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My fried rice lacks a Thai je-ne-sais-quoi

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I made fried rice again, and as usual when I make fried rice: it tastes good, but nowhere near the amazing Thai fried rice I can get from Thai-town restaurants. I must be missing some obvious Thai ingredients? 

 

What I made: 

- Cooked sligthly salted Jasmine rice in rice cooker, not too much water, cooled off in fridge. 

- Sauteed small broccoli florets, diced red bell pepper, green beans and carrots, keeping them crunchy.

- Added a bit more oil and rice, fried until hearing the popping sound.

- Made a hole in the rice, broke two eggs and quickly scrambled them then mixed with fried rice. 

- Seasoned the whole dish with soy sauce. 

 

It tasted good, the texture was just right IMO, but the flavor wasn't Thai. Any ideas?


Edited by French Fries - 12/16/13 at 1:10pm
post #2 of 19

Fish sauce?

And is Thai fried rice different from Chinese fried rice? Because i use other technique for Chinese fried rice.

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post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply ordo. Yes, I would have used fish sauce if the caramel pork I served along with the fried rice wasn't heavily fish-sauced (which it was). But great point, something to try next time, fish sauce. 

 

I'm also thinking maybe some sugar. 

 

I'm not sure about difference in Thai vs Chinese fried rice. I believe (not sure) that the Chinese may use Oyster sauce in their fried rice? 

 

I was also thinking of adding some toasted sesame oil at the end maybe. And top with freshly sliced scallions.

post #4 of 19

Use both fish sauce and soy. Some sugar is often helpful in fried rice. You might also get some Thai spark with some lime juice right at the end. 

 

There are many styles of fried rice in China. Oyster sauce appears in some of them by some cooks/authors and not others. It is also used in some Thai cooking, but I've not cooked Thai enough to speak reliably about oyster sauce in Thai cooking. 

 

I talked with a cook at a local Thai place, The Bangkok Thai, and his comment was that Thailand has most of the same dishes as China, but with more impact in the flavor. Not sure I agree with that but it was an interesting perspective and there is certainly an exchange of influences.  

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post #5 of 19

I use stock, fish sauce, soy, lime juice and zest, palm sugar, and roasted chile paste. The palm sugar is not as sickenly sweet as white refined sugar and adds some nice caramel notes.

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post #6 of 19

Fish sauce and lime juice together is a pretty common combination in Thai dishes. And chilis? I don't see chilis mentioned in your description.

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

Great, thank you guys. I have some palm sugar, so I'll use that next time. 

 

No chilis because the little ones can't eat them. I can't wait for them to be able to handle it! :)

 

@cheflayne , do you use stock... to cook the rice in? Or later in the process? 

post #8 of 19

With only soy sauce as the seasoning I would expect it to be a bit mild.  Ginger?  Garlic? Lemongrass?

 

mjb.

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post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by French Fries View Post

 

@cheflayne , do you use stock... to cook the rice in? Or later in the process? 

Basically I combine all the ingredients that I listed. Then when I add the rice to the stir fry, I start adding the sauce a little bit at a time as I continue stirring and frying the rice before finishing with the eggs.

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post #10 of 19
I gotta say that I am better at indonesian fried rice (nasi goreng) than its Thai little brother (or sister) :-)

For Thai fried rice I would fry some shallots, garlic and chili's. Either all finely chopped or made into a paste.
Then add meat if using and whatever vegetable, bit of cabbage, carrots, beans or whatever.
Then add the cold rice and fry. Add some fish sauce or soy and a tat of lemon. Or even better: mix the soy or fish sauce with the egg, before adding.

You could add a little ginger or galangal and maybe even some lemongrass when frying the onion mixture.

Good luck!

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post #11 of 19

Can you make 2 batches? One for the adults, and one for the kids. Once you have all the prep done it's an easy job.

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the suggestions guys! :)

 

@teamfat : Garlic, Lemongrass, definitely great ideas. I looooove lemongrass. Ginger I'm not sure but definitely something worth trying. 

 

@cheflayne : Thanks for the detail. I should try it next time. 

 

@butzy : I love Nasi Goreng but have never made my own. I should start a new thread about that to ask you for your recipe!! Shallots, that's a good idea. A paste seems like the way to go. I believe I'll take all the advice in this thread and will make a paste out of shrimp paste, garlic, lemongrass, maybe ginger, shallots, soy & fish sauce and lime, maybe chicken stock, and use that as a base next time. 

 

@ordo : I really can't be bothered, dinner time is chaotic enough as it is with two young ones running around the house!! :lol:

post #13 of 19
I like ordo's suggestion, and it is not really that hard.
When I was a youngster, my dad always had a pot full of white rice on the stove (in a steamer).
I would get a spoon full of nasi goreng, mixed with one or 2 spoons of white rice, topped with a fried egg and cucumber and a meatball to the side.
Over time the amount of white rice got reduced.
Obviously any left over white rice was used for the next batch of nasi goreng :-)

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post #14 of 19

At Thai restaurants, I usually get curry fried rice. The curry paste adds great flavor. I've gotten my hand on some great Thai chili paste/mix at a Thai festival a few years back. Some of them have dried shrimp/fishes and such, which has amazing flavor. I can imagine a little of that can add a lot to the fried rice.

post #15 of 19
Maybe try some belancan, a thai shrimp paste. It shows up in fried rice more often than you'd think. Smells bad in the can/jar, but cooks up nicely.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 

I made fried rice tonight, and this time the texture wasn't quite there (I used whole rice) but the taste was spot on!!!

 

First I made a paste out of:

- Garlic

- Ginger

- Sugar

- Turmeric

- Coriander

- Cumin seeds

- Shrimp Paste

- Fish Sauce

 

I sauteed onions briefly over high heat and added the paste, cooked for 1-2mn and added broccoli, carrots, celery, later added the whole rice and fried it, then green peas and a couple of eggs, fried some more, and finished with chopped cilantro. Served with limes, tomato and cucumber wedges. 

post #17 of 19

I think the key to the texture, is using cooked cold white rice, refrigerated overnight, so it's cold and dry.  Or you get mushy fried rice.  Add sesame oil, and a little soy sauce along the way.  Add ginger & garlic, chopped scallions and peas, and any add-in you like, like cooked shrimp, char sui, pineapple etc.  I cook the eggs separately (you could add oyster sauce), and add them in in ribbons at the end.

post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 

Yeah I can only eat brown rice right now so that's what I used but it's definitely not great for the texture. I cooked it just before frying it so I spreaded it onto a sheet pan and placed it in the freezer for 1/2 Hr to get it really cold, but still it got a bit mushy. 

 

I also believe that I've gotten the texture right before when frying smaller portions at a time (like one plate at a time) rather than making a big batch like I did yesterday. Sometimes you just don't have the time...

post #19 of 19

Toast your chiles to flavor the oil. (I use half-peanut oil and half rendered-pork fat.) Possibly, that smoky flavor you are not likely to get at home comes from the extreme quickness only available from the 55,000 plus BTU wok burner in a commercial Thai kitchen. Make sure rice is day old and cold to start. Try using toasted hot sesame oil and Thai black soy (has molasses) in addition to regular soy, dry garlic, Thai fish sauce, and a tablespoon of Monosodium glutamate (Ajinomoto), some Thai restaurants use pork powder. I like to use a bit of powdered Lime Makrut Leaves. Makrut lime leaves are indigenous to Southeast Asia. They have a citrus-like, floral aroma and impart a unique flavor. Powdered leaves can be potent, so a little goes a long way.

 (see http://www.savoryspiceshop.com/herbs-spices/lime-leaves-makrut-powdered.html )

 

(Please do not write me about food allergies to Monosodium glutamate. It is FDA approved and I do not think me AND six billion Chinese can be wrong.)

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