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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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 we are used to seeing here in the UK, 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.
What to serve with Thai basil 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 my 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
Do you need any special equipment to make Thai basil fried rice?
You will need the following equipment for this recipe:
If you're making the tempeh you'll also need a small roasting tin*.
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How to make Thai basil fried rice
Thai basil fried rice
For the baked tempeh (optional)
- 200 g tempeh
- 1 tbsp soy sauce use tamari if gluten free
- 1 tbsp sunflower or sesame oil
For the sauce
- 2 tbsp soy sauce use tamari if gluten free
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
For the fried rice
- 800-900 g cooked leftover rice 300g uncooked rice
- 1 tbsp 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.
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