When the husband’s away, the wife will play cook all the things the husband hates – muwahahaha!
Ahem! That is to say, Ben’s been traveling for work for the past couple of days, so I’ve taken the opportunity to make a few dishes that would normally would get an “oh…” after hearing what’s for dinner.
You know that oh. ; ) (I tease because I love.)
One night I dined on a lovely fruit and cheese plate including thinly sliced apples, treasured fancy cheddar from Whole Foods and crunchy onion crackers. To be fair, Ben adores fruit and cheese plates too, but he’d be looking under the couch cushions for a sauteed chicken breast three minutes after his last apple slice.
Last night I pulled out all the stops and made Thai Fried Rice for dinner. I didn’t realize until I sat down to eat that this dish is practically kissing cousins of the Thai Fried Quinoa I made the last time he was away. I guess I know what I like (and what he doesn’t!)
Thai Fried Rice is the result of combining a bunch of recipes I love, and ingredients I kept reaching for thinking, ooo that’d be good in here!, which came together to make one spectacular dish. The base is perhaps my favorite rice in the world, coconut rice , stir fried with quickly brined shrimp, sweet pineapple, crisp edamame, and a salty/sour mix of soy sauce and fresh lime juice. Translation: NOT FOR HIM.
For me though, it doesn’t get any better. I actually hesitated when adding the coconut rice to the wok because I love it so dearly, but I’m glad I did because it adds such a special and unique Thai twist to this standard stir fry.
One thing I must demand from you when (when!) you make this is that you let it cool off for up to 10 minutes before eating. Trust me, it makes all the difference in the world. When the stir fry is piping hot you can’t pick out the subtle, creamy coconut flavor, and the pineapple almost tastes sour. Warm though? I guarantee (why is that word so dang hard to spell?) you’ll be back for more.
Start the Thai Fried Rice by making a batch of Coconut Rice. That’s just 1 cup white rice that’s been added to 1 green onion, 1 garlic clove, and 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme sauteed in 1 Tablespoon coconut oil, then combined with 1 cup each water and lite coconut milk and cooked until tender.
Note: Coconut milk does NOT make the rice taste like a pina colada. The coconut flavor is extremely subtle and not sweet. It is so delicious! Make the rice then set aside to cool slightly, or even make a few days ahead of time.
Next get 1lb peeled & deveined shrimp into a brine consisting of 2 Tablespoons each salt and brown sugar, and 4 cups cold water. Whisk the ingredients together then add the shrimp and pop into the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes. Drain and then pat dry with a paper towel.
Brining the shrimp gives them a fantastically snappy texture and flavor from the inside out. I will 1,000% do this again. They tasted like Ohana or Benihana shrimp!
K, time to apply the heat! Say it with me - my number one tip when stir frying is to have everything laid out BEFORE you start cooking! I know, I sound like a broken record, but truly, stir frying goes so quickly that there’s no time to chop or measure in between steps.
Start by heating 2 teaspoons coconut oil (could use vegetable or canola oil) in a large, nonstick wok or skillet over high heat. Next add 2 chopped green onions and 1 Tablespoon minced ginger then stir fry for 30 seconds. Add the shrimp then stir fry until pink and cooked through, then add 2 minced garlic cloves and stir fry for another 10-20 seconds. Remove the mixture to a plate then set aside.
Heat 1 more teaspoon coconut oil in the wok then add 1 cup fresh chopped pineapple and 1/2 cup frozen edamame and then stir fry until the pineapple starts to caramelize. Push the produce up the sides of the wok then add 1 egg whisked with 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and stir to scramble.
Everybody into the pool!
Add the coconut rice and cooked shrimp mixture back into the wok, then add 2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce and the juice of 1/2 lime.
For the Coconut Rice: 1 Tablespoon coconut oil (or canola oil) 1 garlic clove, minced 1 green onion, chopped 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme 1 cup water 1 cup lite coconut milk 1 heaping cup long grain white rice 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the shrimp brine: 2 Tablespoons salt 2 Tablespoons brown sugar 4 cups cold water 1lb peeled & deveined shrimp
For the stir fry: 1 Tablespoon coconut oil, divided 1 Tablespoon minced ginger 2 minced garlic cloves 2 green onions, chopped 1/2 cup frozen edamame 1 cup fresh chopped pineapple 1 egg whisked with 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil 2 Tablespoons soy sauce 1/2 fresh lime
For the coconut rice: Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat then add garlic, green onion, and thyme, and then sauté for 2 minutes. Add water and coconut milk then stir and bring to a boil. Add rice and salt then place a lid on top, turn heat down to medium-low, and then simmer for 15-20 minutes or until all the liquid as been absorbed and rice is tender. Set aside to cool slightly (can be made a couple days ahead of time.)
For the shrimp brine: Combine salt, sugar, and water in a large bowl then stir to dissolve. Add shrimp then place in the fridge to brine for 20-30 minutes. Drain then pat shrimp dry before stir frying.
For the stir fry: Heat 2 teaspoons coconut oil in a large wok over high heat. Add green onion and ginger then stir fry for 30 seconds. Add shrimp then stir fry until pink and cooked through. Add garlic and stir fry for 10-20 more seconds then remove mixture to a plate.
Heat remaining teaspoon coconut oil in wok then add edamame and pineapple and stir fry until pineapple begins to caramelize. Push edamame and pineapple up the sides of the wok then add egg mixture into the center and scramble. Add rice and shrimp mixture to the wok then add soy sauce and juice of 1/2 a lime. Toss to combine. Let cool for 10 minutes then serve.
MONEY. This stir fry is so, so money! Don’t be scared by the length of the ingredient list either. Items like green onion and garlic are used twice, and the shrimp brine ingredients are pantry staples. The steps work well timing wise with each other, too. Cook the rice –> brine the shrimp —> stir fry the stir fry. : )