One cuisine I realized I don’t cook very often is Thai food, so I thought this week we could change that. For someone who eats Thai food at least once a week, I’m surprised I haven’t made my own rendition of my favourite dishes. I was inspired to make my twist on a traditional fried rice by adding in Thai flavours like mint, lime, and lemongrass. These ingredients might seem odd and even a bit intimidating to add to a dish that usually doesn’t have such a bright flavour profile. I can assure you, that not only is this a very simple recipe (and friendly on a student budget), but it’s extremely delicious. The moment I was done taking photos, I scarfed down nearly the entire pan of rice.
In my recipe, I use a store bought red Thai curry paste which is great for those of you who don’t have the time to make your own. It’s an easy way to also get in the bright flavours of lemongrass, ginger, and kaffir lime leaves without having to make your own paste and search for these ingredients. You can call me a cheat for using it, but I call it smart. If you do know how to make your own Thai curry paste, be my guest and use it!
Thai Inspired Fried RicePrint Recipe
- 1/3 cup of raw cashews
- 1/2 a green pepper, chopped
- 1/2 a floret of broccoli, chopped
- 1 peeled carrot, chopped
- 1/2 a large onion, chopped
- 1 large handful of chopped puffed tofu (regular tofu is good too)
- 1/3 cup of chopped pineapple (fresh or frozen)
- Soy sauce
- White or black pepper
- 1 tbsp of Thai red curry paste
- Left over rice (enough for the amount of people you're cooking for)
- 5-6 finely chopped mint leaves
- The juice of 1 lime
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 handful of cilantro, chopped
- Optional: coconut chips
In a dry pan on low heat, add in cashews and toast for 5 minutes. Shake the pan every 30 seconds to keep the nuts from burning. After they have turned a light golden brown, set the nuts aside into a bowl.
In the same pan bring it up to a medium high heat and add in a teaspoon of flavourless oil. Throw in your vegetables, tofu and pineapple, as well as a drizzle of soy sauce (1 tsp at a time) and add a pinch of pepper. Mix this together until the onion turns translucent/is cooked all the way through. Put your veggies aside and place them in the same bowl as your cashews.
In that pan, add in more oil and add the Thai curry paste. I used red curry but any Thai spiced paste will do, be sure that there is no fish sauce by reading the ingredients! After a minute, add in the leftover rice, I put in 3 cups of the cooked rice in total. It's important to use leftover rice because there is less moisture so you can get it crispy! Break the rice apart in the pan and blend it with the curry paste. After 3 or so minutes, your rice should get some colour on it this means it's time to add in the vegetables and cashews you put aside. Pour everything back into the pan and add in the mint, cilantro, green onion (reserve some green onion and cilantro for a garnish at the end) and squeeze in your lime.
After mixing everything together, give your rice a final taste and add in more pepper or soy sauce if it's lacking in some flavour. Cook this all together for 3 - 5 minutes, stirring often to ensure the rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Once you're happy with the taste, it's time to serve! I like to finish my fried rice off with more green onion and cilantro, toasted coconut, and a wedge of lime on the side.
Add in 1 tsp of soy sauce at a time when seasoning, less is more!