Thai Crispy Rice Salad

Walking through the doors of Supawan restaurant in King’s Cross, we were greeted with the unmistakable waft of Thailand – a familiar warm pungency, the smell of fish sauce, of curry pastes frying and umami in the air. Reading the southern Thai menu, I felt giddy with excitement – and I’m delighted to say the food more than delivered its promise. The crispy rice salad – or yam khao tod – was so good we ordered seconds, and it is the inspiration behind this recipe. The rice is fried for a crispy, chewy texture, then combined with a zingy Thai dressing, herbs and crunchy peanuts. Simple but incredible. Note, day-old rice is better here than freshly made, as it won’t go mushy when cooked again.

Serves 2 as a starter or as part of a bigger meal

  • 200g cooked jasmine rice, cooled (approximately 90g uncooked weight of jasmine rice; 60g if using basmati)
  • ½ tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 3 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil

For the dressing:

  • 3 tbsp lime juice (approximately 2 limes)
  • 2 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 1½ tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 red chilli (use bird’s-eye if you like it hot), finely chopped

For the salad:

  • ½ small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • Small handful of mint, shredded
  • Small handful of coriander, shredded
  • 50g roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  1. Mix the rice with the curry paste and a good pinch of salt and combine well. Stir in the cornflour, ensuring each grain is well coated.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the rice in a thin layer and press down. Leave to cook for around 5–7 minutes, or until a golden crust forms. Gently turn over and repeat on the other side. You may need to add a drizzle more oil. It doesn’t matter if it breaks up, but you do want to try and make sure you have as much crust as possible. Remove the rice from the pan and leave to cool.
  3. In the meantime, make the dressing. Combine the lime, sugar, fish sauce and chillies, making sure the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Put the rice into a large serving bowl and break any larger pieces into chunks. Pour over the dressing and mix through the salad ingredients. Eat immediately.

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