Sunday, March 7, 2010

Thai style fried rice and Nampla prik

Germany's frugality bemoaned for inhibiting euro zone growth This headline and associated news article got me thinking.

While countries like the US, Greece, Spain and Portugal are were living on borrowed money and spending like there is no tomorrow, it is indeed refreshing to read about Germany where people are frugal. Economists say for the world financial picture to improve countries like the US should save a lot more and consumers in Japan, China and Germany where the savings rate is very high have to loosen their purse strings.

Is saving a habit learned over a life time or is it something that you pick up and discard on whim? I like reading Michelle Singletary's financial columns which appear twice weekly in the Washington Post. Her no nonsense way of advising people to shape up their financial lives is well like a breath of fresh air or slap in the face depending on where you stand. I especially like her quote "To truly become rich, you need to stop acting like it".

We often mistake frugality to being kanjoo(is the Indian word for tight wad or penny pincher). Growing up I have heard many a wistful adult imagining himself like an American who lives a high life spending all what he earns without nervous worries about the future. The high life as the world has seen now has serious consequences.

A life of an immigrant starts with insecurity and shapes your financial habits, it certainly did mine. The lack of security net provided by family brings a certain bit of caution which is essential for a successful financial journey methinks. Our parents' generation never made purchases without having money on hand and buying on credit was something that was done only in the most extreme of circumstances. Contrast this to today where you are considered weak in mind if you used your own money and ignored the cheap credit available.

Nampla prik

Times have certainly changed. Starting from food, way of life, financial know how it is back to the time honored cliche 'Old is Gold'. Live within your means, save for a rainy day, buy low - sell high, buy what you need not what you want are all back in fashion.

Barring food and occasionally books not found in the library I am a tight wad. What is your financial lifestyle?

Now to the recipe,
The condiment that most attracts me in any Thai restaurant is the sliced green or red chilies in a clear vinegar sauce. I caught sight of it here and learned that no Thai table was complete with it and could not wait to give it a try. With the end of the week looming and not many vegetables left and a good sauce ready on hand, fried rice it was going to be. The addition of corn is not Thai but with neither mushrooms or bean sprouts on hand I added some for color.

Thai fried rice
1. 2 Cups of brown rice - day old or cooked and cooled.
2. 4 eggs scrambled with salt and pepper
3. 6-12 shrimp mixed with salt and 2 tsp of chili powder
4. 1 cup cooked corn (substitute with green peas)
5. 1 tbsp Thai chili paste
6. 1/2 White onion sliced
7. 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
8. 1-2 tsp fish sauce (optional)
9. 2 tbsp roasted peanuts crushed lightly
10. 1/2 tbsp peanut oil
11. handful coriander leaves chopped

1. In a wok heat oil and cook the shrimp on high heat for 2 minutes, remove and set aside.
2. Scramble the eggs using a different pan and set aside
3. Saute the onions till they are translucent
4. Add the chili paste and mix it into the onions
5. Add the cooked rice, add in the soy and fish sauces and mix it in.
6. Add the corn and coriander leaves and cook till the rice is heated through
7. Add the shrimp and cook for a couple more minutes
8. Don't forget to sprinkle the peanuts on top.

Nampla Prik
1. 5 Red Thai chilies sliced into small thin rounds
2. 4 cloves garlic sliced
3. 1 inch ginger grated (optional)
4. 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
5. 1 tbsp lemon juice
6. 2 tbsp distilled white vinegar or as required

Mix them together - that is it.


  1. Being an immigrant and not having that nest egg or a family support system to rely on sure teaches you to be a bit frugal and careful about where you are spending money. My habits are same as yours, other than food, books not found in library and occasional splurging on yarns and acrylics, rest are more need-based spendings. With the last recession, savings rate jumped up suddenly, lets see if and for how long it maintains that way.

    Shrimp fired rice and the sauce look delicious. I love that vinegary chili sauce too..

  2. Wow Indo making all international cuisine often ? What a treat for your family ? I recently started reading shesimmers and I am hooked. There are lots of other thai stuff too :)

  3. The fried rice looks absolutely delish, ISG!

  4. Slurppp!! am a great fan of thai dishes, both fried rice and nampla prik looks fantastic together, thanks for sharing nampla prik, sounds prefect for me..

  5. Know what Indo .. I keep looking out for these writeups of yours nowadays ... getting addicted to your writings and views. :-)
    The fried rice has eggs and shrimps .. am all for it. Must try that Namla Prik too .. looks real spicy.

  6. Kanjoos well i have not heard that word for a while :-) it was a word commonly heard back in India.
    I don't like wate too, and often take care especially when it concern food items, but still there re times i myself throw things from my frigde.
    Delicious looking rice, one thing i can't bare to use is fish sauce till now. I did use them once years ago the while place had such a smell i have not touched it.

  7. I definitely believe in living within my means. We seem to get the most joy out of the small things in life anyway, so the low-maintenance lifestyle suits me.

  8. I'm frugal - my vitamix and organic-for-some-things are my splurges. 'siruga katti peruga vaazh' is the thing I live by.

    gotta try the nampla prik and the fried rice!

  9. Fried rice looks delicious! Love the vinegar chili sauce

  10. I believe in living within my means, but don't think I'm a tightwad. I spend liberally on library, clothes and DVD rentals. I think I gave a few people I was stingy when I went on holiday and would debate buying something v seriously - my concern was clutter, they thought I was being "careful". In fact, if I withhold buying something, that's because clutter, not money, is my first concern.

    I do feel guilty about one thing - I get bored of my clothes v easily and give them away frequently to get new ones.

  11. Ummm, I think we live within our means but I do not look out or watch for money always.

    Love, love Thai style fried rice

  12. I always have seen parents saving for months to buy anything big like TV or Refridgerator. when I got married hubby took me to big shops for these items and dont know why I felt so miserable to buy all things at once. I believe there is more enjoyment in having to wait and save to buy something you want. presently we like to invest in land rather than saving the money in banks. but try not to splurge on things that are not required.

    the rice looks fab another great one dish meal from you. bookmarked...saving the recipe for some rainy day Indo :-)

  13. I've made noodles with the thai red curry but not the fried rice.. looks really good.

  14. We are kanjoos:) Except for splurging on food and on vacations once in a while, i think we will carry the initially formed habit to the grave. why buy things when we do not need them? In this country I feel it is very important to teach the kids to save. they see so much fake abundance here that they get disillusioned.

    now for the recipe, my mouth is watering.. just by looking at the shrimp and the chillies in vinegar.

  15. fried rice and economics..:)i was recently reading a back page article in newsweek and it talked abt limiting groceries to 50 bucks a week.. i am trying that out since i am an impulsive spender.especially on food!

  16. Missed reading your writeups for quite sometime, I have been traveling and got a little busy.
    Rice looks very delicious.
    We mostly spend on travel and food. I think kids usually learn the spending habits from parents and I set an example for my daughter to buy what is really needed.

  17. I like this fried rice a lot! The photos are lovely.

  18. Yeah new country and new hubby(ahem) teaches a lot and makes you look like a kanjoos in the beginning days, but it is for the good for the future..
    Fried rice looks colorful..thai food is almost like Indian food nah?

    I usually freeze veggies I dont use(chop and store) for next week, it is better than wasting it in the fridge..

  19. Thats a wonderful thoughtful post. I am not a penny pincher or huge spender. There are million ways to have fun without spending money is my mottto. But I don't calculate for good food or books.

    Thai style freid rice looks fabulous, very inviting dish.

  20. Living with in our means is the smart way to live. When we do splurge once in a while, I begin to worry.
    Coming to the recipe, simple and yet tasty. I have almost all the ingredients at hom

  21. This is a very nice post Indo. There are things we spend on, like books and music, that many of my friends see as 'unnecessary'. We like our travels and spend unflinchingly on those. But we are bargain hunters, I will spend hours surfing to find that good deal!
    Do we live within our mean? Yes, we do. We are 'careful' with our money, but not penny-pinchers!

    Love anything thai, especially nampla prik...I sprinkle some on my upma!


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