Shrimp paste fried rice (Khao kluk kapi)
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Shrimp paste fried rice (Khao kluk kapi)


Susan says

This looks like a long list of ingredients, but with many of them, it’s just a matter of slicing or shredding. Start braising the pork belly first, and while that’s simmering, prepare the other ingredients.

The Thai version of lap cheong (wind-dried sausage) is larger (in diameter) and a little sweeter and softer than the Chinese one. For the dried shrimp, buy the tiniest ones you can find – ideally about 5mm (¼ in) long. If they are much larger, soak them in cool water for about 30 minutes, then drain and pat dry with paper towels before frying them in a little oil as instructed in the recipe.

You can use whatever type of fermented shrimp paste you have on hand. The more liquid type that is sold in jars is easier to use: there’s no need to dilute it with water. If you use the sun-dried shrimp paste that comes in small blocks, you’ll need to crush it first, then mix it with water. When cooking the rice with shrimp paste, be sure to turn on the ventilation fan over your oven – the smell is pungent.

To eat the khao kluk kapi, put some rice in your spoon, then mix and match the other ingredients as you like, so each mouthful tastes different. I consider the sliced shallots and a tiny piece of chilli to be essential to each bite - without them, the khao kluk kapi tastes a little bland - but your mileage may vary.

For the braised pork
400g (14oz)
pork belly (skin on or off, as you prefer)
thin slices of peeled ginger
garlic cloves, peeled
25ml (5tsp)
dark soy sauce
15ml (1tbsp)
rice wine
10g (2tsp)
granulated sugar
fine sea salt
finely ground white pepper
For the rice
600g (21oz) cooked long-grain rice, chilled
cooked long-grain rice, chilled
45-60g (1½-2oz)
sun-dried shrimp paste, or 60-90g (2-3oz) wet shrimp paste
granulated sugar
10ml (2tsp)
cooking oil
For the shrimp
20g (¾oz)
small dried shrimp
20ml (4tsp)
cooking oil
granulated sugar
fine sea salt
Other ingredients
eggs, at room temperature
cooking oil, as necessary
Thai wind-dried sausage
green mango
small Asian cucumbers
long beans (also called snake beans)
shallots, peeled
red bird’s-eye chillies

Cut the pork belly into small strips and put them in a medium-size pan. Add the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, salt, pepper and 400ml (1 ⅔ cup) of water and stir well.


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Place the pan over a medium flame and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, partially cover the pan with the lid and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the pork is tender, stirring occasionally. Simmer uncovered until the sauce lightly coats the meat, then turn off the flame.


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While the pork is cooking, prepare the other ingredients. Fry the shrimp. Heat the oil in a wok placed over a low flame. When the oil is hot, add the shrimp and sprinkle with the sugar and salt. Stir-fry constantly until the shrimp are toasted and fragrant – do not let them get too dark. Immediately transfer the shrimp to a bowl or plate, then clean the wok.


Whisk the eggs. Place the wok over a medium flame, then rub it lightly but evenly with oil. When the wok is hot, pour in one-third of the egg. Swirl the wok so the egg is in a thin layer, then cook until set – the surface will be matt instead of shiny. Lift or slide the egg crepe out of the wok and place it on a cutting board. Cook the rest of the egg the same way, making two more crepes, and stacking them as they are finished.


Roll the stacked crepes, then slice them into strips about 5mm ((¼ in) wide. Unroll the strips.


Slice the wind-dried sausage on the diagonal into pieces about 5mm (¼ in) thick. Heat the wok (no need to wash it) over a medium flame. Pan-fry the sausage until lightly browned on each cut side, then transfer to a bowl or plate.


Peel the green mango, then julienne the flesh (I use a handheld shredder). You will probably need only half to three-quarters of the mango.


Slice the cucumber on the diagonal into pieces about 3mm (⅛) thick, then cut the long beans into 5mm (¼ in) pieces.


Halve the shallots, then thinly slice them. Cut the bird’s-eye chillies into thin rings, shaking out and discarding the seeds as you go.


If using sun-dried shrimp paste, crumble it into a small bowl and add just enough water to moisten it. Crush the shrimp paste with the back of a spoon, then stir in more water to form a smooth, loose paste.


Place a clean wok over a medium fame and add 10ml (2 tsp) of oil. When the oil is hot, add the shrimp paste (either the diluted sun-dried shrimp paste or the wet shrimp paste out of a jar) and stir-fry for about 10 seconds.


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Add the rice. Use the wok spatula to break up the rice into individual grains while stir-frying it so the rice is evenly coated with the shrimp paste.


Sprinkle with the sugar, then constantly stir-fry the rice until hot. Taste it and add a little more sugar, if necessary.


Quickly reheat the pork mixture, if necessary.


Divide the rice into four portions. Put one portion in a rice bowl and press to compact it slightly. Invert the rice bowl onto the middle of a dinner plate. Remove the bowl, leaving the mound of rice on the plate. Repeat with the other three portions of rice.


Arrange the ingredients around the rice, dividing them between the four plates. Put the shallots and chillies side by side, then arrange the other ingredients so the colourful ones (egg, mango, cucumber, long beans) are by the brown/dark ones (shrimp, wind-dried sausage, braised pork).


Put a few dried shrimp and sliced chilli pieces on top of the rice, then serve.


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