Thai Fried Rice
Classic Thai Fried Rice, also known as Khao Pad, is a delicious and aromatic dish that combines jasmine rice and a medley of ingredients such as vegetables, chicken, spices, and aromatics like ginger and garlic!
Why We Love This Thai Fried Rice Recipe
One of my favorite trips as a teenager was to Thailand. I was fifteen years old, and spent a sweaty summer meeting new people and exploring cultural differences in a land of extreme contrast and delicious Thai cuisine.
The breakfast they served us most mornings, Classic Thai Fried Rice, also known as Khao Pad, is forever etched in my mind. There was an underlying essence of coconut and something else I couldn’t put my finger on at the time.
Since then, I have spent a substantial amount of time learning how to make fried rice, and trying to recreate this Classic Thai Fried Rice recipe from memory. That unknown flavor I couldn’t distinguish as a teen was curry powder! Just a touch of curry separates Thai Fried Rice from other Asian varieties.
This Classic Thai Fried Rice recipe is very quick and easy to prepare. Once you chop and prep all the ingredients, it just takes minutes to cook.
What I absolutely love about Thai fried rice is the variety of flavors and textures that create a slightly sweet and deliciously savory dish I keep making over and over!
Ingredients You Need
- Jasmine Rice – cooked and cold
- Coconut Milk – sweetened coconut milk is best
- Peanut Oil – or any neutral oil
- Chicken Breast – or shrimp, pork, or beef
- Curry Powder – the secret ingredients
- Green Onion – chopped and separated into greens and whites
- Ginger & Garlic – for aroma and flavor
- Frozen Peas – for some vegetables
- Pineapple – can be fresh or canned
- Cilantro or Thai Basil – fresh herbs
- Lime – for a bit of tanginess
- Soy Sauce – you can also add a dash of fish sauce or oyster sauce for added umami flavors
- Eggs – scrambled eggs
How to Make Thai Fried Rice
Precook the jasmine rice according to package instructions– substituting 1 can of coconut milk as part of the water. Pour the coconut milk into a measuring pitcher, then fill it to 3 cups, for 1 1/2 cups of dried rice. Once cooked, chill in the fridge to firm up.
Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a large skillet or wok. Heat the skillet to high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, add the chicken and curry powder and cook for 2 minutes, moving it around in the pan.
Add the onion white to the pan and cook for another minute. Add the ginger and garlic along with a couple pinches of salt, and cook for 1 more minutes.
Add the peas, pineapple, green onions, and cilantro or basil and stir again. Squeeze the lime juice over the rice and add the soy sauce to taste. Stir and cook another minute or two, until the peas have warmed through.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a small bowl with a pinch of salt. Preheat the nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Spray the skillet with cooking spray and add the eggs. Swirl them around the skillet, gently pushing them towards the middle. The eggs should cook through, but stay in a large circle for about 3-5 minutes. Slide them out of the pan onto a cutting board. Roll the egg into a long cylinder and cut 1/4 inch slices.
To serve, use a small bowl, about 1 cup, and fill it with fried rice. Place a plate upside down over the bowl and then carefully flip it to have the rice mound sit on the plate. Then top with egg slices and serve with sliced tomatoes, cucumber, and a lime wedge.
Tips & Tricks
- Have everything ready before starting the cooking process! Cooking fried rice goes quickly and you want to have everything prepped and ready before you start to make things a lot easier!
- Use cold rice! You absolutely must use cold rice in this fried rice recipe. If the rice is not cold, it will lump together and become mushy!
- Add additional veggies or chilis! In some Thai fried rice recipes add carrots, peppers, or some Thai chilies for some spice!
- For an authentic Thai experience, serve this best Thai fried rice dish with a side of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, just as the Thai do.
Frequently Asked Questions
Thai fried rice is made with jasmine rice and Chinese fried rice is made with long-grain white rice. Traditionally, Thai fried rice is not made with soy sauce, but soy sauce is used in many Thai fried rice recipes today and it is even served with soy sauce in Thailand sometimes, too!
If you are making fresh rice for this recipe, you will have to chill it before using it. Rice that is hot will not work as it will make this stir fry gluey! To make it cold quickly, place the freshly cooked rice on a baking sheet and spread it out into a thin, even layer. Then cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and freeze. The rice should be cold in just about 20 minutes!
In a pinch, store-bought precooked rice is a good substitute for cold rice, because it is firm.
Store any leftover fried rice in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave until heated through and serve!
Looking for More Asian-Inspired Recipes? Be Sure to Also Try:
Thai Fried Rice Recipe + Video
- 4 cups cold cooked jasmine rice (about 1 1/2 cups dry)
- 1 cup sweetened coconut milk
- 2-3 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1 pound chicken breast (could use shrimp or pork)
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 bunch green onion, chopped and separated into greens and whites/light greens
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup fresh chopped pineapple, or canned pineapple tidbits
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro or basil
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 1-3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 large eggs
- Tomato wedges, sliced cucumber and lime wedges for garnish
- Precook the jasmine rice according to package instructions—substituting 1 can of coconut milk as part of the water. (Pour the coconut milk into the measuring pitcher, then fill it to 3 cups, for 1 1/2 cups dried rice.) Once cooked chill in the fridge to firm up.
- Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a large skillet or wok. Heat the skillet to high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, add the chicken and curry powder and cook 2 minutes—moving it around the pan.
- Add the onion whites into the pan and cook another minute. Add the ginger and garlic along with a couple pinches of salt, and cook 1 more minute.
- Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan if needed, followed by the cold cooked rice. Stir well.
- Add the peas, pineapple, green onions and cilantro and stir again. Squeeze the lime juice over the rice and add the soy sauce to taste. Stir and cook another minute or two, until the peas have warmed through.
- Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a small bowl with a pinch of salt. Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium-high. Spray the skillet with cooking spray and add the eggs. Swirl them around the skillet, gently pushing them toward the middle. The eggs should cook through, but to stay in a large circle—about 3-5 minutes. Slide them out of the pan onto a cutting board. Roll the egg into a long cylinder and cut 1/4-inch slices.