This Thai Basil Fried Rice recipe is fast, flavorful and is ready in less than 30 minutes. The fruity heat of birds eye chilis coupled with aromatic Thai basil in an umami sauce is nothing short of addicting. I strongly recommend adding a fried egg to the top. A creamy runny yolk is an excellent contrast for the other bold and spicy flavors in the dish.
If you have cooked rice to hand, you can rustle up some Thai Basil Fried Rice in a jiffy. The same goes for my Lamb Keema Rice and Singapore Fried Rice. Or for more Thai-inspired recipes, check out my Sweet Potato and Tofu Curry and Easy Prawn Thai Green Curry.
Or if you're looking for another Thai Basil recipe, try this 10-minute Thai Basil Pesto.
🛒 What do I need to make this recipe?
- Bird's eye chilies - you can use standard long red chilies instead. They are not as hot as bird's eye chilies so you will need to use more if you want to get the same level of spiciness. If you want to make the dish milder reduce the amount of bird's eye chili or swap them for the long chilies. You can also use chili powder if you don't have fresh chilies to hand.
- Chicken - I make this dish with chicken because it is easy to acquire and prepare. It also readily takes on the other flavors of the dish. I opt for thighs over breast because they are juicier and succulent but you can use breast if you want to. Pork, turkey and shrimp/prawn will also work well. You could also omit the meat and just enjoy the rice with some fried eggs.
- Red or green pepper - this is an easy vegetable to stir fry and readily absorbs the other flavors in the dish. Other veggies you can try include green beans, broccoli and pak choi.
- Jasmine rice - its slightly nutty and floral flavour complements the heat and tangy flavors in the dish. Feel free to use the rice you have available. Basmati and brown rice are also good choices. If you want to save time, you may want to buy a packet of pre-cooked rice. If you are cooking the rice, it's best to cook it the night before if you can as it ensures the grains stay separate and that they harden a little and does not go mushy, but if you don't have time to do this, don't worry it will still taste really good.
- Thai basil - if you are wondering whether you can switch this for regular basil, the answer is no. Thai basil has a much bolder and spicier taste. I used to have to buy it from an Asian grocery store, but now my normal supermarket stocks it. If you find it's difficult to get hold of, it's worth buying a large batch and freezing some. Make sure you separate the leaves from the stalks when you do this.
- Egg - I always top my Thai basil fried rice with a fried egg, because I love the way the runny yolk combines with the tangy heat of the dish. You can also mix the egg in with the rice like you would in a traditional egg fried rice recipe.
Tools & equipment:
- Wok or large frying pan - a wok is the best type of pan to use for this dish because its high sides allow you to toss the ingredients together quickly on a high heat, but you can use a large frying pan if you don't have one.
- Saucepan or rice cooker- a rice cooker is a great investment if you eat rice regularly but a saucepan also does the job well.
- Sharp knife - for prepping the ingredients
- Small/medium frying pan - for frying the eggs (optional)
🧑🍳 How to make Thai Basil Fried Rice
1. Make the sauce
Mix the soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce and sugar in a small jug or bowl and set aside.
2. Fry the onions garlic, and red pepper
Place the wok on a medium to high heat and add the onion and birds eye chilli and sauté until the onion is translucent.
3. Cook the chicken and add garlic
Add the chicken thigh pieces to the wok and fry them until they are cooked through. Then lower the heat to medium, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
4. Add the rice
Add the cooked rice to the wok and toss at a high heat until it is hot.
5. Add the sauce and Thai basil
Then add the sauce and continue to toss the rice until the sauce is incorporated. Lower the heat and stir in the Thai basil leaves. Serve immediately and top with a fried egg (optional)
👍 Top tips for perfect Thai Basil Fried Rice
- Prep all your ingredients before you begin cooking - things will move quickly once you start cooking so it's best to have all the ingredients prepared before you begin.
- Do not swap Thai basil for ordinary basil - Thai Basil and regular basil may look similar but they taste quite different. You need to use Thai basil to do this recipe justice. Asian grocery stores should stock it if you can't find it in your local supermarket.
- Adjust the level of spice to suit your taste - Thai Basil Fried Rice is a spicy dish. If you are not a fan of spicy food you can reduce the amount of bird's eye chillis or use regular long red chillies.
Thai Basil fried rice can be stored in the fridge for up to two days. Make sure you reheat it thoroughly on the stove or in the microwave before you eat it.
Regular and Thai basil look similar but have different tastes. Thai basil has a much bolder, spicier, and aromatic flavour. If your local supermarket does not stock Thai basil you should be able to find it in an Asian grocery store.
Thai Basil can be frozen for up to 3 months. Just remove the leaves from the stalks, wash them, dry them thoroughly with kitchen paper and place them in a freezer bag or airtight container. It's best to use frozen basil leaves in dishes where they will be cooked like stir-fries and avoid eating them raw in salads as freezing alters their texture and adds more moisture.
Other quick & easy Asian inspired recipes
- Sweet Potato and Tofu Red Curry
- Vegetarian Thai Drunken Noodles
- Thai Mackerel Curry
- Egg Fried Rice With Prawns
- Peanut Butter Chicken Curry
Thai Basil Chicken Fried Rice
- 6 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce optional
- 4 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp oil
- 6 bird's eye chillies finely chopped
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 red or green pepper chopped into ½ inch pieces
- 4 chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
- 10 cloves garlic minced
- 4 cups (700 g) cooked jasmine rice
- ½ cup (10 g) Thai basil leaves
To serve (optional)
- chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
- 4 fried eggs
- Mix the soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar in a small jug or bowl and set aside.
- Place a frying pan on a high heat and add the oil, onion, and bird's eye chili, and cook for a few minutes until the onion is translucent.
- Add the red or green pepper and cook for a few more minutes until tender.
- Then add the chicken and cook for a few more minutes until done. (note 2)
- Lower the heat, add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Increase the heat, and add the cooked jasmine rice to the pan and mix until it is hot to touch.
- Then pour on the sauce and continue to mix with the rice until incorporated.
- Stir in the fresh Thai basil leaves for a minute or two until they are wilted.
- Serve on plates or in bowls with chopped cilantro, and top each bowl with a fried egg if desired.
- Cooking the rice the night before and storing it in the refrigerator once cool ensures that the grains separate and harden a little so the rice does not go mushy. I recommend doing this if you have time, but don't worry if you don't. I've often skipped this step and the results are still tasty as long as you don't overcook the rice.
- Check the chicken is cooked by taking the largest piece and chopping it in half. If it is white in the centre you are good to go, if it is still pink it will need to cook for a little longer.