My Go To Five Minute Meal

It's the fact that Thais LOVE to eat. There are places all over Thailand you can get delicious food 24 hours a day. Street food? Restaurants? You name it. One can always find something to eat no matter what time it is. When we are eating lunch, we are talking about what to have for dinner. We would drive for hours to restaurants for their specialties.  My husband used to wonder why we did that.  Aren't there nearby restaurants to go to?  After decades of being married to a Thai, he now understands that for most Thai, food is not just a sustenance.  Food is love in Thailand.

When aquaintences meet on the street, they will greet each other by, "Have you eaten?"  When you visit at someone's house, you will be served with something to eat, beverages, fruits, snacks, etc., whatever they have on hand. When my mother visited me in Seattle, she insisted that I give the repairman something to drink, to eat :). if it's mealtime, the hosts will insist that you have a meal with them.  Considering the way Thai people eat, it is quite easy to stretch one's meal to accommodate more people if need be. Each person will have a plate of rice.  Main dishes, may be four to five entrees or more, normally dishes with different flavor and texture profile, will be in the middle of the dining table for everyone to share. Each diner will take a spoonful of one dish to eat with rice and then make decision what entree he or she will eat next.  If the first bite is too spicy, then the next bite will be something milder to relieve his or her palate. Understandably, the American way of eating where people serve themselves everything first before eating is not customary in Thailand and can be viewed negatively by Thais! Think about that when you go to Thailand next time.

One of the beloved dish in Thailand is Khai Jiew, pan fried egg omelette.  My son, who spent a year in Thailand was amazed to see how popular this dish was.  It's economical, easy to make and so satisfying.  Every household in Thailand will definitely have eggs so one extra dish can easily be made in order to accommodate more guests. One can make it plain or with some ground pork or can fancy it up with crab meat.  The dish is normally served with fish sauce with chili peppers (nam pla prik), and Sri Racha sauce.  The dish takes only few minutes to prepare. In fact, if I need a quick fix for Thai food and I have rice in the fridge.  I tend to make this 90% of the time.

To make "khai jiew", one needs eggs, fish sauce, oil, and high heat.  Some people prefer to squeeze in some lime juice (about 1/4 tsp. for 2 large eggs), not to make it sour but to make it light and fluffy.  Crack two eggs in a medium bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon or so of water (to make the egg softer), 1/2-3/4 teaspoon of best quality fish sauce (I use Red Boat), then beat the mixture together well with a fork 10-15 tines until frothy.  In an 8 inch non-stick pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil at medium high heat until it shimmers, pour in the egg mixture all at once.  I prefer to use oil that can take high heat, i.e. coconut oil, or grass fed ghee. The egg will puff up immediately. Leave it for 15-20 seconds until the bottom crust forms, then lift the edges to let the uncooked eggs flow to the bottom.  Cook it for another minute until the bottom is golden and the top of the mixture is somewhat set, before flipping to cook the other side.  Cook another 30-40 seconds. The egg should be golden brown with crispy edges. If the oil is not hot enough, your khai jiew will be oily and flat, not good eats!  Serve it immediately with extra fish sauce with chili peppers and the indispensable Sri Racha sauce. This dish is particularly good for people on a budget or college students. It's quick, nutritious, and satisfying! 

Now, do I have some rice in the fridge?

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