Thai Basil Fried Rice

Difficulty Easy

Make easy and delicious Thai Basil Fried Rice at home. A restaurant-worthy dish that’s full of savory umami flavor and only takes 15 minutes to make! Lots of aromatic Thai Basil and a chili garlic paste make this simple recipe shine. Serve with a fried egg for a satisfying, quick meal.

Thai Basil Fried Rice

Thai Basil Fried Rice is a popular dish served at Thai Restaurants. A generous amount of fresh Thai basil leaves creates an incredibly fragrant and aromatic fried rice dish. Savory and spicy, it’s full of umami flavor and heat! Luckily, it’s just as easy to make at home.

For spicy food enthusiasts, Thai Basil Fried Rice is such a special treat. The spicy flavor comes from garlic and Thai chilis. They are smashed into a thick paste and cooked in oil until fragrant. Oyster sauce and fish sauce are used to season the rice. A combination that adds lots of salty, sharp, briny flavor.

Similar to Chinese fried rice, Thai Basil Fried Rice makes good use of cold, leftover rice. In fact, I often make extra rice just so I can make this dish the next day.

One of my personal favorites and an easy stir fry — Thai Basil Fried Rice comes together so quickly. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • Rice. Cold, leftover white rice is ideal. I recommend Jasmine rice that’s been stored in the fridge, tightly sealed, overnight. The day-old rice grains are cold and hard. They retain their shape when cooked in oil and aromatics and produce delicious, texturally satisfying fried rice. Fresh rice contains too much moisture, creating a mushy final dish.
  • Thai Basil. The star ingredient. You’ll need lots of Thai basil as it wilts considerably! Thai basil has dark purple stems and pointed, narrow leaves. The taste is bold and spicy with subtle licorice or anise flavor. Look for it at Asian grocery store. Can be swapped with Holy Basil, Cinnamon Basil, or even regular basil (Italian) in a pinch.
  • Pork. A little bit of pork adds protein and flavor. I recommend sliced pork butt or ground pork. For a meatier texture, slice into 2-inch strips. Swap with chicken or shrimp if you prefer. Or, make it vegetarian by adding thin strips of extra firm tofu. 
  • Shallot. Adds lots of flavor. Swap with white or yellow onion if you don’t have it.
  • Oyster Sauce + Fish Sauce + Sugar. The flavorful trio that seasons the rice. Adds salty sharpness. FYI the final dish will not taste fishy at all. 
  • Garlic. Several large garlic cloves are pounded into a paste. They form the flavor base of this dish.
  • Thai Chili Peppers. Also called bird’s eye chili. Don’t let the small size fool you — they are packed with heat! I recommend a minimum of 1 Thai chili. But feel free to add more for intense spiciness. 

Instructions:

  1. Make garlic chili paste. Using a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic cloves and Thai chilies into a thick paste. Pound until they are completely broken down and juicy. 
  2. Mix sauce. In a small bowl, combine oyster sauce, fish sauce, and sugar. Set aside.
  3. Cook. Heat a large wok on medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil and chili garlic paste. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add shallot and mix until softened, about 1 minute. Add pork and cook until cooked through and no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Add cold leftover rice and stir, breaking up the big clumps of rice, about 2 minutes. Drizzle the oyster sauce mixture over the rice. Stir and continue cooking until all the grains are well coated and hot, another 2-3 minutes. Add fresh basil and stir until wilted, about 1 minute.
  4. Serve. Add freshly cracked black pepper and divide evenly between two bowls. Add a fried egg on top. Enjoy!

PRO Tips:

  • Prep ingredients in advance. The cooking time goes fast! To ensure it doesn’t burn, prep everything in advance. Place in separate bowls and keep nearby. 
  • Adjustthe heat level. Thai food is notoriously spicy. The beauty of cooking Thai fried rice at home is the ability to adjust the spice level. For subtle heat, add 1 Thai chili. For medium heat, add 2 chilies. For intense heat, add 3-4 chiliies. 
  • Turn on the exhaust! Chilies contain capsaicin, a compound that makes them spicy. When cooked, the capsaicin is released into the air. If inhaled, it can irritate airways and throats. Make sure to turn on the exhaust fan to avoid coughing.
  • Chill rice in the freezer. If you don’t have leftover rice, spread hot, freshly cooked rice onto a sheet pan. Store in the freezer for 20 minutes until the grains are cold and hard. 

Essential Kitchen Tools:

  • Wok. A carbon steel wok is the best cooking pan for Thai Basil Fried Rice. It has a deep well to make tossing easier and gets very hot to create a smoky char. When correctly seasoned, a wok is non-stick so the rice doesn’t stick and burn. If you don’t have one, use a large skillet preferably non-stick. 
  • Large spatula.  A large metal spatula is ideal for tossing and mixing the fried rice. It’s also helpful for scraping the sides of the wok. 
  • Mortar and Pestle. An essential tool in Thai cooking. Look for one with a deep well — it’s easier to crush the chilies and garlic into a paste. 

FAQ:

Can I double the recipe?

Yes, this recipe easily doubles. Cook in batches so the rice doesn’t steam and get soggy. 

How do I store leftovers?

Store leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days.

More recipes:

Thai Basil Fried Rice

The Subversive Table | Lis Lam
Make easy and delicious Thai Basil Fried Rice at home. A restaurant-worthy dish that's full of savory umami flavor and only takes 15 minutes to make! Lots of aromatic Thai Basil and a chili garlic paste make this simple recipe shine. Serve with a fried egg for a satisfying, quick meal.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Main Course, Side
Cuisine Thai
Servings 2
Calories 438 kcal

Equipment

  • Wok
  • Large spatula
  • Mortar and Pestle

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups Jasmine rice *previously cooked, day-old leftover cold rice
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1-2 Thai chilies
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1/2 cup sliced pork butt *swap with chicken or shrimp, if you like
  • 2 bunches Thai basil *or Holy Basil
  • black pepper

Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp Oyster sauce
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar

Instructions
 

  • Make garlic chili paste. Using a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic cloves and chilies into a thick paste. Pound until they are completely broken down and juicy. 
  • Mix sauce. In a small bowl, combine oyster sauce, fish sauce, and sugar. Set aside.
  • Cook aromatics. Heat a large wok on medium-high heat. Add 1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil (or avocado oil) and chili garlic paste. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add shallot and mix until softened, about 1 minute. 
  • Add pork. Add pork and cook until cooked through and no longer pink, about 2 minutes.
  • Add rice. Add cold leftover rice and stir, breaking up the big clumps of rice, about 2 minutes. 
  • Add sauce. Drizzle the oyster sauce mixture over the rice. Stir and continue cooking until all the grains are well coated and hot, another 2-3 minutes. 
  • Add basil. Toss in the basil and stir until wilted, about 1 minute.
  • Serve. Add freshly cracked black pepper. Divide evenly between two bowls. Add a fried egg on top. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

*Store leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. 
PRO Tips:
    • Prep ingredients in advance. The cooking time goes fast! To ensure it doesn’t burn, prep everything in advance. Place in separate bowls and keep nearby. 
    • Adjustthe heat level. Thai food is notoriously spicy. The beauty of cooking Thai fried rice at home is the ability to adjust the spice level. For subtle heat, add 1 Thai chili. For medium heat, add 2 chilies. For intense heat, add 3-4 chiliies. 
    • Turn on the exhaust! Chilies contain capsaicin, a compound that makes them spicy. When cooked, the capsaicin is released into the air. If inhaled, it can irritate airways and throats. Make sure to turn on the exhaust fan to avoid coughing.
    • Chill rice in the freezer. If you don’t have leftover rice, spread hot, freshly cooked rice onto a sheet pan. Store in the freezer for 20 minutes until the grains are cold and hard. 

Nutrition

Calories: 438kcalCarbohydrates: 78gProtein: 20gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 1950mgPotassium: 507mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 639IUVitamin C: 37mgCalcium: 78mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Basil Fried Rice, Thai
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15 minutes, All Recipes, Asian, Game Day Food, Holiday, Pork, Rice, Snacks, Weeknight Meals

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