I’ve made a decent amount of fried rice in my life. On this blog alone, I’ve posted it three times — once made with farro, once with potato chips and again with pork and pineapple. And each time it’s delicious, but I’ve always felt like the seasoning wasn’t quite right. Often it would taste a bit flat and so I’d tinker with it — adding more and more things and then it would have too much soy or sesame or lime and yet somehow it would still lack “oomph.”
That all changed when I cooked my second recipe from the Pok Pok cookbook — Khao Phat Muu (fried rice with pork). Next to the fried egg salad, this is probably one of the easiest recipes in the book which brought it to the top of my “must make” list. More encouragement came from a girl at work who kept telling me it was the best fried rice she had ever eaten.
And once I took a bite, I totally agreed. It was spot-on fried rice perfection and the best part was the amount of ingredients and fiddling is kept to a minimum. Simplicity is key — as is the great unbeatable umami flavor.
While I still think you should buy the book, I’ll give you a rundown on the basics of the recipe.
Start with day old cooked Jasmine rice, some porky bits (I actually used some slab bacon cut into small pieces), shallots, garlic and an egg. You’ll need some cilantro and green onions as garnish. The main seasoning agents are Thai fish sauce and Thai soy sauce, which is often referred to as thin soy sauce — it’s lighter in color and consistency than its Japanese brethren.
Start with the egg, and fry it over high heat much like I did in the fried egg salad. Once it’s crispy, move it to the far side of the wok. I was using a large sauté pan so I actually just removed the egg so that it didn’t overcook.
Next add your garlic and shallots, sauteeing them until fragrant, and then the pork. Depending on what kind of pork (or meat in general) you use, the cooking time will vary. The original recipe calls for boneless pork shoulder, sliced thinly, but Ricker says any protein will work — in fact he often makes this with crab meat which sounds pretty awesome. Since I used bacon, which is already cured, my cooking time was pretty short.
Next add the rice, breaking up the pieces, and then get the egg back into the mix.
Add your “dressing” of fish sauce, thin soy sauce and a bit of sugar and continue cooking until pork is done. Off the heat add in some sliced green onions.
Marvel at the goodness you’ve created!
Once it’s plated up, top with torn cilantro leaves and more sliced green onions.
Then dig in!