Dating from the early 1900s, this tempting fried rice dish highlights how the Siamese aristocracy savored their golden rice, perfumed with an alluring blend of imported spices. The dish can be enjoyed on its own or as part of a larger meal featuring curries and soups. One popular dish, khaao boo ree (ข้าวบุหรี่อย่างแขก), was cooked in the Muslim tradition with saffron and milk, and topped with threads of pulled chicken breast, mint and crispy fried shallots.
In this fried rice recipe, the fluffy and fragrant rice is fried in ghee, attaining its golden sheen and warmth from a sumptuously earthy paste infused with the enticing aromas of faraway lands. The paste is made by pounding chestnuts with dry spices and aromatics such as ginger, garlic and shallots.
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I like to add chopped chestnuts to the dish for their slight crunchiness and nutty, velvety flesh, which contrasts beautifully with the luscious fried rice grains. The dish is simply seasoned with sea salt and accompanied by finely diced fresh tomatoes and hand-picked mint leaves, each contributing a refreshing burst of lightness to the rich, caramelized rice grains.
The tiny cubes of vibrant red tomatoes, sparkling like precious gems in the sunlight, are infused with the juicy sweetness and cooling tanginess imparted from the warmth of the sun as the fruit ripened in the fields. The green mint leaves add a refreshing and rejuvenating touch, cutting through the opulence of the buttery fried rice. It’s worth noting that mint leaves are renowned for their natural digestive properties, providing a refreshing and soothing sensation after this delectable meal.
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- 3 cups cooked rice (ข้าวสวย)
- 1 tablespoon clarified butter (ghee) (เนยกี) or coconut cream (หัวกะทิ)
- 1 cup Thai chestnuts (ลูกเกาลัด) grilled, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup large tomatoes (มะเขือเทศ) deseeded and diced
For the paste:
- 1 tablespoon ginger (ขิง)
- 1 tablespoon Thai garlic (กระเทียมไทย)
- 1 tablespoon shallots (หอมแดง)
- 1/2 cup Thai chestnuts (ลูกเกาลัด)
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds (malet phak chee) (เมล็ดผักชี) (S2) roasted and ground
- 1/2 teaspoon Siam Cardamom pods (luuk grawaan) (ลูกกระวาน) (S4) roasted and ground
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg seed (ลูกจันทน์เทศ) (S5) roasted and ground
- 1/2 teaspoon clove (กานพลู) (S7) roasted and ground
- 2 teaspoons turmeric powder (ผงขมิ้น)
- sea salt (เกลือทะเล)
- large tomatoes (มะเขือเทศ) sliced or diced
- mint leaves (ใบสะระแหน่)
- chicken breast (อกไก่) cooked and pulled into thin threads
Prepare the paste:
- Roast the coriander seeds, Siam cardamom pods, cloves and nutmeg seed in a dry pan over medium heat until fragrant. Remove from heat and allow them to cool.
- Peel and chop the garlic, shallots and ginger.
- Pound the roasted coriander seeds, Siam cardamom pods, cloves and nutmeg seed in a mortar and pestle until they are finely ground.
- Add the Thai chestnuts (ลูกเกาลัด), chopped garlic, shallots and ginger to the mortar and pestle; continue pounding until everything is well combined.
- The paste is now ready to be used in the fried rice recipe.
Cook the rice:
- To cook the rice, simply use a rice cooker and cook normally according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once done, fluff the rice with a fork and set aside.
Prepare the chicken:
- Cook the chicken breast in boiling water.
- Once cooked, remove the chicken and pull the meat into threads while the chicken is still warm. Set aside.
Fry the rice:
- In a wok, melt one tablespoon of ghee over medium-high heat.
- Add the chestnut-aromatics paste to the ghee and stir-fry until fragrant.
- Add the cooked rice to the wok and stir-fry for 3-5 minutes, making sure all the grains are coated with the paste and evenly fried.
- Add a handful of chopped grilled chestnuts to the wok and continue stir-frying until the chestnuts are lightly toasted and the rice is golden and fragrant.
- Add the fresh diced tomatoes.
- Season with sea salt to taste and mix well.
Rice Seasoned with Young Tamarind Relish, Sweetened Fish and Pickled Morning Glory (ข้าวคลุกน้ำพริกมะขามอ่อน ผักบุ้งดอง ปลาแห้งผัดหวาน และ ปลาดุกย่าง; Khaao Khlook Naam Phrik Makhaam Aawn Phakboong Daawng Bplaa Haaeng Phat Waan Lae Bplaa Dook Yaang)
Seasoned rice dishes have been a staple of rice-consuming societies almost since the first grains were cultivated. Adapted according to local resources, traditions and individual preferences, seasoned rice dishes are relished and savored across all walks of life. Within Siamese society, these dishes offer insight into the flavor instincts and eating habits across all demographics, revealing which food items were locally available and valued.
In this delicious seasoned rice recipe from the kitchens of the daughter of King Chulalongkorn, Princess Yaovabha Bongsanid (พระเจ้าบรมวงศ์เธอ พระองค์เจ้าเยาวภาพงศ์สนิท) (1884-1934), the Princess uses a variety of common preserved and inexpensive ingredients, clearly drawing inspiration from the cuisine of the Central Plains with nods to the rural and coastal living atmosphere.
This article explores two methods of preparing Mee Fried Rice – the traditional Khao Mee Fried Rice and the lighter, seasoned rice alternative known as khaao mee yaang khlook. Discover the flavor chemistry at play and choose your preferred method for a delicious meal.
Khanohm Jeen Naam Ngiaao – Shan-Style Tomato Broth over Fermented Rice Noodles with Pork, Chicken Feet and Chicken Blood Cakes (ขนมจีนน้ำเงี้ยว)
A popular noodle dish originating from the Northern region of the Kingdom, khanohm jeen naam ngiaao (ขนมจีนน้ำเงี้ยว) is characterized by its light – yet profound – multi-layered broth. This hearty broth includes an assortment of proteins braised with the dried pollens of cotton tree flowers, and Northern Thai sour cherry tomatoes (มะเขือส้ม); the tomatoes infuse the broth with a subtle tartness that refreshes a full-bodied profile comprising a multitude of fermented ingredients.
The naam ngiaao broth is served over fermented rice noodles and features minced pork, and braised baby back pork ribs with their tender meat clinging to the bone. As well, there are succulent, slow-cooked whole chicken feet, and cubes of slightly bouncy, mauve-hued chicken blood cakes. Served alongside the soup are various toppings, which can include shredded cabbage, bean sprouts, chopped coriander leaves, and spring onions, while dark red chili oil and glossy, charred-fried dried bird’s eye chilies offer a fiery intensity dialed up to your preferred spiciness. In addition, I like to add wok-smoked sour cherry tomatoes and broom-like, crispy-fried dried cotton tree pollen for a surprising textural contrast.
Though the dish is often described as “Shan style”, the word ‘ngiao’ was a derogatory expression for the Shan people. As the disparaging – and outdated – label suggests, the recipe might reflect societal biases and prejudices; thus, at least from the culinary perspective, the ‘ngiao’ in the name of the dish may simply be a nod to the flavors or ingredients favored by The Shan, rather than a claim of authenticity – which could also explain why the dish is based on a Siamese curry paste.
Roasted Stuffed Duck Breast with Chestnuts and Mackerel (เป็ดยัดไส้เกาลัดรมควัน; bpet yat sai gaolat rohm khwan), circa 1935
Smoked duck stuffed with a mackerel and chestnut filling is a dish that defies cultural boundaries. An exemplar of blended culinary influences, featuring inviting colors and an elegant presentation that serve as a prelude to the complex flavors and textures that await, the dish is an eloquent testament to the cooking style of Mrs. Samaknantapol (Jeep Bunnag, who went by the pen name “the granddaughter of Maae Khruaa Huaa Bpaa”). In the 1930s. Mrs. Jeep Bunnag published her first cookbook. Following in the footsteps of her revered grandmother-in-law, Lady Plean Passakornrawong, she continued to document the art of Siamese cuisine through the treasured books she published and was known for her ability to merge culinary traditions into beautiful and innovative dishes that represent an era.
The rich, dark color of the smoked duck’s skin is visually striking and appetizing, evoking a sense of indulgence and luxury. The smoky flavors that permeate the meat reflect our deep connection to primal cooking techniques, a fascinating juxtaposition to the refined presentation of the dish. When the smoked duck is sliced, its succulent pink meat is revealed, surrounding the golden filling of chestnuts and mackerel.
Sour-Sweet Savory Crispy Rice Vermicelli with Bitter Orange (Mee Krob) (หมี่กรอบส้มซ่าทรงเครื่อง ; Mee Graawp)
mee graawp sohng khreuuang (หมี่กรอบทรงเครื่อง), is an exquisitely regal dish of crispy rice vermicelli. The delicate noodles strands are washed and dried, then fried to a crisp light-golden hue. They retain their brittle crunch and airy texture even after being stir-fried with a clinging sticky sauce that encases the noodles in a thin layer of sheen. This sauce, mixed into the noodles together with other ingredients such as thin slices of pickled garlic and bitter orange peel, impart the dish with a light, fresh sweet and sour, and slightly salty and citrusy glaze.