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Thai breakfast – skip the sugar!

a bowl of food on a plate

khao tomI’m back from Thailand with my favourite easy recipe for a Thai style breakfast.  It’s the best way to start your day.  I find that the Western diet puts so much sugar in their first meal of the day, pancakes, waffles, even oatmeal with brown sugar or cereal, everything is so sweet.  In Thailand, they don’t seem to make too much of a distinction between breakfast food, lunch or dinner, you could easily eat a stirfry of chicken for breakfast as for dinner.  If you are in a touristy area you may find banana pancakes, but other than that it’s generally savoury. Joke (โจ๊ก) or rice congee is probably the most popular breakfast in Thailand, but I’m not a fan of the gloopiness of congee in the morning.  Khao tom (ข้าวต้ม) – Thai rice soup is so much better, light and fresh tasting it gives you so much energy to start your day.  It can be garnished with fried garlic, chili, lime, ginger and a mix of fresh greens.

Here’s the recipe..

Khao tom (ข้าวต้ม)

Serves 1


1 ½ tablespoons soy oil
1 tablespoon thin sliced garlic, about from 3 cloves
¼ cup cubed (3cm) chicken or white fish (you can use white or dark meat)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons fish sauce
1 ½ cups chicken broth (unsalted)
1 cup cooked jasmine rice
1 tablespoon thinly shredded fresh ginger
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon chinese celery leaves (can use regular celery too)
A dash white pepper (ground)
pinch Thai red chilis (ground)
a slice of lime to squeeze on the soup
Instructions:  Heat oil in a fry pan on medium, add the garlic and fry till brown all the way through, be careful not to burn it as it can get bitter.  Remove garlic and set aside. Add chicken or fish to the oil and cook till just done through about 4 minutes.  Add broth to a food processor with rice and zip it a few times just to chop the rice a bit.  Put the broth on the stove and bring to a boil for 10 minutes till the rice softens but stop cooking before it looks like congee.  Add the chicken or fish and turn off the heat.  Serve with all the garnishes and the top with the fried garlic.

Another Thai breakfast favourite that has a bit of sweetness to it is Khao neow sang kaya (ข้าวเหนียวสังขยา) – sticky rice with custard in a banana leaf with coconut cream drizzled on top.  YUMMMMM


Chef Robin