Adding Thai basil to your fried rice gives it a unique flavour that is way more delicious than your average rice dish. Gluten free and suitable for vegans, you’ll want to make my Thai basil fried rice again and again.
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Fried rice is always a delicious dinner. It's a great way to:
- use up leftovers and avoid food waste
- eat a lot of veggies in one meal
- add a portion or more of vegan protein - tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds
And adding Thai basil to your fried rice adds a delicious and different taste that will jazz up your dinner.
What is Thai basil?
Thai basil is a type of basil plant native to Southeast Asia.
Although at a quick glance it looks similar to the basil that's used in Italian cooking, it is actually quite different.
It has small narrow leaves and purple stems.
Confusingly there is more than one type of basil used in Thai cooking.
Thai basil, holy basil and lemon basil are all different varieties. Thai basil is the easiest to get here in the UK.
It is widely available in Asian shops and large supermarkets often stock it as well.
What does Thai basil taste like?
Thai basil has a very distinctive taste, which is quite different to sweet basil (the kind used in Italian cooking).
The flavour of Thai basil is often described as being like fennel or aniseed.
Can you substitute regular basil for Thai basil?
In theory yes, you could use sweet basil instead of Thai basil. However, they do have different flavours and for this fried rice recipe I would be inclined to use coriander instead if you can't find Thai basil.
What to serve with fried rice
This fried rice recipe is delicious served on its own. However, other things that go well with fried rice include:
- spring onions
- cashew nuts
- spring rolls
- baked tempeh (as in the recipe below) or tofu.
What ingredients do you need to make this fried rice?
To make this vegan Thai basil fried rice you need the following ingredients:
- soy sauce (or tamari if gluten free)
- sunflower oil
- sesame oil
- rice vinegar
- maple syrup
- cooked leftover rice*
- red chilli
- white or green cabbage or other greens
- red pepper
- Thai basil
*It is safe to eat leftover cooked rice provided that it has been cooled as quickly as possible and then stored in the fridge.
How to make Thai basil fried rice
If you have made this recipe and loved it please consider leaving a comment and rating below.
Please do not reproduce this recipe without permission.
Thai basil fried rice
For the baked tempeh (optional)
- 200 g tempeh
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce use tamari if gluten free
- 1 tablespoon sunflower or sesame oil
For the sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce use tamari if gluten free
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
For the fried rice
- 800-900 g leftover cooked rice 300g uncooked rice
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 2 cm piece ginger finely chopped
- 1 red chilli deseeded and chopped
- 2 carrots peeled and thinly sliced
- 50 g white or green cabbage or other greens thinly sliced
- 1 red pepper chopped
- 30 g Thai basil leaves picked and finely chopped
For the tempeh (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan)/200°C/gas mark 6.
- Chop the tempeh into 2cm cubes. Place in a small roasting tin.
- Mix 1 tbsp soy sauce and 1 tbsp sunflower or sesame oil together and drizzle over the tempeh. If you have time, marinate in the fridge for up to one hour.
- Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, turning half way.
To make the sauce
- Mix together 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 2 tbsp sesame oil and 1 tbsp maple syrup in a small bowl and set aside.
To make the Thai basil fried rice
- If your rice is uncooked cook before continuing and set aside.
- Heat 1 tbsp sunflower oil in a wok or frying pan. Add a finely chopped onion and sauté for around 10 minutes until soft. Add 2 cloves chopped garlic, a 2 cm piece of chopped ginger and a chopped red chilli. Stir well and sauté for an extra minute.
- Add the carrots and fry for a few minutes until just starting to soften before adding the cabbage and red pepper.
- Once softened add your cooked rice, the sauce and the Thai basil and stir fry until well combined. Serve immediately with the baked tempeh on the side.
- If you can't find Thai basil I recommend substituting coriander instead of regular Italian basil.
- Baked tofu is a good alternative to the tempeh.
- Nutritional information is approximate and is intended as a guide only.
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