A quick Thai-style fried rice with shrimp flavored with Nam Prik Pao—Thai chili jam.
Notes: Nam Prik Pao, also known as Thai chili jam, is available at most well-stocked Asian grocery stores and online. It also goes by "roasted chili paste" or "roasted chili paste in soybean oil."
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- 4 stalks lemongrass
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/4 cup Nam Prik Pao (see note above)
- 4 cups leftover cooked long-grain rice
- Fish sauce, to taste
- 1 lime, cored and quartered
- 1/2 English cucumber, peeled and sliced
With a sharp knife, trim off the ends of lemongrass stalks and slice them crosswise as thinly as possible. Stop when the purple rings inside the stalks disappear. Reserve woody parts of lemongrass for another use.
Put lemongrass slices and oil in an 8-inch skillet or a 1-quart saucepan; set over low heat. Stir constantly until lemongrass turns light brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove pan from heat immediately. The color of the lemongrass will deepen a bit more with the residual heat; at this point, fish out the lemongrass, reserve the oil, and set it aside.
Heat a 12-inch skillet or wok over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved lemongrass-infused oil to the skillet, followed by shrimp; stir. Once shrimp starts to turn opaque, about 2 minutes, add rice and Nam Prik Pao; stir until rice kernels are thoroughly coated with Nam Prik Pao.
Season fried rice with fish sauce to taste. Serve fried rice with a few slices of cucumber and one quarter of lime per serving.