Thai Basil Fried Rice – Khao Phad Horapa
There are certain flavors that make you think about home. That’s what this dish does for me. And it’s not necessarily the dish itself, but the flavors, which are showcased within the dish.
First, the two sauces. I deem them the power pair: fish sauce and oyster sauce. If you have a dish with fish sauce in it, more than likely, the fish sauce is the salt component. And the rule of thumb is, a little goes a long way. On the other hand, oyster sauce brings depth and umami. For those who may think a sauce made of oyster is out there and there’s no way you’re going to try it. There is a vegetarian version made of mushrooms. Umami. That’s all that needs to be said.
It’s because of these two sauces that reminds me of home. My mom use the power pair in everything from marinades to stir fries. And now I do as well. It’s the simple stuff. No soy needed either…at least not in this dish.
Aside from the sauces, Thai basil fried rice also showcases Thai basil. It is in the name after all. Thai basil have dark green leaves with purple stems and flowers. It is very aromatic and is often described as licorice like. Thai basil is used in a wide variety of dishes, including stir fries and curries.
For this recipe, if you watch the video, I have more rice than noted in the recipe. I’ve also adjusted my sauce to the amount of rice, which brings me to an important note in Southeast Asian cooking. Sometimes, recipes are just ingredients made to taste. You can adjust these ingredients to suit your taste. You can also taste the sauce mixture before you put it on your rice. Is the flavor balanced? Need salt, add fish sauce. Too much salt, add oyster sauce or a little bit of sugar.
Also, you can use any protein you like in the dish. I chose ground chicken because I love the savory goodness in every bite.
Oh! One more note. The Thai chili can be fairly spicy. Unless you know how spicy your peppers are, start with fewer peppers. The heat varies from plant to plant. Lao people have a running joke that if the person growing the chili pepper plant is frugal or stingy, their plant will be spicy. The more frugal, the more spicy the peppers. I’m not going to reveal the source of my pepper plant, but if she’s reading this, I kid because I love you. 🙂
Thai Basil Fried Rice
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cookie time: 15 minutes
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (375 g) (cut into thin strips or ground)
5 cups cooked and cooled rice (can use leftover)
4 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 tablespoons fish sauce
½ small onion or large shallot (thinly sliced)
½ red bell pepper (julienned)
3-4 cloves of garlic
1-2 Thai chili peppers
Handful of Thai basil (about 1 cup) – leaves only
2 tablespoons of canola oil
- For the sauce mixture:
Mix the fish sauce and oyster sauce together. Then set aside.
- Heat oil in a wok, over medium high heat. Cook onion until translucent, then add garlic and chili pepper(s). Allow to cook for additional 30 seconds or so, just until fragrant.
- Then add chicken and a little bit of the sauce mixture to flavor the chicken. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink.
- Add bell pepper and cook for 1 minute.
- Stir in the rice and the rest of the sauce mixture.
- Toss in the handful of Thai basil and cook for an additional minute or two.