This spicy fried rice recipe is absolutely delicious. It’s quick, easy to make and completely customizable with any of your favorite ingredients.
Fried Rice | A Typical Asian Staple
Fried rice is a very typical Asian cuisine, usually available at every Asian restaurant in North America and Asia. I have a few favorite fried rice recipes that are my usual go-to when I’m out for lunch, but my all-time favorite is Spicy Fried Rice or Spicy Basil Fried Rice with Shrimp. Those are much harder to find unless you have a lot of authentic Thai or Szechuan restaurants near your area. Although I do love Yeung Chow Fried Rice once in a while, I much prefer Spicy Fried Rice Thai Style.
My favorite part of Thailand wasn’t the architecture or culture, but their street food. Aside from South Korea, they have the best street food in Asia, especially if you go to the non-touristy countryside area of Thailand. Not to say their culture and architecture wasn’t beautiful, it was, but me being Cambodian, I’m already very familiar with it. Thailand and Cambodia are similar in many aspects.
However, I have to admit this, Cambodian street food was some of the worst I’ve had when traveling in the more touristy area, besides Pepper Crabs, because you really can’t go wrong with seafood. From someone who was raised on delicious Cambodian food, I was offended that I had a very very hard time finding good authentic Cambodian cuisine in Cambodia itself. Many of the restaurants offered the same dishes, mostly Chinese cuisines. Many national Khmer dishes I was craving while traveling were never offered at the restaurants unless you make way into the smaller villages. It’s all so strange to me. Okay, I’m completely going off-topic, let’s get back to Thai Spicy Fried Rice.
Thai Spicy Fried Rice | Khao Pad
This spicy fried rice recipe is inspired by my travels in Thailand. I love the combination of savory and fiery with a hint of sweetness. I wouldn’t claim that this is THE authentic Thai fried rice recipe, but It comes very close to one of my favorite fried rice I ordered in Prachin Buri.
In Thailand, fried rice along with its many variations, are dishes that were offered at every restaurant and are especially common at street food stalls and night markets. Usually, you can order Thai fried rice with your choice of meat, but one of my personal favorites is Spicy Basil Fried Rice with Shrimp.
Ingredients You’ll Need For The Best Spicy Fried Rice
Whole shrimp with the head still on is best. The cranial juice from the head of the shrimp adds extra umami flavor that coats the rice. But if you’re not into buttery, delicious shrimp juice, pinch off the head, and de-shell/de-vein the body, keeping only the tail on. If you’re not a shrimp person, just replace shrimp with whatever protein you prefer.
Fragrant Jasmin Rice is best for Thai Fried Rice, but any medium grain rice would do. Whatever your choice of rice is, just make sure it’s day-old rice or cold rice. A freshly made batch of warm rice will not do as the rice will not fry well. It will result in soggy, sticky clumps —not great considering we want our fried rice nice and fluffy. So leftover refrigerated rice is ideal, however, if you’ve just made a new batch of rice and for some reason was craving fried rice, all is not lost. Just scoop the amount of rice you’ll need into a container, spreading the rice somewhat thin and allow it to cool in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or 15 minutes in the freezer. Just make sure the rice is dried out a bit, not sticky or moist when you’re ready to cook.
Spice for Fried Rice
If you’ve had Thai food before, it doesn’t take long to realize that they’re kind of obsessed with all things spicy. So it will come as a surprise to no one that spicy sauces and chili oils will show up in many of their recipes. I have basically the same philosophy, everything can be improved with some hot sauce. For this Spicy Thai Fried Rice, I used two types of fiery spices: chopped Bird’s Eye Chili Peppers and Chili in Oil with Peanuts. For the Chili in Oil, you can make your own version (it’s quite easy to DIY) or purchase one from any Asian food market. The one I used specifically was Lao Gan Ma Chili in Oil with Peanuts.
Soy Sauce, Fish Sauce, and Lime
Soy sauce and fish sauce are the basics for most Asian recipes so I hope you already have them in your pantry, but for this Spicy Fried Rice recipe, I will add a bit of lime to round out the sweetness from the cane sugar/brown sugar. Everyone has different sensitivities to salt, sugar and varying brands of soy sauce so I went a little light-handed on the level of sodium in this recipe, however, do not be afraid to tweak the recipe and add more salt, soy sauce or fish sauce at the end to meet your palate requirements.
Basil – basil cooks instantly, so you want to add this in last when the fried rice is done. Just stir the fried rice around after turning off the heat and the basil will wilt
Green Onion – I put green onion in almost everything because it’s both delicious and it adds a contrast of colors to the final dish
Others – you can add whatever vegetables you want in your fried rice; most common ones being carrots, onion, peas, and bell peppers. But for this recipe, I like using Korean cabbages (not Nappa, the flat round ones with thicker leaves), thinly sliced to give the fried rice a hint of sweetness.
Fried Rice is a Versatile Dish
Fried rice is very versatile and can be tailored to suit even the pickiest eater’s preference. I often experiment with many different ingredients and spices to vary the tastes from time to time. Some of which are siracha, home-made chili oil with different types of nuts and one of my personal favorite, Sambal Oelek. So do not be afraid to experiment and I hope you give this Spicy Fried Rice recipe a try. Enjoy!
Spicy Fried Rice Recipe
Spicy Fried Rice
- 6 stalks Thai basil
- 1 cup Korean flat round cabbage [thinnly sliced]
- 1/2 whole onion [chopped into tiny squares]
- 1 stalk green onion [finely diced]
- 12 shrimps
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 1 egg
- 4 cloves garlic [finely minced]
- 1 small shallot [thinly sliced]
- 1 tbsp oil for frying
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1/2 tbsp cane sugar or brown sugar
- 2 red bird's eye chili peppers [finely diced]
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp chili in oil with peanuts
- Prepare the sauce by combining all the sauce ingredients.
- Turn on your stove to medium-high, and add about 1 tablespoon of oil.
- Once your oil is hot, add garlic, onion, and shallot to the wok and stir continuously for about 15 seconds or so, until the garlic is light brown and fragrant.
- Add shrimp, and fry for another 30 seconds or so, until your shrimp should start to turn pink and firm, but not completely cooked.
- Add in a little less than half of your rice, and set the remaining aside for now. Stir fry for 20 - 30 seconds to allow your rice to soak up all the shrimp and garlic juice, stirring constantly until all ingredients are mixed.
- Move all your rice to one side of the wok, and then crack an egg into the empty side. Break the egg yolk and swirl the egg around, let it cook for a few seconds until it's 60% done, and then start to mix it up with the rice and shrimp.
- Keep stir frying until the egg is fully cooked, and then add in the remaining rice and the thinly sliced cabbages. Give it a quick stir to mix the ingredients evenly and then add in the sauce. Continue to stir fry your rice to get rid of any clumps and making sure all the sauce is evenly mixed in.
- Lastly, toss in your green onions and basils. Turn off the heat and stir fry it a few more seconds until the basils wilts. Taste test and add salt and pepper to taste. Plate and serve.
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Want more Asian food recipes? Try these out!
Cambodian Sour Soup: Somlar Machu Kroeung
Cambodian Sour and Spicy Steamed Fish with Lemongrass and Galangal
Cambodian Stuffed Chicken Wings
Cambodian Noodle: Num Banh Chok
Ginger Fish with Salted Soybean: Trey Chean Choun