Thai Basil Fried Rice with Tofu

September 28, 2015

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

Thai basil is a highly underused herb. It gives a faint licorice fragrance that completely transforms the flavors in a dish. Here, the Thai basil is added right when the heat is turned off. When the fresh Thai basil is gently folded into the steamy rice and still-hot wok, it transforms the entire dish and enhances the flavors of the garlic, chile peppers, and sauce. Immediately a most wonderful smell will waft up. Serve with a gentle squeeze of lime.


Serves: 4


For the fried rice:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 package firm tofu, cut into bite-sized pieces (1/2- to 1-inch)
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 white onion, sliced
  • 3 cups cooked rice, cooled
  • 1/2 cup fresh Thai basil
  • 1 lime
  • 1 scallion, sliced on the bias

For the sauce:

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Thai chile peppers, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons finely diced white onion
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
In This Recipe


  1. Start by smashing the garlic, chile peppers, and white onion for the sauce together until juices begin to run.
  2. Heat up a wok on high until smoking. Add in oil. Add the garlic, chile pepper, onion mix and stir immediately to prevent burning.
  3. Turn heat to medium and cook tofu for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring only occasionally, until browned. Flip and cook the other side.
  4. Add bell peppers and stir-fry for a few turns.
  5. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients (soy sauce through vegetable oil) and stir. When bell peppers are almost done, add in onion slices and stir fry for about 30 seconds, until onions are translucent but still have a crunch.
  6. Add in rice and stir until sauce and rice are well mixed.
  7. Taste-test and add more sugar or salt to your preference.
  8. Turn off heat and immediately stir in fresh Thai basil leaves.
  9. Top with a squeeze of lime juice and fresh scallions.

More Great Recipes:
Thai|Chinese|Bell Pepper|Chile Pepper|Grains|Green Onion/Scallion|Soy Sauce|Tofu|Rice|Basil|Stir-Fry|Weeknight Cooking

Reviews (6) Questions (0)

6 Reviews

Kat December 6, 2018
Fantastic and that's coming from a Thai food snob. It was also a very easy and quick dish perfect for weeknights. I made it fully vegetarian with my homemade vegan fish sauce (google for recipes but you basically simmer seaweed, soy sauce, garlic and black peppercorns for a hour, turn off the heat, strain and add a spoonful of white miso) and I replace the oyster sauce with Lee Kum Kee Vegetarian Mushroom Stir Fry Sauce.
Gardener September 11, 2016
Delicious! We liked this fried rice so much I made it twice in four days (wanted to use up all the tofu). Served it tonight with teriyaki salmon for a perfect meal - with leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Already looking forward ...
knittingbaker January 13, 2016
Great recipe! I doubled it to ensure ample leftovers and cut back on the thai chiles so it would appeal to my preschooler's palate. The thai basil, in my opinion, is really essential; it makes this dish!
Julie January 13, 2016
This was so amazing!!!!! A famille hit!!!! Thank You for this wonderful recipe!!
Suma C. December 27, 2015
made as written loved it! easy to make ahead for my meals for the week! And had most ingredients on hand.
Lisa October 17, 2015
Amazingly flavorful and incredibly fragrant. It is very addictive. Have eaten and made fried rice all of my life, this is definitely the best, it tops my favorite nasigoreng. Thank you for sharing this great, ingenious recipe.