If you love Thai food (we mean really love Thai food), familiarize yourself with the cuisine of Hong Thaimee, chef at NYC hot spot Ngam and author of new release True Thai: Real Flavors for Every Table. The modern interpretations of her native cuisine have proven to be a hit with everyone from pad thai purists to the the most adventurous eaters out there. For example: Kale totally works in traditional preparations, like fried rice.
This recipe is Thai with a twist. It’s inspired by khao pad kana, or fried rice with Chinese broccoli. As a proud New Yorker now, I love to introduce local flavors and ingredients into traditional Thai dishes, and here kale from the Union Square Greenmarket steps in. We live in a global world but can eat like locals. Support local farms!
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup protein of your choice, such as chicken, pork or beef tenderloin, or tofu, cut into bite-size pieces (or whole peeled and deveined medium shrimp)
- 4 cups steamed and cooled jasmine or brown rice (leftover rice is great!)
- 1 cup chopped kale leaves
- 2 tablespoons mushroom sauce or soy sauce, to taste
- 2 teaspoons sugar, to taste
- freshly ground white or black pepper
- Garnishes: cilantro sprigs, scallions, sliced cucumber, lime wedges, fish sauce with chilies, extra-crispy fried egg (optional)
For the fried rice
Heat the oil in a wok or wide sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, being careful not to let it burn, about 2 minutes.
Crack the eggs into the wok and break the yolks in the pan with a wooden spatula. Add the tomatoes, onion, and protein of your choice. Cook, stirring, until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and kale and cook until the kale just wilts, about 3 minutes. Season with mushroom sauce, sugar, and white pepper to taste and toss to coat.
Serve with cilantro sprigs, scallions, sliced cucumber, lime wedges, and a side of fish sauce with chilies with or without a fried egg.
Note: Khao pad is a versatile basic preparation that
can be varied to whatever ingredients you have on hand or like to use. It’s so simple I was tossing it together for friends at ten years old using rice from dinner the night before, fresh eggs, Maggi sauce (a common Thai pantry staple), a little sugar, and sliced cucumbers for crunch. Follow the basic proportions of this recipe using leftovers or pantry staples and you can have khao pad anytime.