This picture really doesn't do this rice justice. The herbs make it so fragrant and the shrimp paste gives it so much flavor. You'll just have to try it for yourself to see.
Since I’m in a bit of a mood, I’m going to make those purists really nuts with this recipe for SE Asian rice pilaf. It’s not really a classic Thai dish, but has classic Thai flavors. I could have called it fried rice, but when I think of fried rice, I think one-wok meal, complete with protein and vegetables. This is more of a side dish— a pilaf to accompany grilled fish or chicken. It’s also good for breakfast served with a fried egg on top and a couple squirts of fish sauce. And yes, I’m completely serious about the breakfast thing. So there you go, something that’s not authentic but totally delicious anyways.
SE Asian Rice Pilaf
- 1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, finely sliced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 3 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
- 1 to 2 tbs shrimp paste in soy bean oil
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- ½ tsp brown sugar
- 24 oz cooked, cold rice (about 5 cups)
- fish sauce, to taste
In a mortar, combine the lemongrass, garlic and kaffir lime leaves and pound until you get a uniform paste. Put some elbow grease into it, otherwise the lemongrass won't break down enough and it'll be unpleasant to chew and swallow. Transfer the paste to a bowl and mix in the shrimp paste.
Heat a wok on medium-high heat. Add about 2 tbs oil for stir-frying. When hot, but not smoking, add the seasoning paste and the shallots. Stir-fry for about 30 seconds to release the flavor of the herbs. Be careful not to let the paste burn. Add the brown sugar and incorporate. Add the rice and stir-fry until well coated with the seasoning paste and heated through. Add fish sauce to taste. Serve as a side dish with simple grilled fish or chicken.