Thai food is known for its fresh and flavorful ingredients. Containing a variety of spices, herbs, vegetables, and sauces, this healthy cuisine is known for having a flavor all its own. Unique and delicious, Thai cuisine is a culinary art that features dishes containing at least a dozen ingredients.
Many years ago, a visit to a local Thai restaurant, The Emerald of Siam, sold my husband and I on the delicious taste of Thai cuisine. Recurring visits motivated us to try and recreate some of our favorite Thai entrées at home. With fresh ingredients being at the heart of such a tasty cuisine, this was an excellent way to use spicy flavors like Thai chiles growing in prolific abundance in our Richland, Washington backyard.
With rice being at the heart of Thai cuisine, an easy introduction to Thai cooking is a recipe for Thai Chicken Fried Rice featured below. This excellent recipe comes from my best friend, Lisa Samson, who lives just a phone call away in Eastern Washington. After being urged to try her recipe and finally doing so, I couldn’t believe the authentic Thai flavor of the fried rice created from the recipe below. Filled with fresh summer produce and flavorful spices, a bite of Thai Chicken Fried Rice brought back memories of mouth-watering Thai dishes eaten at The Emerald of Siam.
For most Thai people, making fried rice is like making a sandwich in the west. Once you chop and prep all the ingredients, fried rice is very quick and easy to prepare and takes just minutes to cook. However, in order to thoroughly incorporate the flavors of all the ingredients called for in the recipe, it is necessary to cook just one or two at a time so that all the flavors can be tasted in the resulting cuisine.
Since there is an order as to how ingredients are cooked, the Thai Chicken Fried Rice recipe below is separated into five steps. By prepping and setting aside ingredients at the beginning of the recipe, the Thai Chicken Fried Rice entrée can be prepared quickly and efficiently. In fact, Thai fried rice is one of those home-cooked meals that can be prepared and on the table in less than 30 minutes.
For the most flavorful Thai fried rice, you’ll want to use jasmine rice that has been cooked and refrigerated. Because freshly cooked rice is too soft and contains a lot of water, it is necessary to use rice that has been chilled and allowed to dry out a little. The cold rice called for in the recipe below is brown jasmine rice, also known in Thailand as “fragrant rice.” Although jasmine rice comes in either brown or white, I prefer using the brown variety as it contains rice bran, making it a healthy alternative to white jasmine.
Like other Thai food, Thai Chicken Fried Rice calls for popular Thai ingredient like fish sauce and soy sauce. These are mixed beforehand with a healthy sweetener like honey or raw blue agave. The resulting mixture adds authentic Thai flavor to the fresh vegetables, bite-size pieces of chicken, and jasmine rice.
When it comes to mincing jalapeno chiles for your Thai cuisine, you may want to use food-safe disposable gloves, a tip from Lisa that was passed on with the recipe. Since the heat and flavor of jalapeno chiles increase as they mature and ripen, garden fresh jalapeno chiles can create a burn to sensitive hands that will last for days.
For a healthy summer meal, Thai Chicken Fried Rice is a one-dish entrée that is spicy, fresh, and full of flavor. After making this entrée and seeing my pickiest eaters ask for seconds and thirds, I’ve decided that this recipe is a keeper. So if you, too, are in need of some new cuisine, pull out your wok and start making some Thai Chicken Fried Rice.
Thai Chicken Fried Rice (4-6 servings)
1 Tbsp. honey or raw blue agave
3 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
2 boneless skinless chicken pieces
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 cloves garlic
3 jalapeno chiles
8 medium scallions
fresh cilantro leaves (about ¼ cup)
- In small bowl, mix honey or agave with fish and soy sauces. Set aside.
- Cut chicken into ½-inch pieces and season with salt. Set aside.
- Chop onion into small pieces. Set aside.
- Mince garlic. Set aside.
- Mince and seed chiles. Set aside.
- Thinly slice scallions. Set aside.
- Mince cilantro. Set aside.
1 ½ teaspoons peanut oil
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- Heat 12-inch skillet or wok over medium heat until hot, about 2 minutes.
- Add peanut oil and swirl to coat bottom of pan.
- Add eggs and scramble, breaking them into small pieces with wooden spoon. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until eggs are cooked through but not browned.
- Transfer eggs to small bowl and set aside.
1 ½ teaspoons peanut oil
1 tsp. curry paste (or 1 Tablespoon curry sauce)
- Return pan to burner. Increase heat to high and heat skillet until hot, about 1 minute.
- Add 1 ½ tsp. oil and swirl to coat bottom of skillet or wok.
- Add 1 tsp. curry and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add CHICKEN PIECES and cook, stirring constantly, until cooked through, about 2 minutes.
- Transfer to small bowl and set aside.
2 ½ Tablespoons peanut oil
1 Tablespoon curry paste (or 3 Tablespoons curry sauce)
6 cups cold cooked brown or white jasmine rice
- Return skillet to high heat and heat until hot, about 1 minute. Add 2 ½ Tablespoons oil and swirl to coat bottom of skillet or wok.
- Add ONION and 1 Tablespoon curry. Cook, stirring constantly, until onion is softened, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in GARLIC and CHILES. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add RICE and FISH SAUCE MIXTURE. Cook, stirring constantly and breaking up rice clumps until mixture is heated through, about 3 minutes.
- Add EGGS and CHICKEN. Cook, stirring constantly until heated through, about 1 minute.
- Add SCALLIONS and CILANTRO. Cook, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds.
4 limes, quartered
- Transfer fried rice to medium size platter.
- Garnish with lime wedges.
- Brown rice needs to be cooked with more water than white rice. For every cup of brown rice, use 2 ¼ cups of water.
- The hot flavor of jalapenos can be tempered by taking out the seeds and the veins. By doing so, you will be able to enjoy the sweet heat of the jalapeno chiles in your Thai dishes without burning your mouth.
- Canola oil can be substituted for peanut oil for those with peanut allergies.
- raw blue agave or honey
- fish sauce
- soy sauce
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- sea salt
- peanut oil (or canola)
- curry paste or sauce
- 1 onion
- 1 bulb garlic
- 3 jalapeno chiles
- brown or white jasmine rice
- 1 bunch scallions (about ¼ pound)
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves (enough for a ¼ cup)
- 4 limes