Crispy rice is a fantastic dish with many variations. This particular version is based on an old Food & Wine recipe.
The key to making this turn out is to use a nonstick frypan or a cast iron pan that’s been rendered nonstick due to being well seasoned. Either way, if the rice sticks to the pan, the dish is ruined. I also recommend cooking the rice in two smaller batches, using a 10-inch pan and a thinner layer of rice, rather than cooking it all in 12-inch pan and a thicker layer.
Please keep in mind that it’s better to go with a longer cook, making for a darker, more crispy rice, rather than taking it off the heat too early, leaving you with mushy or barely crispy rice.
This makes either a great appetizer or side dish.
What you’ll need:
- 1.5 cups white rice, preferably a Japanese short-grain
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 0.25 cups sugar
- 1T curry paste—Massaman, red or yellow will work (green, in a pinch)
- Three large lime leaves or 3 2-inch strips of lime zest
- One 2” x 1” piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
- 0.5 Thai chili
- 0.5t kosher salt
- 2T or more chopped cilantro leaves
- 2t neutral oil
What to do:
Add the rice to a large bowl and add enough warm water to cover the rice by 2 inches. Let it sit for two hours. After the time has elapsed, thoroughly drain the water.
To infuse the coconut milk, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the coconut milk, sugar, curry paste, lime leaves, chili and salt. Bring it to a simmer, stirring to ensure the curry paste and sugar dissolve. After it’s simmered for a bit, strain out the solids through a sieve into a small bowl. Discard the solids and clean the pan for immediate re-use.
In the same saucepan, combine the rice and 2.25 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Immediately reduce it to a simmer and cover over low heat for about 15 minutes, until the rice has absorbed all the water. After it’s cooked, transfer the rice to a large bowl and carefully drizzle the infused coconut milk over the rice. Carefully mix in the coconut milk until it’s distributed and absorbed. Let it sit for about 15 minutes before stirring in the cilantro.
As the last step, heat up your nonstick skillet and add about 2t of oil. If cooking two batches, add half the rice to the pan and spread and press it into an even layer. Cook over medium heat until the edges and bottom become golden and crisp. Don’t be afraid to lift the rice a bit to see if it’s cooked enough.
When the rice is done, put a large plate over the pan and flip over the pan and plate together, thus dropping the rice into the plate.