Thai Basil Fried Rice

By Jeri Mobley-Arias
September 7, 2022 | Updated on August 25, 2023

This Thai basil fried rice recipe is one of my absolute favorites! Made with shrimp, eggs, aromatics, and Thai basil, this rice dish is fantastic on its own or makes for a terrific side.

If you are in the mood for Thai-inspired dishes, then check out my Crab Fried Rice, Thai Basil Chicken and Thai Chicken and Rice Soup recipes, next!

thai-basil-fried-rice

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Thai Basil Fried Rice

I love all iterations of fried rice, but this Thai basil fried rice is one of my favorites. Perfect on its own or as a side dish, it’s a beloved recipe due to its ease in preparation.

Its’s one of those low-effort, high-reward kinds of dishes, and after a long day of work, fast and easy is all I want.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Simple to make – Say ‘hello’ to dinner in 20 minutes. Perfect for days when you are teetering on ordering takeout.
  • A meal in one dish – With protein, carbs, and fat all contained in this dish, yo have . Want to balance it with vegetables? Sliced red bell pepper works perfectly.
  • Amazing flavor – I consider this version better-than-takeout. It has beautiful umami flavor, balanced with delightful aromatics fro the Thai basil.
thai-basil-fried-rice-recipe

What is Thai Basil?

This recipe calls for a specific type of basil, known as Thai basil–not to be conflated with Thai holy basil. Thai basil is different in that it has purple stems, a slight anise flavor, and is what gives this dish its signature flavor.

Can’t find Thai basil? No problem. Thai holy basil is another fine substitute.

What Type of Rice Should You Use

It’s important to note that whenever you make fried rice, long grain rice is the best.

Short grain rice is shorter in appearance and stickier in texture, making it not ideal for fried rice.

The best type of rice to use is day-old and cold jasmine rice (a long-grain rice). Using cold rice is ideal as the grains are drier, making it perfect for absorbing the sauce and oil.

Don’t have day-old rice? No problem. Just make sure the rice is cold, preferably placed in the refrigerator at least a few hours before making Thai basil fried rice.

sauté-aromatics

Ingredients for Basil Fried Rice

Traditionally, Thai basil fired rice is made with pounding Thai chili pepper and garlic using a mortar and pestle until it turns into a paste. My take on this shares how-to without the chilis.

If you like your Thai basil fried rice spicy, simply sauté one or two sliced Thai chilis with the shallot and garlic.

  • Jasmine rice – Day-old and cold rice works best. I like to break up the rice, place it in a resealable bag and in the refrigerator. I find that cold rice works better when cooking.
  • Aromatics – Shallot and garlic are sautéed before adding shrimp.
  • Shrimp – Use large, peeled and deveined shrimp. I use half of a pound for this recipe. Feel free to cut shrimp in half or into quarters if you prefer smaller pieces with each bite.
  • Eggs – Two large eggs are used for this recipe.
  • Thai basil – What gives this dish its signature flavor.
  • Fish Sauce – Lends this dish major umami flavor. See below for the specific brand I use for this recipe.
  • Light soy sauce – This is not the same as reduced sodium soy sauce. See below for more details.
  • Sugar – You may wonder why sugar is added to basil shrimp fried rice, but trust, it’s needed and balances the saltiness.
  • Oyster sauce – This sweet and savory condiment lends a perfect balance of flavor to the rice.
  • White pepper – Added to shrimp and eggs for flavor.
shrimp-and-egg-in-wok

How to Make Thai Basil Fried Rice

  1. In a bowl add shrimp, white pepper, and soy sauce. Mix to combine, then set aside.
  2. In another bowl, add eggs, white pepper, and soy sauce. Whisk until well mixed, then set aside.
  3. Add light soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar to a bowl and whisk until sugar dissolves. Set aside.
  4. Add oil to a nonstick pan or wok then add shallot and garlic. Cook on medium heat until shallot is translucent, about 3 minutes.
  5. Turn heat to high then add shrimp. Cook until shrimp are almost cooked through. Add eggs and let it set for 30 seconds before breaking the egg.
  6. Add rice, sauce mixture, then mix well. Cook for 3 minutes, ensuring rice is evenly mixed with the sauce mixture, eggs, and oil.
  7. Turn off flame then add Thai basil. Stir continuously until basil is completely wilted.
    Serve immediately and enjoy!

Ingredients to Find at Your Local Asian Market:

  1. Light soy sauce – this is the the light soy sauce I use for this recipe. They are not the same as Kikkoman brand soy sauce and helps this dish yield a specific flavor.
  2. Oyster sauceLee Kum Kee is a great brand.
  3. Fish sauceI like to use this fish sauce which can be found at most Asian markets.
  4. Thai basil – Can be found in the produce section at Asian markets.
shrimp-sauté-in-wok

How to Serve Basil Fried Rice

Thai Basil Fried Rice is commonly served with slices of fresh cucumber and sometimes with cilantro and lime wedges.

This is optional as the fried rice is great on its own.

Tips and Tricks

  • Be generous with the oil. This recipe calls for 2½ tablespoons of oil, which helps to coat the rice and prevent it from getting soggy.
  • Don’t overcook the shrimp. No one likes rubbery, overcooked shrimp. Be sure to add the eggs when you notice the shrimp are somewhat pink and a little translucent. Shrimp will continue to cook with eggs and rice.
  • Be sure to use cold rice. Cold rice helps to absorb the sauce and oil.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use warm rice?

I would suggest against using warm rice. Cold rice is best, as it allows rice to absorbs the oil and sauce.

Can you use a different protein?

Absolutely! Chicken or tofu make for fabulous substitutes.

Is light soy sauce the same as reduced sodium soy sauce?

No, they are two different types of soy sauce. Light soy sauce does not refer to reduced sodium like its Kikkoman counterpart. Thin soy sauce is salty, but thinner in viscosity than dark soy sauce. Essentially, light soy sauce imparts flavor without tinting food a mahogany color that you would normally get with dark soy sauce. See above for the soy sauce used for this recipe.

thai-basil-fried-rice-in-wok

Loving this Basil Fried Rice Recipe?

We hope you love this recipe for Thai basil fried rice. If you make it, leave a comment below and share your love for this dish on Instagram and Pinterest. We love to see you get down in the kitchen. Happy eating!

thai-basil-fried-rice

Thai Basil Fried Rice

This Thai basil fried rice recipe is one of my absolute favorites! Made with shrimp, eggs, aromatics, and Thai basil, this rice dish is fantastic on its own or makes for a terrific side.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 3 people
Author Jeri Mobley-Arias
Course Dinner, Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine Asian

Ingredients

Shrimp

  • ½ pound large shrimp peeled and deveined
  • teaspoon white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon light soy sauce, preferably Pearl River Bridge brand

Egg

  • 2 large eggs
  • pinch white pepper
  • teaspoon light soy sauce, preferably Pearl River Bridge brand

Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fish sauce, preferably Three Crabs brand
  • 3 teaspoons light soy sauce, preferably Pearl River Bridge brand
  • 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Fried Rice

  • tablespoons avocado oil
  • cup shallot, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • cups jasmine rice, cold
  • cups Thai basil leaves, separated from stems

Garnish

  • Cucumber, optional
  • Roughly chopped cilantro, optional

Instructions

  • In a bowl add shrimp, white pepper, and soy sauce. Mix to combine, then set aside.
  • In another bowl, add eggs, white pepper, and soy sauce. Whisk until well mixed, then set aside.
  • Add light soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar to a bowl and whisk until sugar dissolves. Set aside.
  • Add oil to a nonstick pan or wok then add shallot and garlic. Cook on medium heat until shallot is translucent, about 3 minutes.
  • Turn heat to high then add shrimp. Cook until shrimp are almost cooked through. Add eggs and let it set for 30 seconds before breaking the egg.
  • Add rice, sauce mixture, then mix well. Cook for 3 minutes, ensuring rice is evenly mixed with the sauce mixture, eggs, and oil.
  • Turn off flame then add Thai basil. Stir continuously until basil is completely wilted.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!
Did you make this recipe?Leave a comment below and tag @whisperofyum on Instagram and hashtag it #whisperofyum!
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Hey, I'm Jeri!

At Whisper of Yum, we explore ALL cuisines - comfort foods, classics, elevated originals. If you love food like me, I invite you to settle in to this place, where swoon-worthy food is attainable + inspo for your next meal awaits.

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