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Thai fried rice with turmeric (Khao pad kamin)

This is a traditional hot wok fried rice that has some religious significance. The Buddhist statues that are scattered across Thailand are golden, along with the domes of the stupas. The significance of gold is not just wealth but it is the universal symbol for happiness, purity, enlightenment and freedom.

The use of turmeric to "gold" the cuisine follows these same principles. Turmeric is one of the most used local ingredients that is endemic in the region and used quite universally in the cuisine.

This is a dish that highlights the colour and the flavour and aroma of turmeric. The rice is lightly flavoured with hints of chilli and the strong aroma of beautiful turmeric. The soft rice is contrasted by the crunch of fresh vegetables that complete the dish. Simple, light and elegant, this is a lovely fried rice as part of a larger menu or as a dish by itself.

This is a thin cookbook, filled with vegan recipes that are outstanding. Super simple recipes from traditional salads, fried foods, noodles and curries, like this one, make this my go-to cookbook for vegetarian Thai cuisine. Vatch, as he is known, has published several cookbooks, runs some excellent restaurants around the world and teaches Thai cooking at his school.

For more wonderful recipes from this cookbook, click here.


4 tablespoons oil

2 garlic cloces, finely diced

1 small onion, finely diced

3-4 Thai red chillies, cut longitudinally into half

1 carrot, micro-diced into pin-head-sized bits

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon sugar

2 cups cooked jasmine rice

2 teaspoons light soy sauce or 1/3 teaspoon regular soy sauce

Salt, to taste

1/2 cup tofu diced (optional)

Scallions, sliced into circles, for garnish

10 cherry tomatoes, halved, for garnish

1 cucumber, peeled and cubed, for garnish

Heat the oil in a wok on high. Add the garlic and let fry to a light golden, about 20 seconds. Add the onions, chillies and carrot and fry for 2-3 minutes till the onions are soft and beginning to turn golden.

Add the turmeric and sugar and mix in. Add the rice immediately and mix into the fried vegetables till evenly distributed. Add the soy sauce and salt and mix in again till even. Fry for 2-3 minutes till you hear the rice begin to pop, tossing the ingredients occasionally.

Serve immediately garnished with the scallions, tomatoes and cucumber.

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