Thai in origin but not found outside Thailand, two people claim to have invented American fried rice. The target market is not disputed though — American soldiers.
It isn’t spicy. There’s ketchup and raisins in the rice. What the fried rice is served with can be anything that associated with America. In this case, hotdogs and slices of SPAM. Fried chicken and bacon are just as popular.
I had my doubts when I first heard about American fried rice. Ketchup? Raisins? But trust me when I say that it delicious! The tang of the ketchup (plus a little lime juice) and the sweetness of the raisins make an amazing combination.
What’s the story behind American fried rice? One version is that the manager of a Thai restaurant was left with plenty of American food after an airline cancelled its order of breakfast and lunch sets for its passengers. She served the leftovers with fried rice and American fried rice was born.
Another story has it that it was created by Thai cooks during the Vietnam war to give visiting American soldiers a taste of their home cooking.
Then, there’s the observation — the one that sounds most plausible to me — that Thai cooks observed what Americans ate with their carbs and simply added these ingredients to fried rice.
Interesting? Interested in making it?
The following recipe is for fried rice which includes ketchup and raisins among the ingredients. What you want to serve it with is totally up to you. I have to say though that the saltiness of SPAM goes well with the rice.
American Fried Rice (Khao Phad American)
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan.
- Saute the shallots, garlic and scallions until aromatic.
- Add the raisins and toss around until heated through.
- Turn up the heat and dump in the rice and stir to break up lumps.
- Season the rice with soy sauce, fish sauce and ketchup. Stir fry until the rice is heated through.
- Drizzle in lime juice (start with the juice from half). Stir well. Taste. Adjust the seasonings.
- Serve the fried rice with fried egg and whatever American food you like. Hotdogs, fried chicken, bacon and SPAM are popular choices.