Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Reminiscing and Reproducing Thai Crab Fried Rice

A few years ago, when I worked at a small marketing communications firm in Old Pasadena, I became a regular at a local Thai restaurant. A colleague and I never grew tired of sharing the lunch special four times a week at our desks. The owner Sue, aware of our frugal ways, would always slip in an extra order of brown rice.

When I worked late, I would often slide solo into my favorite seat by the window, listen to the sounds of the water wall and order Thai crab fried rice and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Sue would always top off my glass with whatever was left in the bottle.

Alas, Sue eventually sold the restaurant to a clueless entrepreneur who replaced the wall of water with a giant flat screen TV. Not a good sign. When he changed the menu, the crab fried rice was one of the the first casualties.

I've ordered crab fried rice in other Thai restaurants, but it never measures up. Maybe it was Sue's nurturing or the soothing sounds of the water or that extra touch of white wine that made that dish so special.

I was about to give up until I found this recipe on Wives with Knives. I made it for lunch today, and it was nearly as good as the version that Sue's mom used to cook up for me at Nana.

Thai Crab Fried Rice
  • 3 to 4 cups rice, cooked the day before and refrigerated overnight (I used Japanese brown rice because it's more nutritious than white, but I think basmati rice makes the best fried rice.)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup raw carrot, grated (I used frozen, but I like the idea of fresh.)
  • 1/2 cup peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup green onion, sliced in 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 ounces or more Dungeness crabmeat (I used lump crab meat from Whole Foods.)
  • salt to taste (I found that, with the salty soy and fish sauce, salt wasn't necessary.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • cilantro (Original recipe called for parsley, but I prefer cilantro with Thai food.)

Mix together the fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.

Add 1/4 cup vegetable oil to a large wok or fry pan and heat until it just begins to smoke. Add peas, carrots, green onions and ginger and cook for about one minute, stirring so it doesn't burn. Add rice and lightly mix, then add liquid mixture and blend well. Fry for 4-5 minutes, watching that the rice doesn't burn.

Make a well in the middle of the rice and pour in the beaten eggs. Wait for about 30 seconds and then cover the eggs with rice. Leave for another 30 seconds and then continue to stir fry until the eggs are cooked and are mixed well with the rice.

Remove from heat and gently stir in the crab meat, garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley and serve with lime wedges.

The only thing that could have made it better is a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.


Desiree said...

Fabulosity! Can't wait to try it--

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Does Whole Paycheck have real crab? Is it fresh or canned?

Susan C said...

Des, Let me know if you try it.

Chrissy, I was hoping Whole Foods had shelled fresh crab, but only had it in-shell, so I went with the "fresh" can (in the refrigerator section as opposed to the shelf). I don't care for TJ's crab, but love the quality of Costco's. I buy that when I'm making crab cakes or something that calls for more than 4 oz. of meat.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

I agree w/u on TJ's crab.. yuck....btw the variety of grapes in the large plastic at tj's are the worst... stay away from them.. i returned a package.. the dude had the nerve to ask me if i wanted another try... told him no way..

Rice Palette said...

Susan, this looks very delicious! I like the name of your blog! First time visitor, definitely want to follow you (do you use Twitter?).

Love fried rice!!

Stephanie said...

this looks delicious!

I'm gonna have to do this soon!

Anonymous said...

the problem with fresh crab meat (usually Bristol Farms, and lord, it's expensive), is that it never makes it out of the car.

susiegb said...

I've never really been a big fan of crab, but this recipe sounds delicious! I think I'll have to break the habits of a lifetime and try it! I'd love a link to somewhere that converts 'cups' to metric though!


Bec said...

I'm in . . . it sounds awesome!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Sue's place sounds great. Do you keep in touch?
Well, today I must com up with a little something for a certain pot luck. Carver Carmels or a salad?

Margaret said...

Sounds yummy.

Petrea Burchard said...

Your story reminds me of my first taste of mee krob (mi krop), in a little place on Melrose. I have never found mee krob to equal it--always too sweet. And that restaurant's no longer there.

Nelle said...

I absoulutely have to try this. Love Costco crab meat. I know frozen crab cakes are second rate but if your Costco has Phillips brand they are not bad. They are made by a Maryland seafood restaurant I went to. My mouth is watering now. Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

The recipe sounds great and I love the blog title "Wives with Knives."

Cathy said...

Thank you for sharing one of my best Dungeness crab recipes. This is always a favorite when I serve it to friends and family.

You have a terrific blog and I'm now off to do some exploring. Thanks again for the shout out.

Jean Spitzer said...

I want some of this; will have to try making it.

Jean Spitzer said...

Made it (added some Thai basil); delicious. Thank you.

Along These Lines ... said...

I've been looking for a good Thai fried rice recipe. Excellent!