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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. —Betty
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
- Start by smashing the garlic, chile peppers, and white onion for the sauce together until juices begin to run.
- Heat up a wok on high until smoking. Add in oil. Add the garlic, chile pepper, onion mix and stir immediately to prevent burning.
- Turn heat to medium and cook tofu for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring only occasionally, until browned. Flip and cook the other side.
- Add bell peppers and stir-fry for a few turns.
- 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.
- Add in rice and stir until sauce and rice are well mixed.
- Taste-test and add more sugar or salt to your preference.
- Turn off heat and immediately stir in fresh Thai basil leaves.
- Top with a squeeze of lime juice and fresh scallions.
- This recipe is a Community Pick!