One way to enjoy your Thai relishes is to use them as a seasoning ingredient, and this simple one-plate meal demonstrates just how versatile relishes are.
Even though roasted chile relish is somewhat intense, we think a tablespoon or two per two cups of rice is what it takes to create a flavorful dish. However, feel free to use the amount that suits your taste. We top this simple fried rice with a crispy fried egg, Thai style.
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 to 2 tablespoons roasted chile relish (recipe below)
- 1 teaspoon palm sugar or light brown sugar
- 2 cups cooked long grain white rice
- Cucumber slices
- Tomato slices
- Green onions, trimmed
- Cilantro leaves
Put the oil in a wok with deeply sloped sides and set it on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, crack an egg into it. Fry the egg without flipping until its bottom is crispy and golden brown. Transfer the fried egg to a plate. Repeat with the remaining egg.
Once the second egg has been fried, remove the oil from the wok, leaving only 2 tablespoons. While the wok is hot, add the garlic and fry until fragrant and light brown. Add the relish and the sugar and just enough water to dilute the paste into a thick sauce. Add the rice and stir-fry until the grains are entirely coated with the relish. Divide the fried rice between two serving plates. Top the fried rice on each plate with a fried egg. Place some cucumber and tomato slices on the side as well as the green onions (eat these along with fried rice). Garnish with the cilantro. Serve immediately.
Roasted Chile Relish (Nam Phrik Ta Daeng)
[Recipe courtesy of Torroong Jarungidanan]
- 2 ounces dried red Thai long chiles or guajillo chiles
- 1 ounce dried red bird’s eye chile or árbol chile
- 3 ounces shallots, peeled and halved
- 3 heads garlic, peeled
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon tightly packed shrimp paste
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon dried shrimp
- 1/3 cup tightly packed seedless tamarind block
- 2 teaspoons palm sugar
- Fish sauce, to taste
Toast both types of chiles in a dry wok or skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and brittle; set aside. Thread the shallots and garlic onto a bamboo (or metal) skewer and roast over an open flame on the stove burner until softened and slightly charred. Wrap the shrimp paste with a piece of banana leaf or foil and roast on the burner until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Transfer the chiles, shallots, and garlic to a mortar. Add the dried shrimp and pound into a smooth paste. Add the tamarind and pound until well blended. Transfer the paste to a well-seasoned wok or nonstick pan. Add the sugar and 1 tablespoon of fish sauce and cook the paste over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until all of the moisture has evaporated and the mixture has the consistency of mayonnaise. Taste for seasoning and stir in more fish sauce as necessary. Take the wok off the heat and leave the paste to cool (it will thicken as it cools and become the consistency of thick tomato paste). Serve with rice and vegetables.
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