Cơm chiên: an exotic Vietnamese dish that you can easily prepare

In many countries, and especially in Eastern and Southeastern Asia, rice is considered THE staple food. 

Southeast Asian eating habits are based on rice, fish, vegetables, salads, fruits, and spices. There are many ways of using them. For example, Satay is one of the typical Indonesian dishes: spiced or marinated meat on a barbecue stick. Sour fish soup is also a popular dish throughout Southeast Asia, and is served with noodles and soy sauce. 

These dishes share several similarities: it is the liberal use of spices and herbs, due to the influence of Indian and Chinese cuisine. 

Vietnamese cuisine: one of the most exquisite culinary cultures in Southeast Asia 

Vietnamese cuisine is known as one of Asia’s most tantalizing culinary cultures. Seafood dishes are the most prominent: Chả cá, created in Hanoi, is above all the best known. It is a grilled white fish marinated in a turmeric-based sauce, which includes shrimp paste or fish sauce, ginger, and chillies. 

Cao lầu is another example of the diversity of Vietnamese food. This dish comes from the ancient port of Hoi An and is distinctly Vietnamese although it has been adopted by ramen restaurants in Japan. It is made with wheat noodles topped with slices of pork served with vegetables and herb-infused broth. 

One of the most simple and claimed dishes of Vietnamese cuisine is Cơm Chiên. 

This dish includes a sour fish sauce for dipping, rice, fried eggs (duck or chicken) and some vegetables. It is a popular school snack among students in South Vietnam. It is an Asian variation of the classic fried rice egg.

Today, we’ll introduce to you a recipe of an authentic Vietnamese-style Cơm Chiên. Next you’ll see the ingredients and the instructions to prepare this simple but nutritious dish. 

Vietnamese Cơm chiên

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. of peanut oil.
  • 2 large eggs.
  • 1 tbsp. fish sauce or more to taste. 
  • 1 finely chopped lemongrass stalk (only the white part).
  • 2 finely chopped medium shallots.
  • 2 minced cloves of garlic.
  • ¼ cup of chopped carrots. 
  • ¼ cup of sweet peas.
  • 500 grams thinly sliced Chinese Lap Cheong sausage. 
  • ½ cup of thinly sliced strips of barbecued pork (preferably Chau Siu pork).
  • 3 cups of cooked rubbed long grain rice (preferably not freshly cooked and rubbed to separate the grains).
  • ½ tbsp. of lime juice.
  • ½ cup of finely chopped coriander, Thai lemon basil, or mint.

How to prepare

  1. Prepare all the ingredients and hand-toss them together.
  2. Use another bowl to whisk the eggs with a teaspoon of fish sauce.
  3. In a wok or large-sized frying pan, heat the peanut oil over medium heat. Place the beaten eggs in the wok and stir while forming a flat pancake for 1.5 minutes or until ready. 
  4. Remove the omelet and place it on a cutting board. While the wok is heating over medium heat, add the lemongrass, garlic, and shallots, and stir-fry until softened and giving off their aromas. 
  5. Using a little more heat, add the finely chopped carrots and sweet peas. Fry them for 30-40 seconds. Then add the Lap Cheong Chinese sausage and pork. Fry for another minute. 
  6. Add the rice in the wok and 1 or 2 teaspoons of fish sauce into the wok. Stir fry the rice while heating. When the rice has fried sufficiently, turn off the heat. 
  7. Take the egg pancake and roll it up like a wrap, and cut it into thin slices. Add the egg slices to the wok and stir. Add the lemon juice, stirring constantly.
  8. Serve hot on a plate, and top with the lemon juice, coriander, mint, or any of the three. 

Extra tips

  • If using freshly cooked rice, you can place it on a tray and put it in the oven for a few minutes. This will evaporate the remaining water in the rice. 
  • The rice should be as loose as possible before pouring it in the wok. Break up any lumps that could have been formed.

You can spice up the Cơm chiên by adding ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes. And if you require a higher protein intake and a little more flavour, you can add peeled shrimp to the wok while stir-frying the Chinese sausages and pork. 

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