My friend ‘M’ gifts a lot of surplus foods that would otherwise go to waste. My partner (DP) happens to be a human garbage disposal. So when ‘M’ asks, “Can you eat all that spinach before it rots?” I guffaw and say with confidence, “It’ll be gone by tonight.” Nevermind that it is a family-sized container that might take two people a whole week to eat, if they are keen on spinach salad every night.
‘M’ recently gave me two packages of wonton wrappers, which come with infinite possibilities. However, given my time constraints, I put off doing anything with them just yet. I daydreamed about crazy ravioli fillings. Then DP got sick and started requesting things like crab rangoon and wonton soup, on a Thursday no less! Who does he think I am, Wonder Woman?
Well, since I felt guilty for being taken out to lunch by coworkers and eating crab rangoons without him, I decided it wasn’t such an outrageous request. Plus, a sickly DP is a sad thing to witness.
For the rangoon filling, I used:
- cream cheese
- crab meat
- garlic powder
- a dash of rice wine vinegar
- black pepper
It was tricky to fry them up in a cast iron skillet but I made it work. Some explosion and oozing occurred in the pan, but I managed to keep the filling mostly inside the wontons.
DP also requested tham maak thang (spicy cucumber salad) to clear up his sinuses.
Instead of wonton soup (I wanted to save the rest of the wrappers for ravioli), I made him an old family cure-all, kao piak with chicken and poached eggs (good for anything from stomach aches and colds to broken hearts). It’s easier than homemade chicken noodle soup and one of those comfort dishes that will always remind me of my mother. I used the same kind of rice as you would for jok, which Mom calls “broken rice,” but added more broth.
Kao Piak Gai
- 6 cups water
- Chicken bouillon
- 1 cup uncooked rice (Jasmine or long grain should work fine)
- 1 large clove of garlic, smashed
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 2-3 chicken breasts, uncooked
- 1 egg (per serving)
- Pinch of sugar
- Fish sauce to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- Chopped scallions
- Chili infused oil (optional)
1. In a medium pot, add water, 1 cube of chicken bouillon, garlic, sugar, ginger, and chicken breasts. Cover and bring to a boil.
2. Once the water is boiling, lower heat to medium and add rice.
3. Cook uncovered until rice and chicken breasts are completely cooked.
4. Remove chicken and tear into shreds. Add the shreds back to the pot.
5. Drop the egg directly into the rice soup to cook for a just a few minutes.
6. To serve, ladle into bowl with poached egg. Season with fish sauce, infused oil, and black pepper. Garnish with scallions.
This dish is really good served with pickled mustard greens or cucumbers, or even kimchi.
I hope everyone at Fiesta Friday can appreciate a random assortment of sinus-clearing, feel-good dishes.