Delicious, mouth watering and a super easy recipe for dinner? Yes, please! This Thai Basil Fried Rice is all of that and more. Customize the spice level, add your favorite veggies and protein and you have a dish that will become a weeknight staple your entire family will love. If you have the rice ready to use, then the whole meal comes together in less than 30 minutes. And yes, this recipe is completely vegan and gluten-free.
Thai basil fried rice – A takeout favorite
I love Thai food! I mean is there anyone who does not enjoy the fragrant and beautiful dishes that we all look forward to eating at a Thai restaurant. Another reason we love the food is because it is so easily customizable to make it vegetarian/vegan. A favorite dish that both I and Sri enjoy is the basil fried rice. Its fragrant, spicy and a filling meal with some tofu added. I wanted to recreate this dish to be able to make it anytime we want and for you guys to enjoy it at home.
A lot of the ingredients I used are staples that you would find in your pantry.
Rice – I used jasmine rice for the dish but you can use any medium or short grain rice you have and it will still come out great.
Thai Basil – This is the real star ingredient of the fried rice. This basil is very different from the Italian basil. It is savory,spicy and has a pungency that gives it the characteristic flavor . It is quite easily available and I know locally here in the Pacific Northwest, you can pick some up at Safeway, Albertsons, Whole Foods etc.
Vegan Oyster Sauce – It is easily available in Asian markets and is easily found online.However, I did not have any on hand and did not have time to go shop or order online.
Vegan Umami Sauce – Fish sauce is another ingredient that is used in fried rice but since we are going the vegan route, I decided to come up with my own vegan umami sauce (for lack of a better word). I don’t really care for fishy tasting food so I made up the sauce with no seaweed . It is a simple concoction of soy sauce, coconut aminos, lime juice, sugar and mushroom seasoning.
I used onion, bell pepper and broccoli for veggies along with firm tofu as my protein. For the chillis, I used the ones we picked up from our Indian store. A lot of times the green chillis you see at the Indian store turns out be the bird eye chillis used in Thai cooking. Pro tip: Head to a local East Asian or Indian store to get these chillis. They are ridiculously expensive in regular grocery stores. (See recipe notes)
Bringing the basil fried rice together
Once you have all the ingredients ready, the Thai basil fried rice itself comes together really quick. First lightly saute the tofu pieces in a little bit of oil and keep aside. Now add a little more oil and saute the veggies and Thai chillies. Add the sauces and mix well. Then add the jasmine rice and mix until all the ingredients are mixed together.
Finally add the Thai basil leaves and the sautéed tofu.Taste to see if it needs additional salt and add if required. Mix well and serve hot with fresh cucumber and lime pieces.
Thai Basil Fried rice
- 1 1/2 Jasmine Rice cooked
- 1 Medium sized onion sliced
- 1 Bell Pepper Cut into 1 inch strips or diced
- 12 oz Tofu extra firm
- 1 cup Thai Basil Leaves packed
- 4 Thai bird eye chillis chopped
- 1/2 cup Vegan Oyster sauce sub with hoisin sauce
- Salt to taste
- Cucumber Slices optional
- Lime sliced or quartered optional
- 4 tbsp Avocado Oil
- Mix all the ingredients for the vegan umami sauce and place aside.
- Heat a pan with 2 tbsp avocado oil and add the extra firm tofu. Saute until the tofu is browned and crisp on the outside. Keep aside. (See recipe notes)
- In the same pan, heat the remaining oil and add the vegetables. Saute for 4-5 minutes at medium-low heat. Now add the chopped chillis and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add the hoisin, umami sauce and mix well. Now add the cooked rice(see recipe notes) and mix until the rice is fully coated with the sauces. Finally add the Thai basil leaves and tofu. Add salt if required and mix well.
- Serve with cucumber and lime pieces.
- To cook jasmine rice in an instant pot – rinse the rice well to remove extra starch. Place the rice in the instant pot and add water in the 1:1 ratio. So, if you cook 1 cup of rice, add 1 cup of water. Now pressure cook for 3 minutes and let the steam naturally release for 10 minutes before manually releasing the vent.
- Instead of pan frying tofu, you can use the air fryer to make them crispy. If you have an air fryer, place the tofu pieces and spray with some avocado oil or any other neutral oil. Airfry at 375 deg F for 10-12 minutes. Turn over the pieces at the 5-6 minute mark.
- Feel free to use any other protein ex: chickpeas, soy chunks/curls, tempeh. Do the same with the veggies. Make the dish your own!
- If you find the Thai chillis too spicy, use a milder chili like Fresno chile pepper or jalapeños.