside.

2. Cook the rice; let cool & set aside.

3. Heat 1-2 tsp. of oil in a wok or large saute pan over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add the beaten eggs and cook until just done (basically, scrambled eggs). Cut into 1-2" chunks with spatula, remove to a bowl, and set aside. Alternatively, you can scramble the eggs later, in the same pan with the fried rice (as noted below).

4. In the same pan, add 5 tbsp. of vegetable oil (it sounds like a lot, but then you've got 8 cups of rice going in and the oil will keep the grains separated) and heat over high heat. When almost smoking, add the onion or shallot & cook about 30 seconds or until soft. Add rice and gently stir to separate the grains, about 2 minutes (keep the heat on high, as that is the key to a good fried rice). 

5. Add fish sauce & soy sauce, and stir well. Toss in crab meat & stir lightly to combine. If you want to scramble the eggs at this step, you can do so by pushing the rice over to one side of the pan with the spatula and cooking the eggs there until done & then tossing it in with the rice. Otherwise, just add the pre-scrambled eggs. 

6. Stir in scallions, basil & sliced jalapenos and remove from heat. Season with white pepper, sugar, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Adjust seasonings as needed (NOTE: I like to keep this dish on the less salty side, especially since it will be served with additional chili fish sauce and may be accompanied by other savory Thai dishes). 

7. Serve in a large bowl or platter, garnished with cilantro, sliced cucumbers, lime wedges and tomato wedges, if desired. 

For the chili fish sauce, combine thinly sliced serranos, Thai or Jalapeno peppers (which won't be as bitingly hot), 1 small shallot and 2-3 tbsp. of fish sauce (enough to cover).

Thinly slice the cucumber and refrigerate until ready to use. I like to use a vegetable peeler and peel thin strips lengthwise along the cucumber, leaving green skin in between before slicing. 

Lime wedges, basil, shallots, scallions.

Fish sauce. There are many brands, primarily from Thailand or Vietnam.

Lump crab meat is best but quite expensive, so canned crab claw meat is an ok substitute - make sure to pick these over to remove any shell remnants (this can was from the refrigerated section at Trader Joe's).

Pre-scrambled eggs (you can also cook the eggs in the same pan with the fried rice at 
a later step).

Saute the shallots (or red onion) in 4 tbsp. oil (pan should be smoking hot).

Add the rice and stir well to separate the grains. 

Add fish sauce & soy sauce.

Add crab meat and stir in gently. If you've pre-scrambled the eggs, then add it now. Otherwise, you can push the rice to one side and scramble them now. 

Add scallions, basil & sliced jalapeno. Stir in a pinch of white pepper.

Sprinkle with fresh cilantro, and serve with lime wedges, cucumber slices (forgot to put them on the plate for this photo!) and the chili fish sauce on the side.

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