Spicy Thai Basil Fried Rice w/ Tofu

Thai Basil Fried Rice is one of my favorite rice dishes to get anytime I go to a thai restaurant. This simple & healthy meatless Thai Basil Fried Rice is a perfect weeknight meal to switch things up at home.

Thai Basil VS Basil

Thai basil is a distinct variety of the basil family with a unique flavor profile. It is described as having more sweet, spicy, and licorice-like notes of flavor. Common basil has a more mild and overall sweet flavor while Thai basil has a stronger and more pronounced flavor. Thai basil also has a more aromatic scent that is comparable to cloves or anise. Common basil, on the other hand, has a sweeter and more floral aroma. Those flavors also have a lot to do with which type of cuisines use which types of basil. Common basil is more widely used in Italian cuisine and many pasta dishes, whereas thai basil is more suited for Southeast Asian cuisines.

Breaking Down the Ingredients

The ingredient list is not as complicated as it may seem. A large portion of the ingredients are things you might already have in your fridge and pantry, especially if you’ve cooked Thai food before and have stocked up on soy sauce, fish sauce, and other seasonings! Here’s what you will need:

  1. Cooked Jasmine Rice: Fragrant jasmine rice is the perfect choice for this dish!
  2. Protein: Thai basil fried rice can be made with various proteins, this recipe calls for eggs and tofu but the tofu can be replaced with chicken, shrimp, pork or beef!
  3. Aromatics: this recipe calls for garlic, scallion, and red onion for the base aromatics
  4. Thai basil: this fried rice gets its distinctive flavor profile from Thai basil leaves and it is important to use this specific variety to get the best results! You can find it in the grocery section of any Asian grocery store.
  5. Seasonings: Thai basil fried rice is usually seasoned with a combination of soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and a bit of brown sugar to balance the flavors.

How to make Crispy Tofu without Oil

This has been one of my favorite tofu hacks so far! Soaking tofu in cold water and salt draws moisture out of the surface of the tofu, helping it crisp and brown. Soaking your tofu in the brine for 15 minutes and then drying it with paper towels is a simple and easy step that helps you crisp your tofu without using oil!

Tips to Make the BEST Fried Rice!

  • Rinse your rice BEFORE cooking: this allows it to get rid of all that extra starch that usually makes rice very clumpy.
  • Rest your rice AFTER cooking: spread the cooked rice on a baking sheet and place it on a cooling rack for 1-2 hours until the rice is at room temperature. If you’re low on time, you can also pop it in the freezer.
  • Prep ahead: after the rice cools and you start frying the rice, the dish will come together very quickly and you will want to have all add-ins prepped and ready to add to the rice! So chop up all your ingredients before you turn the stove on.
  • Use a large Wok: using a large pan or skillet with a deeper center allows for even cooking of all the ingredients without overcooking or having ingredients falling out of the pan when mixing.
  • Go Hot or Go Home! You want to make sure your wok or skillet is hot enough to cook the rice evenly but not too hot! Don’t be afraid to turn up the heat to medium-high and keep it hot because that is an essential component of the fried rice cooking process!

Not in the mood for fried rice? Try some of these noodle recipes instead!

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Healthy Spicy Thai Basil Fried Rice with Tofu

  • Author: Ramya
  • Total Time: 30
  • Yield: 2 Servings 1x


Thai Basil Fried Rice is one of my favorite rice dishes to get anytime I go to a thai restaurant. This simple meatless Thai Basil Fried Rice is a perfect weeknight meal to switch things up at home.



Airfryer Tofu

  • 1 Block Extra Firm Tofu

  • Bowl of Water + Ice Cubes

  • Large Pinch of Salt

Thai Basil Fried Rice

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

  • 3 cloves garlic minced

  • 1 Serrano Pepper or 13 Thai Chili Peppers

  • 1/2 shallot or red onion, finely chopped

  • 1 egg (skip if you don’t eat eggs)

  • 23 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce

  • 1 tsp soy sauce

  • 2 tsp fish sauce

  • 1 tsp brown sugar

  • 12 tsp red chili flakes, or more for spice

  • salt

  • 1.5 cups jasmine rice, cooked

  • 1.5 cups thai basil leaves (chop up half of it)

  • Chopped Scallion, optional for garnish


Prepare the Tofu first

  1. To a bowl, add water, ice cubes, and a very large pinch of salt.
  2. Drain your extra firm tofu and use your hands to squeeze out as much water as you can. Rip the tofu into chunks and add it to the ice-cold salty water. Let it soak for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Drain and pat dry, then air fry at 400F for 15-20 minutes. Flip halfway through. The outside should be crunchy and the inside should be soft.

To Make the Fried Rice

  1. For this recipe, cook your jasmine rice at least 1 hour ahead of time and spread it out on a sheet to let it completely cool down. Ideally, use rice from the previous day. Using rice that’s cooled down will keep the rice grains in the fried rice separate instead of all mixing together.
  2. Chop up the garlic, onion, and Thai chili pepper and set aside. In a bowl, mix together the oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, and red chili flakes. Have everything ready to go, because once you start making the fried rice, you need move quick to avoid overcooking the rice.
  3. To make the fried rice, use a wok or a saucepan that’s deeper in the center. Let the wok get hot and add in the sesame oil and onion, along with garlic and thai chili pepper/serrano pepper. Saute until the onions get translucent.
  4. Then, add in the egg and scramble well until cooked. Then, add in your bowl with all the sauces, along with a large pinch or salt and red chili flakes. Mix well.
  5. Add in your jasmine rice, thai basil leaves and airfryer tofu. Mix everything well to combine, taste and adjust any sauces, spice or salt to your liking. Serve with chopped scallion.

  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Cuisine: Thai

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