917-604-7591 [email protected]

I love Asian cuisines. The colors, the aromas, and the flavors are so bright, so intensely different, that I crave finding a new great Chinese, or Thai, or Japanese restaurant. And no matter what kind of restaurant I’m in, I want that rice. Ideally fried, filled with flavor, and steaming hot.

I also love being self-sufficient. I’d rather do things myself. I admit doing an Asian dish can often be a tad challenging. All those ingredients! It can seem overwhelming, but I suggest you take the gamble here. Remember those giant jigsaw puzzles with 500 pieces? Well, this recipe has less than 500 ingredients, actually only 26, but you can have just as much fun assembling this dish.

If you don’t have chopsticks, you ought to consider getting some. Actually, you’ll be in the store for a while anyway getting all this stuff. It’s worth the effort. And now you can start that Asian shelf in your pantry.

Chili Fried Rice with Thai Basil (Khoa Pad Bai Kraprow)

Yield: Serves 4 to 8 depending on your addiction to fried rice


For the Fried Rice:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 serrano chiles, seeded and chopped
  • 4 cups cold cooked long-grain rice, gently breakup any clumps
  • 1-2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 2 scallions, including white and green parts, chopped
  • ½ cup Thai Basil leaves
  • ¼ cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • blanched vegetables of your choice

For the Vegetables:

  • 1 medium-size carrot, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 5-6 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small head broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup snow peas
  • 1 cup long beans, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 tablespoons white wine or sherry

For the Stir-Fry Sauce:

  • ⅓ cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 5-7 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch, dissolved in 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 red chili, minced, or 1 teaspoon chili sauce or ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preparation of the Stir Fry Sauce:

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until blended. Rewhisk if necessary while using.

Preparation of the Vegetables:

Place all ingredients, except garlic and cornstarch in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. When sauce begins to bubble, reduce heat to medium-low. Now add the minced garlic and cornstarch (dissolved in water). Stir until the sauce thicken slightly, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Taste to adjust flavor to suit your taste.

Place a little oil in a wok/frying pan over medium to high heat. Add the mushrooms. When the wok/pan becomes dry, add a little of the wine or sherry, 1 tablespoon at a time, to keep ingredients frying nicely. Stir-fry in this way, adding more wine or sherry as needed, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until mushrooms are cooked. Add the rest of the vegetables in batches plus ¼ of the stir-fry sauce at a time. Stir-fry 2 minutes, or until the vegetables softened but still crispy.

Preparation of the Rice:

Heat a wok or large wide skillet over medium-high heat. When hot add 1 tablespoon of the oil and tilt pan to coat the entire surface. Add the garlic, chilies and salt. Stir-fry until the garlic is golden, about 30 seconds.

Add the rice and stir-fry until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce, fish sauce and sugar and stir-fry to combine thoroughly. Add the green onions and basil leaves and stir-fry until the leaves begin to wilt, 25 to 30 seconds. Add in cilantro and serve immediately. Top with the prepared vegetables.

Source: Savoring Southeast Asia by Joyce Jue