Fried rice is universally popular. All that it needs is a little zest, a little flavour boost, to make it a real treat. Shrimp paste is one of the many seasonings that supply the desired enhancement of taste. A flavoursome condiment, it is a purple-tinted, solid paste and a rich source of protein and calcium. Although it probably originated in south China, shrimp paste is widely used throughout Southeast Asia and is very much a Thai staple.
Cook the rice at least 2 hours ahead of time or the night before. Allow it to cool and put in the refrigerator.
Soak the dried shrimps in warm water for 15 minutes. Drain, coarsely chop and set aside.
Combine the eggs with sesame oil, salt and pepper. Heat a wok or large frying pan until it is hot. Add
Peel and seed the cucumber, finely slice it and set aside for the garnish.
Reheat the wok or large frying pan over high heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of groundnut oil, and when it is slightly smoking, add the garlic, onion and dried shrimp and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp paste and stir-fry for 2 minutes more. Add the rice and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add the chillies and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
Turn onto a platter, garnish with the egg, cucumber, lime wedges, spring onions and coriander, and serve.
© 2001 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.