Sunday, May 3, 2015

The most delicious Khao Tom (Boiled Rice) in the whole wide world!

Disclaimer: I was given a couple of bowls of free Khao Tom, but the comments are all mine.

For those who came here thinking this is a recipe or a restaurant review, sorry to disappoint you. In fact, this dish wasn't even cooked by a Thai.

The 5 condiments, coriander, fried garlic, fried shallot, chopped chilli in fish sauce and garlic/shallot oil

Khao Tom, or boiled rice, is a simple Thai dish that involves boiling some cooked rice briefly in a pot of hot soup, which is made commonly with minced pork balls, fish or shrimp. I will easily call it my favourite Thai dish (and not steamed fish with lemon or fried basil pork with rice) if not for the difficulty of finding a tasty one. Most versions found here are unfortunately, way too overdosed by chicken/pork essence, but if the right one comes around, this is the kind of food I can eat everyday.

Noah really having fun during his Khao Tom session

God works in wondrous ways. Even though my family has been placed in Bangkok for the long term, a place where we have few friends and no relatives to begin with, He has blessed us with great friends over the years in unexpected ways.

Around 1.5 years ago, my family was having dinner in a popular neighbourhood restaurant with my sister-in-law. Having newly-acquired the art of walking steadily, Noah decided to 'disturb' the table of diners behind us. He was cute and engaging, but after a while, it became embarrassing as they could not eat in peace, so I went over to get him. It turned out that a couple of them (R and I) were missionaries from Singapore preparing to serve in Thailand, so we started to keep in touch even though it would be some time before they would officially relocate.

Ellie enjoying herself as well, though it's just not her style to do any expressions too dramatically

Now, they are finally here for the long haul, and we are so glad. Not only are they friendly, they are really good with kids as well. It's not easy to see BOTH Noah and Ellie warming up to relative strangers that quickly.

However, today, we discovered something else that was completely unexpected. I, a true-blue Singaporean, cooks the most delicious Khao Tom in the whole wide world! This is not an exaggeration. Her boiled rice far exceeded my expectations of how good this dish can potentially taste.

Incredibly amazing Khao Tom

I believe the key to her success is heart. For the standard local cook, Khao Tom is a coming together of a very basic bone stock, coriander root and a lot of chicken/pork essence powder. That's also what most customers expect, so few will think of going the extra mile to 'complicate' their cooking procedure and bring the dish up a notch. As you can see from the picture, I added green marrow, mushroom, pork, shrimp, and prepared from scratch 5 separate condiments to create a Khao Tom so wholesome and balanced, it literally blew me away.

So, thank you R and I, for being hospitable hosts, for being enthusiastic enough to engage a family you got to know in this most unlikeliest of ways, for being confidants in a home away from home, and last, but not least, for letting me know that Khao Tom can taste as good as this.

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