Economizing My Pantry: Rice & Thai Omelette

When I was little and we still lived in Bangkok, the evenings were the most fun. Just as the sun started to dip and the sky blazed orange and violet, the kids gathered outside in the street to play. Our neighborhood was nestled away from the main thoroughfare of the city. The street that led to our house was narrow and flanked on both sides by houses and parked cars. The street dead-ended with the house on our right.

As parents were getting home from work, children rode their bicycles up and down the neighborhood street or chased one another. House maids and grandmothers hovered within sight to keep a watchful eye of their charges. During these times of early evening play, I would pedal my bike proudly because I had taught myself how to ride. My two cousins lost patience trying to teach me. As I rode up and down and around in circles, Grandma called out to me. It was dinner time. She stood by the iron gate that led to our driveway with a plate and spoon in her hand. She also brought a folding chair to sit. I pedaled to her, stopped, took a bite as she fed me, and pedaled off chewing. Once I finished that bite I’d return to her for another. Grandma was an excellent cook, and I ate whatever she made without much thought. Except for when she served fried garlic liver with rice. I didn’t like the taste of liver, but I ate it anyway…some of it, anyway. When I had all I could take of the liver, I would shake my head and she would know not to give me any more. I didn’t get to eat and play outside all of the time. Only when the days grew longer and when the evenings were not so humid. Otherwise we would eat inside around the table with all the fans blowing.

Comfort food to me is Thai food, not the dressed up fare one finds in restaurants, but rather the street food of Thailand. Egg noodles in a savory broth garnished with basil, bean sprouts, meatballs and seasoning sauces. Dried noodles served in bulging baggies. Whole fried fish with head and all covered in garlic, hot peppers and lemongrass. Rice. Plain rice, fried rice, rice porridge. But always rice with a Thai omelette.

There’s so many variations one can concoct with a Thai omelette. Add some garlic fried pork. Or some left over stir fried vegetables. Or scallions and garlic. Or just seasoned with fish sauce. That’s what makes this dish an ever so easy go-to meal for me when I’ve run out of items in my pantry. But as long as I have some eggs and a bag of Jasmine rice, then I’m all right.

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