Cookbook authors Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid prefer this dish be made with fragrant Thai rice, but it is wonderfully flavorful when made with plain old leftover Chinese takeout rice, too. If desired, add chicken, pork or shrimp along with, or instead of, the mushrooms. You can use a nonstick skillet instead of a wok for this, but it won't go as quickly or as easily, and the timing might need to be adjusted.
This is best served with a condiment made from fish sauce with Thai chili peppers (nam pla prik; see NOTE), cucumber slices and a squeeze of lime, all of which cut through the richness of the egg yolk.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or peanut oil
- 8 medium cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup oyster mushrooms, cleaned (may substitute other mushrooms of your choice)
- 1 cup cold cooked white rice
- 2 scallions, white and green parts, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
- 1 medium tomato, cored and coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce, plus more to taste
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
- 1/2 small cucumber, cut into thin slices (about 1/4 cup)
- 1/2 medium lime, cut into wedges
Heat a large flat-bottomed wok over high heat until a drop of water vaporizes within a second or two.
Swirl in the oil to coat the sides and bottom, then add the garlic and stir-fry for about 20 seconds, until the garlic is just golden. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for about 1 to 2 minutes, until they have softened.
Add the rice, breaking it up with your fingers as you toss it into the wok. Use a heatproof spatula to keep the rice moving for 2 to 3 minutes, scooping and tossing and pressing the rice against the bottom and sides of the wok to sear it. Add the scallions, tomato, fish sauce and soy sauce; stir-fry for 30 seconds or until the tomatoes break up and the scallions slightly soften. Transfer the mixture to a dinner plate.
Wipe out the wok and return it to the heat. Break the egg into a small bowl, then gently add to the wok. Add the water, then cover and cook, undisturbed, for 1 or 2 minutes, or until the yolk lightly films over but is still soft. Carefully lift out the egg and place it atop the rice.
Garnish with the cilantro, overlapping cucumber slices and wedges of lime.
Serve with a mixture of fish sauce and Thai/bird chili peppers; sprinkle it on the rice to taste, along with squeezes of the lime juice, plus fish sauce and soy sauce to taste, as you eat the rice.
NOTE: To make nam pla prik, don food-safe gloves and stem about 1/2 cup of Thai/bird chili peppers, then mince. (Alternatively, place the peppers in a food processor and pulse a few times, being careful not to puree them.) Transfer the peppers, including seeds, to a glass container with a tight-fitting lid; add 1 cup of fish sauce. Close tightly and refrigerate indefinitely. (The longer the mixture keeps, the more both ingredients will mellow.) Serve in small condiment bowls.
Adapted from their "Seductions of Rice" (Artisan, 1998).
Tested by Joe Yonan.
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