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~ Oh My Thai: Crispy, Airy, Puffy & Fluffy Omelette ~

IMG_1577A Thai omelette is comfort food at its best.  The Thai people satisfy hunger with Kai Jeow (Khai Jiao) the same way we Americans satisfy it with pizza or macaroni and cheese -- which -- is why --  Kai Jeow is a very popular snack or street food too.  Why?  Unlike America, in Thailand an omelette is not primarily associated with breakfast -- omelettes are for eating any time of the day!

IMG_1521A bit about Kai Jeow-style omelettes:  Aside from the fact that they are made with eggs, they are quite a bit different than the thin, light-colored, creamy French-style omelette.  This Thai omelette is prepared in a wok with quite a bit of very hot oil (at least 1").  When the frothy, lightly-seasoned egg mixture is poured into the oil, it puffs up, causing it to become browned on the surface and crispy around the edges while remaining soft, fluffy and multi-layered inside.  The egg mixture is seasoned with Fish sauce (the salt of Thailand), a squirt of lime juice, and occasionally some white pepper.  It's not uncommon to find some minced green onion, shallot and/or cilantro or Thai basil whisked in either.  And -- just like we Americans often add bits of crisp bacon to our egg mix, in Thailand, it's bits of minced pork (everything tastes better with a bit of oink).  

When taken out of the wok, the entire, perfectly-cooked golden-colored affair is placed over a bed of slightly-warm, steamed Jasmine rice and served drizzled with Thai Sriracha sauce.   The kai jaow omelette may not win any beauty contests,

IMG_1542but, it is decadent and marvelously addicting darling!

IMG_1825That said, don't throw everything you know about French- or Western-style omelettes out the window just yet.  Thai cooks make a stuffed omelette too.  Called kai yad sai, they're less common on the streets than kai jeow.  Like the French omelette, it is thin, filled with diced, lightly-sauted vegetables (onion, tomato and beans or bell peppers)  and/or minced pork or shrimp, then folded into a square.

IMG_1860The stuffed omelette can be small, to feed one, or larger, to feed two or more.  It too is served with jasmine rice and Sriracha, but because of the onions and tomatoes, it's a bit runny (kai jeow isn't). While the Thai stuffed omelette is not the subject of this post, they are just as delicious. Click on the Related Article link below to get ~ Oh My Thai: Minced Pork Stuffed Omelete ~ recipe!

Ready?  From start to finish, this takes less than 5 minutes:

IMG_16142  jumbo eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2  teaspoons fish sauce

1 1/2  teaspoons water

1/2  teaspoon lime juice, fresh or high-quality bottled concentrate

1  tablespooon cornstarch

1/2  teaspoon sugar

2  tablespoons sesame oil, for frying

3/4  cup peanut oil, for frying, more or less, depending on the size of the wok

1  cup steamed jasmine rice per omelette, a bit more or less, for accompaniment (Note: Each omelette, from start to finish, takes less than 2 minutes to prepare, so, be sure to steam your rice, and, allow it to cool a bit prior to making and serving the omelettes.  The rice should be slightly-warm, not steaming hot, when the finished omelette gets placed on top of it.)

1/4  cup Sriracha sauce per omelette, per omelette, more or less, for dipping or drizzling

IMG_1425 IMG_1432 IMG_1436~ Step 1.  Place 2 tablespoons of sesame oil in the bottom of a medium-sized wok.  Add enough of peanut oil to total 1" of oil.  

Note:  In my 10" All-Clad wok, this requires 3/4 cup of peanut oil.  Using a bigger wok?  Plan on adding more oil.  Heat the oil over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes.  While oil is heating:

IMG_1452 IMG_1456 IMG_1462~ Step 2.  Place the eggs, fish sauce, water, lime juice, cornstarch and sugar in a medium bowl. Beat/whisk until frothy.

IMG_1485The Thai Kai Jeow Technique:

~ Step 3.  Transfer the frothy egg mixture to a 1-cup measuring container.  Doing this will help you to control "the pour" into the oil.

Note:  The kai jeow omelette is known for its signature freeform shape and somewhat raggedy edges.  The only way to achieve that is to pour the liquid into the wok in a thin, steady stream holding the vessel several inches (6"-12") IMG_1489above the seething hot oil.  The higher you hold it the better.

It's kitchen drama, but it is safe.

Because the oil is so hot, the liquid in the eggs turns to steam instantly, causing the eggs to puff up right before your eyes.  Kids and adults love to watch the performance so invite them to stand around the stove.  If you're worried about hot oil spatter, don't be -- it's so minimal there is almost no cleanup.

IMG_1490The rest goes really fast so pay attention!

IMG_1624~ Step 4.  In 30-45 seconds the omelette will be golden and ready to be flipped. With the right kitchen tools, this is surprisingly easy to do. You will need two large slotted spatulas, or, as pictured here, one large slotted spatula and one Asian spider-type utensil.  Slide one or the other underneath the omelette, lift it out of the oil, place the other over the top, invert the omelette and place it back down in the oil.

Cook on the second side another 30-45 seconds:

IMG_1506Lift omelette out of the wok (leaving the excess oil behind), place it on a plate that has a bed of steamed jasmine rice on it and serve immediately with plenty of Sriracha sauce for dipping or drizzling: 

IMG_1541Oh my Thai:  I think I need an invervention!

IMG_1588Oh My Thai:  Crispy, Airy, Puffy, Fluffy Omelette:  Recipe yeilds instructions to make one Thai kai joew omelette, or, one serving.  Trust me, you will eat the entire thing.

Special Equipment List:  medium-sized wok; 1-cup measuring container; hand-held rotary egg beater or whisk; 2 large slotted spatulas or, 1 large slotted spatula and an Asian spider

6a0120a8551282970b017ee7d25972970dCook'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're 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) 


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