Tom Yum lovers will be excited to learn you can enjoy the popular soup in a variety of ways. One of our favorite renditions is in the form of fried rice. This is similar to what you would order at a street food stall with a wok station. If you can find fragrant herbs to add, this recipe will be a great way to spice up your usual homemade fried rice!
Aromatics & Cooking Method
If you’re new to tom yum, the flavors come from a combination of aromatic herbs popular in Thai cooking. Those herbs are lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaf. If you’ve ever had them in a Thai restaurant you may remember them because they’re the bits in the soup you can’t eat comfortably. Although all of them are edible, each is so coarse they would be really tough to chew.
To make the fried rice version, you’ll need to find your local asian grocer and prep the ingredients. Unlike the soup where the herbs will boil together, this recipe requires the elbow grease to pound them in a mortar and pestle. This is a big job, and is best done in a traditional stone mortar and pestle, so that each of the ingredients is properly smashed.
Can you put the items in a food processor or blender? Sure you can. However, often when we’re using the mortar and pestle, blending is not the most important function for using this traditional kitchen equipment. What we really desire are the essential oils from the ingredients that will make a paste that will remind your eyes, nose, and mouth of your favorite tom yum soup!
Finally, we should add some details about the moisture content of the fried rice. If you’re not cooking over high heat, or using leftover rice that is drier than rice freshly steamed, you may find the final product too soggy. If you know you prefer the drier, more crusty fried rice— be prepared with a heavy duty wok or pan to use. That way you can stir fry you rice longer, and scrape the stuck rice at the center of the wok to free the toastiest bits before they burn (not the best use of your non stick pan). Don’t be surprised to find cooks who love their fried rice this style, even throwing the wok or skillet of fried rice into the oven for a crispy finish.
Tom Yum Fried Rice
Equipment: mortar and pestle (preferably stone), wok
- 1 cup of rice
- 70-100g of protein (we used tofu)
- 1 tbsp of oil
- 30g mushroom
- 30g tomato (plum or less watery tomatoes work better)
- 20g onion
- 2 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 tbsp of soy sauce
- 2 tbsp of sweet chili jam (nam prik pow)
- Optional: Lime to squeeze on top and spring onion for garnish
Tom Yum Paste Ingredients:
- 1 tbsp of minced galangal
- 1 tbsp of thin sliced lemongrass
- 2 chili (optional)
- Prep all your ingredients. In mortar and pestle, pound lemongrass, galangal and chili together. Set aside.
- Chop your proteins bite sized or smaller.
- In a wok over medium heat, add a tbsp of cooking oil.
- Add your proteins (If using tender meats like shrimp, you can set aside after cooking) and stir until mostly cooked.
- Then add your paste and allow to become aromatic. Followed closely by your onions.
- When your proteins are cooked and other ingredients smell nice, add your mushrooms and tomato.
- Now you’re ready to add your rice. Mix with everything and add soy sauce and chili paste.
- Stir fry until ingredients are well incorporated, or you have achieved the desired texture (give it an extra few minutes if you prefer a dry fried rice).
- Plate and garnish, reminding your guests to squeeze their lime wedge over the top before enjoying.
We hope you enjoy this combination of two of our favorite things, tom yum and fried rice! Remember you can support our project and the creation of more recipes by making a donation or booking an online or in person cooking class.
PS – Don’t forget to tag #courageouskitchen on instagram to show us the results of your cooking too!