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Fried Rice with Thai Basil (Khao Pad Bai Kraprow)

Fried rice originated in China as a way to use up leftover cooked rice. Wherever fried rice is prepared in Asia, local cooks add regional ingredients and seasonings. This means Thai cooks mix in garlic, chili and basil with delicious results. The versatility of this dish welcomes a variety of vegetables, while other seafood or meats can be substituted for the shrimp.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 small serrano chilies, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 cups cold cooked long-grain white rice,
      crushed gently to break up any clumps
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. light soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. fish sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 2 green onions, including white and green
      portions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed fresh Thai basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

Heat a wok over medium-high heat. When hot, add the oil, salt and garlic. Stir-fry until the garlic is golden, about 30 seconds. Add the chilies and shrimp and stir-fry until the shrimp just turn pink, about 30 seconds.

Add the rice and stir-fry until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce, fish sauce and sugar and stir-fry to combine thoroughly. Add the green onions and basil leaves and stir-fry until the leaves begin to wilt, 25 to 30 seconds. Transfer the rice to a serving bowl or platter and garnish with the cilantro. Serve immediately.
Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Southeast Asia, by Joyce Jue (Time-Life Books, 2000).