Street Food for Dinner: Thai-Style Omelet (Kai Jeow)

Whether I'm trying to put a late-night dinner on the table or cooking for one, a Thai-style omelet (kai jeow) is what I often turn to for an easy meal in minutes. Browned and crispy, it's quite different from a French omelet, especially thanks to the punch of umami from its essential ingredient:Fish sauce! Rather than salt, fish sauce is added to the beaten eggs, along with green onions, herbs or shallots. Some recipes for kai jeow also call for soy sauce, but I prefer a simple omelet of just eggs, fish sauce and a lot of sliced scallions. I also occasionally add ground pork or chicken for a slightly more substantial main dish.

Perfect with steamed rice and a simple stir-fried vegetable, this Thai street food staple takes less than 10 minutes to make, and its funky-yet-familiar taste is totally satisfying.

Simple Thai-Style Omelet

Serves one

2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
2 green onions
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Thinly slice the green onions. In a bowl, mix together the eggs and fish sauce until frothy. Add the green onions and stir.

Heat the oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat until very hot. Pour in the egg mixture and cook until browned and crispy on one side, 1-2 minutes. Flip and cook until the other side is browned but the inside is still soft, 1-2 minutes. (The omelet can also be folded in half after about a minute and browned on both sides, if you don't feel comfortable flipping it all at once.) Serve with steamed jasmine rice and sriracha sauce, if desired.

Optional add-ins: Ground chicken or pork (cook the meat in the oiled pan before adding the egg mixture), shallots, chopped cilantro or other fresh herb.

Related: Quick Breakfast Recipe: Basic Oven Omelet

(Image: Anjali Prasertong)

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