Eggs are universal, and, as a person who loves eggs, whenever I travel to a foreign country, I make it a point to try at least one of their egg dishes. Almost every country offers some version of "the omelette", and, unlike here in America where we associate eggs with breakfast or brunch, eggs are considered a filling, healthy, nutritious meal any time of the day. For an egg lover like me, eating an omelette in a foreign country is also a tasty way to indoctrinate myself to the herbs, spices and seasonings I'll be encountering "full-strength" in their other dishes!
Over the past week, I've added some of my favorite Thai recipes, more specifically Thai street food recipes, to Kitchen Encounters. We've feasted upon ~ Spicy Red Curry Sweet Corn Fritters ~, ~ Quick, Easy and Classic Thai Fish Cakes ~, and, a ~ Thai Crispy, Airy, Puffy Fluffy Omelette -. I even made ~ Spicy Quick-Pickled Cucumber Relish ~ to serve with all of them. You can find all of the recipes, and more, by clicking on the Related Article links below!
Now my friends -- it's time to meet the "hot pocket" of Thailand!
Before taking a break from Thai food for a while, I want to share a second Thai omelette recipe with you: the minced or ground pork omelette, known as kai jad sai, which means "stuffed eggs". It it absolutely amazing. Once again, this is an omelette that isn't necessarily eaten for breakfast, nor is it one that is typically made and sold on the streets either. It just plain old, home-cooked good Thai eats. Similar to the French omelette, this Thai omelette is thin, and, it can be prepared in a wok, a classic omelette pan or an ordinary nonstick skillet. It is filled with a sauted mixture of minced pork and diced vegetables (garlic, onions, tomatoes and beans or bell peppers) seasoned with fish sauce or oyster sauce, seasoning soy sauce and sugar.
This omelette can be small, to feed one, or larger, to feed two or more at the communal dinner table. In my American kitchen, I usually do serve it for breakfast or brunch, and, I serve it without the rice. I like to serve it to overnight guests too. Why? The minced pork filling (even a large amount of it to feed a group of 10-12) can be prepared a day or two in advance. At breakfast time, I simply reheat the filling then quickly make, fill and fold an individual omelette for each guest!
A Thai stuffed omelette is made at the discretion of the cook.
Here is my favorite way to prepare it -- American Mel-style!
2 pounds ground pork, the leanest available (Note: I use 2, small, 1-pound pork tenderloins. I cut them into 1" chunks, place them in the work bowl of my large-capacity food processor fitted with the steel blade and grind the meat using a series of 15-20 rapid on-off pulses.)
4-6 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 cup diced yellow or sweet onion
4-6 tablespoons thinly-sliced green beans
4-6 tablespoons minced cilantro, stems included
1 1/2 cups "coined" (cut into round, flat coin-shaped discs) grape tomatoes
4 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 tablespoons Thai seasoning soy sauce
1 teaspoon lime juice, fresh or high-quality bottled concentrate
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons white pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, to coat bottom of a 12" skillet
~Step 1. Prep the garlic, onions, green beans, cilantro and tomatoes as directed. Cover the tomatoes with plastic wrap and set them aside until just prior to preparing the omelettes, or, overnight in the refrigerator if preparing the filling mixture in advance (as explained above).
~ Step 3. In a 12" skillet heat the oil over low heat. Add the garlic, onion and green beans. Increase heat to medium-high and saute, stirring frequently, until vegetables are beginning to "sweat" and soften, about 3 minutes.
Continue to saute, stirring frequently, until pork is cooked through and almost all moisture has evaporated from skillet, about 12-15 minutes (for this amount of pork).
~ Steps 5 & 6. Add the seasoning sauce to skillet. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until once again, almost no liquid remains in bottom of skillet, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro. To this point meat mixture can be prepared a day ahead and refrigerated overnight. Note: Do not add tomatoes at this time -- fold them into warm meat mixture (today or reheated tomorrow) just prior to stuffing omelettes.
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon lime juice, fresh or high-quality bottled concentrate
1 teaspoon water
1/4-1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, to coat the bottom of a 10" skillet
~ Step 4. Lift skillet from heat and begin swirling egg mixture around bottom and sides of pan until an even layer of egg mixture is distributed on bottom. Return skillet to heat. Using a thin spatula, quickly scrape down sides of pan and cook omelette for 10-15 seconds. Lift the pan and swirl again. Continue this process of lifting, lowering and swirling until bottom of omelette is very lightly browned and top is moist and shiny, not dry. Remove skillet from heat.
~Step 5. Place 1/2 cup of meat mixture into the center of omelette. Fold two sides toward the center, with or without overlapping them. Fold two more sides toward the center with or without overlapping -- sometimes they do, sometimes they don't, but forcing them to overlap can cause the omelette to tear. I do however "fuss-budget" around with this for an extra few seconds to form a perfect square. Invert a medium-sized plate over the top of omelette. Lightly place your fingertips on top of the plate, just enough to hold it in place (you do not want to squish the omelette to smithereens). Lift up the skillet, invert it, and, invert the omelette onto the plate.
If you feel like a schooled chef right now, you should!
Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; plastic wrap; 1-cup measuring container; fork; 12" skillet, preferably nonstick; large spoon and/or spatula; hand-held rotary egg beater; 10" skillet, preferably nonstick; thin spatula
Cook's Note: I call Thai Sriracha sauce "the ketchup of the Asian food world" and my refrigerator has a bottle of it in it at all times. To learn more about this delightfully spicy condiment, read my post ~ Would You Like Red 'Rooster Sauce' With That ~. You can find it in Categories 8, 13 or 16. If you are already a lover of Sriracha, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of The Sriracha Cookbook!
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2014)