Recipe: Fried Rice with Thai Basil and Tofu

Recipe: Fried Rice with Thai Basil and Tofu

(Image credit: Michelle Peters-Jones)

My daughter loves rice, especially fried rice. I love fried rice because it is an easy way to include vegetables and proteins in her meal, and it makes for excellent lunches the next day. Wok cooking is also one of my favorite fast ways of putting dinner on the table quickly. This homemade version — with its peppery, soft, and delicate flavors — is a little lighter and fresher than the take-out version; it's an all-around winner at our house.

(Image credit: Michelle Peters-Jones)

I usually double the amount of rice that I cook when I make the egg curry with cherry tomatoes the day before, and save the remaining rice in the fridge. Fried rice is best made with cold, leftover rice, so this works perfectly, and I don't have to spend the extra 20 minutes cooking the rice. The best rice to use for fried rice is jasmine, but basmati works just fine.

This particular recipe is very simple, with just tofu, eggs, green onions, and Thai basil, but you can also add shredded carrots, sliced sugar snap peas, peas, or any other vegetable you have handy. This is a lighter version of fried rice, as my daughter doesn't really care much for soy sauce; when we serve ourselves, we add more soy sauce to taste. I also use less oil, and don't sear the rice as much.

I usually serve this rice with a Thai-style curry (I make my own curry paste over the weekend so it's handy!). While the curry is cooking – and it rarely takes more than 20 minutes – I dice the tofu, slice the green onions, and do any prep for the rice. By the time the rice is made, the curry is ready and we are sitting down for a delicious, easy meal.

(Image credit: Michelle Peters-Jones)

Fried Rice with Thai Basil and Tofu

Serves 4

2 tablespoons neutral oil, divided
3 1/2 to 4 ounces firm tofu, cubed
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 large eggs, beaten
2 cups cold cooked rice, preferably jasmine
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
Salt, to taste, if required
2 green onions, sliced
Small handful (about 1/2 cup) Thai basil leaves, shredded

Place 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok, on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the tofu and fry for a few minutes, until golden. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining oil to the wok, then add the garlic. When the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds, add the egg and push towards the center.

When the egg is partially cooked and just beginning to set, add the rice and stir-fry, separating the grains. Add the soy sauce and white pepper and mix well. Return the fried tofu to the wok. Taste and add a little extra salt, if needed.

Turn off the heat, and stir in the green onions and Thai basil leaves. Serve hot.

Recipe Notes

  • You can add vegetables or shredded meat to this rice. If using vegetables, add them once the egg has set; fry for a minute before adding rice.
  • To add chicken, pork, or beef, stir-fry the meat first until cooked, similar to the tofu, then add to the rice at the end.
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