fried rice

Brunch invention - ruam mit gratiem/kao pad

There was rice left over from cooking dinner last night and I'd been planning a kao pad gai - fried rice with chicken - for brunch this morning.  I don't know why I'm saying it like this was an accident - I had deliberately made more rice last night than was needed just so that I could have kao pad today!

But I was also thinking about the ruam mit gratiem I'd made and thinking I'd like to make it again as I'm not that familiar with it yet and it was so easy and so good.

The conversation I had with myself went like this:

'Oh good! Favourite fried rice today!'

'But I kind of fancy making that stir fry again - I could try it with chicken this time.'

'If you make a stir fry though you're going to have to make more rice and there's already cold rice sitting there.'

'But I don't know which to choose - I want both!'

'Well then have both! Mix them together into one!'

So that's what I did.  I love cooking just for myself - I can experiment away and also make things as spicy as I like.  And that's generally pretty spicy.

Note that you do need cold cooked rice for this as freshly cooked hot rice is just too wet to stir fry.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder brunch fried rice

Here's how to make my hybrid brunch dish.

Chop a piece of chicken breast into small pieces and also chop a nice big clove of garlic.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder brunch fried rice

Get a pan hot, add some cooking oil and when hot tip in the chicken and garlic.

Cook over a medium heat - hot enough to seal the meat quickly but not so hot the garlic burns - for four or five minutes until the chicken is cooked.

Remove the chicken and garlic to a bowl, tip out any excess oil and return the pan to a medium low heat.

Quickly add:

2 x teaspoons oyster sauce

1 x teaspoon fish sauce

1 x teaspoon thin / light soy sauce

1 x teaspoon sugar

1 - 2 x teaspoons dried chilli flakes (I'd suggest just one - I put in two and it was a bit too much)

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder brunch fried rice

Stir for a few seconds until mixed and thick and bubbling.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder brunch fried rice
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder brunch fried rice

Then return the chicken and garlic to the pan and mix with the sauce.

Add the cold leftover rice and cook for a few minutes on a medium heat, stirring all the time, until the rice is hot right through.

Push the mixture to one side, add a little oil into the space and when hot crack in an egg.

Leave to cook for around 15 seconds until scrambling and combining with the rice and chicken mixture.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder brunch fried rice
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder brunch fried rice

Stir fry until everything is mixed and the egg cooked.

Remove from heat and prepare any garnishes you like - I'm using a shake of white pepper, some coriander leaves and a few slices of red chilli.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder brunch fried rice

Turn out the rice and chicken mixture onto a plate, or pack into a plastic bowl first to make it look nice, and add a few slices of cucumber too if you have it.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder brunch fried rice

A very good brunch and I'm glad I made it, but I do still prefer a 'proper' kao pad I think.

What do you think? Let me know if you try this - or any other variation of it.

And I'm off now to make more coffee :)

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder brunch fried rice


Kao pad gai - fried rice with chicken

Everyone loves a kao pad, a fried rice.  It's got to be one of my favourite everyday meals and it's obviously easy as easy can be to make, right?

Well, you'd have thought so. I definitely did as having watched my friend cook hundreds of the things in the restaurant in Thailand it looked simple enough, and when she showed me step-by-step how to make it, this is all I wrote down (if you can call this scrawl writing) as it seemed so obvious!

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder kao pad / fried rice

And then when I got back to the UK and went to make it, I just couldn't get it to work. It was ... fine ... but it wasn't right.

I've practiced a bit since then and it really is easy to make - but there are a few more things to be aware of to get it right than I had scribbled on my note.

I think the main things are firstly the importance of using cooled rice rather than freshly cooked as the steam and heat of the fresh rice is too wet to stir fry and, secondly, not being scared of cooking relatively quickly with quite a high heat. You just can't make this over a low heat, it won't work.

I'm making my kao pad today in the traditional way, keeping it quite plain with onion, spring onion and garlic the only veg. I'm also using chicken but you can use whatever you want - pork, seafood, even sausage pieces, or any vegetables of your choosing. I think mushroom fried rice works really well. Lots of versions of kao pad add a few pieces of chopped tomato too.

There are no exact measurements here, but do get everything you need prepared and to hand before you start cooking.

For one, you'll need

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder kao pad / fried rice

cooked rice - this is best when it's a day old and slightly dry and the grains are nice and separated. Cook and when cool keep in the fridge until you need it, or just cook the rice in the morning and leave out, covered, to use later

cooking oil

about a quarter of a white onion, or a few slices, chopped

one garlic clove, flattened and chopped

a smallish piece of chicken, perhaps a third of one breast, sliced and chopped into small pieces (it needs to cook quickly)

soy sauce

fish sauce

about a third of a chicken stock cube

a pinch of sugar

one egg

a couple of spring onions, sliced

coriander or chopped chives to garnish

cucumber slices and lime wedges to serve

fish sauce and red chilli for the nam pla prik

Heat your pan over a medium heat, add some oil and when hot sauté the onion and garlic for a minute until translucent.

Turn the heat up to medium high and add the chicken.  Keep turning it as it cooks so that it quickly all goes white. If juice is coming out of the chicken you may not have your pan or oil hot enough - it needs to seal quickly. Cook for a few minutes.

Then add the rice, again turning it quickly in the pan to separate the grains and get them all hot through. Add a few dashes of soy sauce and one of fish sauce, crumble in the piece of stock cube and sprinkle over the sugar. Keep turning the rice mixture the whole time and cook for a couple of minutes.

Push the rice mixture to one side and add a bit more oil. After a few seconds to allow it to heat up crack the egg into this space and let it cook a little (I count to 15), then mix in to combine the scrambling egg with the rice.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder kao pad / fried rice
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder kao pad / fried rice

Keep turning, then add the sliced spring onions and cook for another 30 seconds.

Turn it out into a bowl, or pack the rice into a small plastic dish, put a plate over the top, and turn over to get the lovely traditional rice serving shape. Scatter with chopped chives or coriander leaves if using and serve with cucumber slices and lime wedges for squeezing over.

Best served also with some nam pla prik - just a little fish sauce in a bowl with sliced chillies.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder kao pad / fried rice

Many people like to eat this with a fried egg on top - fry your egg in more and hotter oil than you would for an English breakfast egg so that the edges go crispy.

I had this a couple of days ago for lunch - a mushroom fried rice cooked without egg but with a teaspoon of nam prik pao (so no need of extra chillies that day) and a topped with a fried egg.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder kao pad / fried rice

However you make it, it's bound to be delicious ... let me know what you put in yours.