Thai Basil Fried Rice

Thai basil fried rice is a delicious way to use this fragrant herb! Thai basil infuses a delicate anise flavor…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

Thai basil fried rice is a delicious way to use this fragrant herb! Thai basil infuses a delicate anise flavor into this satisfying dish.

Thai basil fried rice

Got Thai basil? Here’s a great way to use it: Thai Basil Fried Rice! We have an abundant Thai basil plant in our garden, along with our Italian sweet basil. It’s got purple stems and a delicate black licorice flavor that’s absolutely irresistible. Add it to fried rice, and it infuses an irresistible aroma that makes it impossible not to take another bite. It’s a great way to use this herb if you have it on hand! We could not stop sneaking bites of this one.

What is Thai basil?

Thai basil is a type of basil with an anise or black licorice flavor that’s native to Southeast Asia. It has a purple stem, purple flowers, and thin, dark green leaves. It’s used in Southeast Asian cuisine, including Thai, Cambodian, Lao, and Vietnamese recipes.

How to use Thai basil in recipes? Try it in this Thai Basil Noodle Bowl, a spin on a spring roll in bowl form, in Fresh Spring Rolls, or to garnish Coconut Shrimp Curry. But one of our favorite ways? In this Thai basil fried rice.

Thai Basil

Ingredients in Thai basil fried rice

Thai basil fried rice is a delicious way to use fresh Thai basil. The dish itself is a popular mix of cooked rice, egg and vegetables that you’ll find in many Asian cuisines: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Cambodian, Indonesian, and more. This recipe is a spin on our basic fried rice that adds fresh Thai basil (it’s not a traditional Thai-style fried rice). Here fish sauce adds big savory flavor and pairs well with the Thai basil. You can omit it if you prefer to keep it vegetarian, but it adds a distinct savory flavor. Here’s what you need for this fried rice:

  • Veggies: onion, garlic, ginger, carrots, peas
  • Sesame oil
  • Eggs
  • Jasmine rice
  • Soy sauce
  • Fish sauce
  • Thai basil
Thai basil fried rice

Start with day old rice

The most basic adage when you’re making fried rice? Use day old rice. What’s the purpose of this:

  • Freshly cooked rice has a lot of moisture. Try using fresh rice in fried rice, it clumps together and turns out soggy.
  • Day old rice is dried out. The grains stay separate and form that signature fried rice texture. Use leftover rice stored up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
  • What if you don’t have day old rice? Well, we usually forget to cook it in advance. Here’s a trick…

Shortcut: freeze the rice 10 minutes!

Often when we’re craving fried rice, we don’t have leftover rice on hand. Here’s a little shortcut if you want to make up a fresh pot for this Thai basil fried rice:

  • Make the rice. Here’s How to Make Jasmine Rice (or make it in an Instant Pot).
  • Spread on a tray and freeze 10 minutes: Spread the freshly cooked, steaming rice onto a rimmed sheet pan or tray. Place the tray in the freezer and freeze for about 10 minutes until the grains become cool to the touch. Some might even become frozen: that’s ok! They’ll heat right back up once they hit the pan.

Vegan variation

Want to make Thai basil fried rice but want it to be plant based? You can substitute a tofu scramble for the egg! Simply make this Easy Tofu Scramble before you make the rice, making the pieces of tofu very small. Then make the rice without the egg, and add the tofu crumbles in the very last step.

Thai basil fried rice

Make it a meal: how to serve Thai basil fried rice

Once you’ve made up this batch of Thai basil fried rice, how to make it into a meal? Here are a couple ways to round it out:

This Thai basil fried rice recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Thai basil fried rice

Thai Basil Fried Rice


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Ingredients

  • 1/2 yellow or white onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger (about 1 inch nub)
  • 2 large carrots
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 4 cups cooked jasmine rice, at least 1 day old or cooled using the shortcut below*
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • ⅓ cup Thai basil leaves
  • Optional: 1 pound medium small shrimp (size 51 to 60), shelled and deveined, frozen or fresh**

Instructions

  1. Mince the onion. Mince the garlic. Mince the ginger. Peel the carrots, then dice them.
  2. In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil medium high. Sauté the carrots and onion for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the rice, peas and salt for 1 minute.
  3. Push the rice to the side. Add 1 tablespoon more oil. Add the eggs and pinch of salt, and scramble them in for 1 to 2 minutes until cooked through.
  4. Add the soy sauce and fish sauce, if using. Taste and add additional soy sauce if necessary. Heat for a minute or two, stirring, until all rice is coated. Add the Thai basil and turn off the heat, stirring until it wilts. Serve hot.

Notes

*Trick: If you don’t have day old rice, here’s a shortcut. Make the rice. Then spread it onto a rimmed sheet pan and put it into the freezer. Freeze for about 10 minutes until the grains become cool to the touch. Some might even become frozen: that’s ok! They’ll heat right back up once they hit the pan.

**If serving with shrimp, sauté the shrimp before making the rice: Pat the shrimp dry. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil on medium high heat. Add the shrimp and cook about 1 minute per side until just opaque cooked through, turning them with tongs. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Remove to a bowl and set aside while you cook the rice, then add them to the rice when it’s done.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Asian inspired

Keywords: Thai basil fried rice

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

The 6 Pantry Essentials in My Shanghainese-American Kitchen

Welcome to Betty Liu’s Pantry! In each installment of this series, a recipe developer will share with us the pantry items essential to their cooking. This month, we’re exploring 6 pantry staples stocking Betty’s Shanghainese-American kitchen.

China …

Welcome to Betty Liu’s Pantry! In each installment of this series, a recipe developer will share with us the pantry items essential to their cooking. This month, we're exploring 6 pantry staples stocking Betty’s Shanghainese-American kitchen.


China is a vast country with various geographies, terrains, and climates. As culinary preferences stem from the ingredients available from the land, it is not surprising that cuisines across China vary immensely. When I visit China, I take great joy in discovering and trying other regions’ cuisines, but despite my love for this vast spread of regional cuisines, I keep coming back to the food I grew up with, the food that brings me the most comfort: Jiangnan (江南) cuisine. My family is from this region, and this is the food I grew up eating. My debut cookbook, My Shanghai, is an homage to my family’s cooking—homestyle cooking from the Shanghai region and surrounding areas—and a written record of recipes that had previously been passed down orally. I grew up with the flavors of this region; it is no wonder this has helped shape my pantry, which is unequivocally Shanghainese-American.

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Chinese Cooking Wine Brings Tangy Depth to, Well…Everything

I love cooking with alcohol. The magnificent aromas, the satisfying glug of rich liquid pouring from the bottle, and, of course, the drinking. Sure, French cooking gets well-deserved attention for its liberal use of wine, and Japanese cooking wouldn’t …

I love cooking with alcohol. The magnificent aromas, the satisfying glug of rich liquid pouring from the bottle, and, of course, the drinking. Sure, French cooking gets well-deserved attention for its liberal use of wine, and Japanese cooking wouldn’t be nearly as delicious without mirin and sake, but there are few places where alcohol is used as effectively, or as liberally, as in Chinese cuisines. If your pantry (or liquor cabinet) is short a bottle of Chinese wine, for cooking and for drinking, it’s time to fix that. And we’re here to help.

What Is Chinese Cooking Wine?

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sheet pan chow mein

Here’s a really fun dinner I made recently, the sheet pan chow mein from Hetty McKinnon’s, new cookbook, which is a love letter to all the vibrant Chinese food she grew up eating plus many of her other Asian favorites. You — …

Here’s a really fun dinner I made recently, the sheet pan chow mein from Hetty McKinnon’s, new cookbook, which is a love letter to all the vibrant Chinese food she grew up eating plus many of her other Asian favorites. You — we, if I may be so presumptuous — love McKinnon’s vegetarian cooking because she’s so creative, as we saw in this chickpea and kale shakshuka, and yet it’s all so practically-minded, clearly having been vetted in the chaos of real life family dinners.

what you'll need

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Chinese Hot and Sour Soup

Craving Hot and Sour Soup just like your favorite Chinese restaurant? This recipe will hit the spot! It’s made with Chinese mushrooms, bamboo shoots, tofu, and a beaten egg. Continue reading “Chinese Hot and Sour Soup” »

Craving Hot and Sour Soup just like your favorite Chinese restaurant? This recipe will hit the spot! It's made with Chinese mushrooms, bamboo shoots, tofu, and a beaten egg.

Continue reading "Chinese Hot and Sour Soup" »

Easy Cashew Chicken

Skip the Chinese takeout and make this Cashew Chicken at home! Marinate the chicken in peanut oil, chili powder, honey, and tamari, and then cook with onions and mushrooms. Continue reading “Easy Cashew Chicken” »

Skip the Chinese takeout and make this Cashew Chicken at home! Marinate the chicken in peanut oil, chili powder, honey, and tamari, and then cook with onions and mushrooms.

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egg and chive potstickers

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After making a bunch of Adam and Ryan’s potstickers for meal prep, I got on a potsticker kick and wanted to make more! Even though my very puffy pregnant hands made pleating a little bit difficult, I spent two extremely pleasant afternoons sitting at the kitchen table, folding dumplings while ice skating was on (this was back in February during the Four Continents competition). It also made me feel like I was in the dumpling scene in Crazy Rich Asians. For this second round of dumplings, I wanted a super low maintenance filling that would also pack some protein, so I went with a classic- egg and chive! The soft fluffy filling could not be easier and it’s so easy to adjust if you want a little more ginger or heat or whatevs. I also like that since it’s totally cooked before going into the dumplings, it makes for a kid-friendly project where you don’t have to worry raw meat getting everywhere. So, Bernie, when you’re ready, say the word and we’ll get pleating!!!


Egg and Chive Potstickers

Makes 38-40 dumplings

Ingredients

8 large eggs

1 tb soy sauce, plus more for serving

1 tb rice vinegar, plus more for serving

1 tb unsalted butter

1 tb sesame oil

1 tsp fresh ginger, minced or grated

1 c (1 1/2 oz) chives, finely chopped

Black pepper

Sriracha or crushed red pepper

All purpose flour, for dusting

40 store-bought dumpling wrappers

Flavorless oil (if frying)

Clues

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, soy sauce, and rice vinegar and set aside. In a large skillet, heat the butter and sesame oil over medium high heat. Add the ginger and cook for about a minute, until fragrant. Add the eggs and cook, stirring gentled with a rubber spatula until just set (don’t over cook, otherwise the filling will be dry). Transfer to a large bowl (I use the same bowl that I whisked the eggs in) and break up the egg into small pieces with your spatula. Stir in the chives, a few good turns of black pepper, and sriracha or crushed red pepper to taste. Taste and adjust as desired.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and dust with flour. Fill the dumpling wrappers by moistening the edges with water, adding a heaping teaspoon of filling, and pleating the edges, pinching well to seal. (I do this step seated at my kitchen table since it takes kind of a while. I’d also recommend YouTubing pleating videos, way easier to see it than to describe it!) Place the dumplings on the sheet pan. 

If cooking immediately, you can either steam or fry them. To steam, cut out a round of parchment paper to fit in the bottom of your steamer and cut a bunch of holes in it. Place the dumplings in the steamer leaving a little bit of room between them and set the steamer over a pot of boiling water. Steam for about 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Let cool slightly and serve. I like dipping mine in a half-and-half mixture of soy sauce and vinegar. Maybe a drizzle of sesame oil.

To fry, heat a thin layer of flavorless oil in a large lidded nonstick skillet. Place the potstickers flat-side down in the skillet in a single layer and cook until browned on the bottom, 2 to 4 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of water and immediately cover the pan, since it will be very spitty. Cook for 3 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to cook until all of the water evaporates. Let cool slightly and serve. I like dipping mine in a half-and-half mixture of soy sauce and vinegar. Maybe a drizzle of sesame oil.

To freeze, stick the sheet pan into the freezer and freezer for a few hours until the dumplings are firm. Transfer to a ziploc bag and stick back in the freezer for up to 3 months. Heat them either by steaming or frying (adding an extra few minutes for each method), or using one of the methods here.

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-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen