Thai-style Chinese New Year

I’m a loser. I make resolutions. I break them. I make promises. I don’t keep them. I said I would post a gazillion entries so I could be up to date by last Friday. I did not do it. You should pull a Lisa Novak on me right now!! (Please check out that clip. It’s hilarious!!)

But aside from the whining, I just want to say Happy Chinese New Year to everyone! A, P and I had planned to wake up early this morning to make traditional Chinese breakfast (ish): chicken congee and tang yuan (sweet dumplings). But in true loser’s spirit, I slept past the agreed rendezvous time and therefore didn’t have enough time to soak and slowcook the rice – oh well. So instead of jook, I decided to make rice porridge, not the Chinese style xi fan though (would have made the xi fan but didn’t have enough ingredients for the side dishes). The chicken rice porridge I made was more like the Thai style khao tom. If it’s chicken porridge, you call it khao tom gai. If it’s shrimp, then call it khao tom goong. You get the idea. Khao tom in Thai literally means boiled rice. If you have to rank them in descending order of mushiness then it goes jook << xi fan << khao tom, or at least from my own experience with mushy, watery rice (I think risotto would go somewhere in between xi fan and khao tom).

xifan1.jpg

Khao Tom Gai (Thai style chicken rice porridge)

Khao tom gai might seem a little malapropos for the occasion, but if you think about it (by that I guess I mean if you know that I’m part Thai part Chinese, which you probably do if you’re reading this blog =p ), it’s actually quite befitting that I was celebrating Chinese new year with Thai style breakfast. The khao tom gai I reconstructed of course wasn’t all that authentic. Traditionally, you would use jasmine rice, the national grain of Thailand which is well-known for its subtle fragrance and nutty flavor. Its texture is also a little harder than that of the grain varieties normally used in Chinese/ Japanese/ Korean cuisine if you cook them for the same length of time. My broth is a mix of chicken broth, water and dashi. *gasp* My Thai grandmother would not approve of that at all, lol – only homemade stock made from chicken carcasses!!! (that’s what she would say). And then, which faux pas are we up to now? And then, I marinaded my chicken with a combination of soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, mirin, and white pepper. In true Thai tradition, you would garnish your khao tom with egg omelette confetti, crispy fried garlic, and scallion. I followed that one! (although my egg ribbons were far from paper-thin, but I’ll try again next time.)

Components for khao tom gai:

1. steamed rice
2. bite-size chicken pieces seasoned to your liking
3. chicken soup
4. paper-thin egg omelette cut into dainty ribbons
5. chopped scallion
6. crispy fried garlic (minced garlic+vegetable oil. microwave for 3-4 min.)
7. white pepper (the peppery taste is very very essential to the whole assembly of flavors.)

Layer your khao tom gai components in that order and you get this:

xifan2.jpg

If you ever have a hankering for a soothing yet nourishing breakfast, ok you know what I’m going to say =p

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1 Response to “Thai-style Chinese New Year”


  1. 1 P February 19, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    Truly fantastic stuff. I dont normally enjoy semi-mushy rice, but this Thai concoction was flavorful and satisfying. Please don’t Lisa Nowak me…but bibimbap is MINE now!


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