Clay's Kitchen : Tam Ra Ahan Thai (Thai Recipes) ตำราอาหารไทย

Tam Ra Ahan Thai (Thai Recipes) ตำราอาหารไทย

© Copyright 1995-2020, Clay Irving <>, Manhattan Beach, CA USA

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Khao Tom Kung (Rice Soup with Shrimp) ข้าวด้มกุ้ง

Recipe from: Colonel Ian F. Khuntilanont-Philpott

Khao tom is a staple in Thailand, being widely eaten as a breakfast dish as well as an accompaniment to lunch and dinner. It can be cooked plain (without the shrimp), or as here with shrimp. It can also be made by simple substitution with chicken, pork, or any combination of seafood that you have to hand. It can be made with cooked left over chicken/shrimp etc, or as here with fresh ingredients. It is however almost always made from pre-cooked rice from a day before (though not always left-overs: the cook will often simply ladle enough rice from the electric rice pot to make the soup shortly before serving). Made with chicken it is a popular meal for recovering patients who still feel a little queasy.

In Thailand the rice is almost always cooked until it starts to "fall" and the liquor turns milky. When my wife worked as the chef at the Bangkok Oriental Cuisine in Merrimack, New Hampshire, they found that the customers preferred it with the rice less cooked. If you also want the rice to stay "intact", then limit the heating before adding the shrimp to 2 or 3 minutes, which is enough to ensure that it is heated through ready to eat.

The celery used in Thailand is Chinese Celery (the plant of which celeriac is the root ball). If this isn't available you can use "western" celery.

Cooks in Thailand make this in a wok - but I'm not convinced that it is entirely safe to balance this much fluid in a round bottom wok on a skimpy western stove-hob. So perhaps for safety you should use a large saucepan.

Click on picture to enlarge (© Photograph by Clay Irving).
This photograph was taken on Sunday morning, 03 Aug 2008—It was our breakfast. Eoy makes khao tom kung with cilantro, omitting the celery and preserved cabbage. She cuts the shrimp we purchase at the Torrance Farmer's Market into bite-sized pieces. We purchase the fried garlic at Asian grocery stores.

2 cups water
1 cup cooked Thai jasmine rice
1 cup thinly sliced Chinese celery (including the leaves)
half teaspoon preserved cabbage
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon Maggi seasoning
1 tablespoon garlic, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Thai pepper powder
fried garlic to taste, and a half teaspoon of salted radish always adds a nice taste

You also need 4 large (8 to the pound) shrimp, or half a pound of smaller ones, shelled, deveined, and butterflied, or half a pound of other flavor ingredient.

In a very small amount of oil sauté the garlic until golden brown and beginning to crisp up. Pour in the water, and bring to the boil. Next add the celery, Maggi sauce, and fish sauce and pepper powder, and stir until it boils again. Now add the rice, preserved cabbage and return to the boil, continuing to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice begins to "fall" and the water turns a milky white. Now add the shrimp, and cook until they turn pink.

Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle fried garlic over each serving, and garnish with chopped coriander/cilantro leaves. It is also popular to serve a small dish of moo yong dried pork on the side with this soup.

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