Looking for delicious vegan Thai fried rice? This vegan Thai fried rice recipe is exactly what you need. It has the simplicity of Thai dishes and uses pantry staples like rice, Thai basil, garlic, chillies (optional), and vegan friendly mushroom seasoning in place of oyster sauce.
Throw in any vegetable you have lying in the fridge and you’ve got yourself a delicious bowl of fried rice. I’ll walk you through how to make this dish with freshly cooked rice and a few other bits like:
- 8 Reasons Why You Need This Fried Rice Recipe
- The Best Rice For Fried Rice
- 5 Vegan Thai Fried Rice Tips
- Ingredients & Substitutes
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How To Make Vegan Thai Fried Rice At Home
Skip this post and jump straight to the vegan Thai fried rice recipe, or stick around for some tips and tricks straight from a Thai kitchen.
8 Reasons Why You Need This Fried Rice Recipe
Trust me when I say you need this vegan Thai fried rice recipe. It’s based on a Thai stir fry dish with holy basil called kra pao. This version is vegan friendly and doesn’t use oyster sauce or fish sauce -common ingredients in fried rice.
Here are 8 more reasons you need this vegan thai fried rice:
- It’s delicious
- It’s an authentic recipe straight from my Thai Mom
- You can customize everything from the veggies that go in, to the spice level!
- It’s vegan friendly
- The perfect dish for leftovers or anything lying in your fridge
- This Thai fried rice is incredibly easy to make
- It’s gluten free!
- Make this Thai fried rice in 10 minutes or less.
Do I need to say more? Now that we’ve covered why you need this recipe, let’s get into the important part. Which rice is the best for frying?
The Best Rice For Fried Rice
The best rice for fried rice is day old rice or rice that has been dried. Day old rice or dried rice is perfect for fried rice because the grains are separated. This means the sauces and seasonings can coat each grain perfectly.
Clumpy fried rice is a faux pas in Asia and fresh rice is clumpy. It’s moist and the grains stick together. Typically, fried rice is made with leftover rice but you’re not always going to have that in the fridge.
While rice that has been refrigerated overnight is highly recommended, you can make this Thai fried rice recipe with freshly cooked rice too! Once it’s cooked, spread it out like this:
And let it cool completely. You can even put it in the fridge while you prepare your ingredients. Here are 5 more tips for clump-free rice:
5 Tips for Clump-Free Rice
No one wants clumpy or mushy fried rice, so here are some tips to help avoid any fried rice disasters in the kitchen:
- Use the right kind of rice: White, brown, Basmati, or Jasmine are great for frying. Use long or medium grain rice for fluffy fried rice.
- Rinse the rice: Rinsing the rice before cooking removes excess starch. This starch is what makes the rice clump together. I always rinse my rice 3 times or at least until the water runs clear and isn’t cloudy.
- Cook the rice according to the package: The water to rice ratio will vary depending on the type of rice you use. Be sure to follow the instructions on the package to avoid mushy rice.
- Use dry rice: It doesn’t have to be day old rice. You can use freshly cooked rice as long as it’s been laid out to dry or placed in the fridge.
- Break up the clumps: Make sure to separate large clumps of rice (if there are any) before cooking. Running a fork through the rice is a good idea.
The tips don’t stop here, folks. I’ve got more fried rice tips for you in the next section. Take it from someone who was a mess in the kitchen before these tips came along.
5 Vegan Thai Fried Rice Tips
A fried thai rice recipe can take minutes to whip up if you do these things:
- Prepare everything ahead of time: Chop, dice, pound, and prepare your ingredients ahead of time. Making fried rice takes minutes because the cooking process is lightning fast and requires constant attention. You’re going to burn something if you spend those minutes or seconds chopping.
- Keep your ingredients close by: Make sure your ingredients are within arms reach so you can keep a close eye on your vegan thai fried rice.
- Use a non-stick wok: Nothing is more annoying than food sticking to a pan. Use a non-stick wok or pan to avoid this.
- Don’t use too much liquid seasoning: Adding too much liquid seasoning will result in gloopy or mushy fried rice. Season with salt or powdered seasonings instead of adding more soy sauce.
- Add the ingredients in the right order: The order the ingredients go into the pan are important. Start with aromatics to bring out their flavors. Add ingredients that take longer to cook first. Rice and sauces are always the last thing to go in.
10 vegan thai fried rice tips later and here we are. You’ll need the right ingredients to make this authentic Thai fried rice recipe. And if you don’t have access to “the right ingredients” then we’ve got you covered with substitutes.
Ingredients & Substitutes
This vegan fried rice recipe is based on one of my favorite Thai dishes made with Thai basil, oyster sauce and fish sauce. Living abroad means I don’t always have the right ingredients. And on top of that, oyster sauce and fish sauce isn’t vegan.
Let’s have a look at the ingredients and substitutes for this vegan Thai fried rice recipe:
- Oyster sauce
- Thai basil
Jasmine rice is the authentic choice but you can use any kind of rice for this vegan Thai fried rice recipe. White, brown, Basmati, red, or even substitute with cauliflower for a low carb option.
I used mushroom sauce instead of oyster sauce. It’s basically vegan oyster sauce. Use more soy sauce in place if you don’t have access to this substitute. I’m using the healthy boy brand because it’s what my Asian supermarket had but Lee Kum Kee stir fry sauce is a popular option for many vegans and vegetarians.
You can use vegan fish sauce but I don’t think it’s necessary and left it out of the recipe.
Bird’s eye chillies are small and pack a big punch. You can use regular large chillies and deseed the chillies for less heat. Or omit them entirely if you can’t tolerate spicy food.
Thai basil is different from Italian basil in taste, smell and appearance but you can use it in place of Thai basil.
As you can see, Thai basil has purple stems and Italian basil has green stems. Thai basil leaves are narrower compared to Italian basil. In terms of taste, Thai basil has licorice, citrus and grassy notes.
This is an “everything but the kitchen sink type” of recipe. Which means you can add whatever vegetables you want into this vegan fried rice recipe. I used french beans because that’s what my Mom always used but you can use zucchini, broccoli, bell peppers, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, snap peas, kale, gai lan, or frozen vegetable mix.
Another great thing about this recipe is that you can basically throw in any leftovers you have for toppings.
Add some leftover tempeh or tofu and serve this Thai vegan fried rice with tofu. Need more protein? Add seitan chunks, Vegan mince options, tofu crumble, or an egg for your vegetarian friends. Try adding peanuts, cashews, green onions, or coriander to jazz up your thai vegan fried rice.
Before we get cooking, let’s answer some of the most commonly asked questions about fried rice.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a lot of questions when it comes to Thai fried rice vegetarian recipes and even more with vegan stir fried rice. Let’s answer them:
What’s The Difference Between Regular Fried Rice and Thai Fried Rice?
Popular fried rice is takeout style Chinese fried rice that uses soy sauce as the main seasoning. Thai fried rice uses oyster and fish sauce instead. Regular fried rice often has more leafy greens and vegetables compared to Thai fried rice.
It’s also important to note that every Asian country has their own version of fried rice. And every family has their own variation of that dish.
Why Does Thai Fried Rice Taste Different?
Any regular, vegan or vegetable thai fried rice you eat will have fish sauce, oyster sauce, bird’s eye chillies, and thai basil. All of these ingredients are special in their own way and bring out that distinct Thai flavor. Speaking of chillies, is Thai fried rice spicy?
Is it spicy?
Yes and no. Growing up in a Thai household and living in Thailand meant lots of chillies. But that doesn’t mean Thai fried rice has to be spicy. This vegan Thai fried rice recipe is not that spicy and uses 1-2 large chillies. Feel free to leave this ingredient out altogether if you’re not a fan of heat.
Is fried rice vegan?
Fried rice isn’t always vegan. Even if you remove protein like chicken or eggs from the dish, seasonings like oyster sauce and fish sauce are typically found in fried rice dishes.
Meatless versions are common but be sure to check if you’re ordering fried rice at a restaurant. Chances are that there’s oyster sauce in there. These seasonings aren’t considered animal products in Asia. This recipe uses 100% vegan mushroom sauce in place of oyster sauce.
After answering all those questions, it’s finally time to make this vegan Thai fried rice recipe!
How To Make Vegan Thai Fried Rice At Home
If you read the post then you’ll know that step 1: Prepare all the ingredients in advance. Make sure the sauces are mixed, chop the vegetables, pound the garlic and chilli, and make sure the rice is clump-free.
To start cooking Thai fried rice with basil, heat a wok or large pan with oil on medium high heat. Add the pounded chillies and saute them for 30 seconds. After that, add the garlic, and saute for another 30 seconds.
To the pan, add the basil and green beans. Pour in 1/4 cup of water and mix everything together. Place a lid and cook this for about 2 minutes until the green beans are softened. This technique works well because it softens any tough veggies.
When the green beans are soft, turn up the heat and add the sauces. Add in the rice and stir everything together for 2-3 minutes. Taste the Thai veg fried rice and adjust the seasonings to your liking with extra salt.
And there you have it, folks. Vegan thai fried rice in under 10 minutes. Make this basil thai fried rice with your next batch of leftover rice or use our tip for freshly cooked rice and make this vegan thai fried rice for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. What’s your favorite thing to add to fried rice?
Looking for more vegan and vegetarian Asian recipes? Click here for 21 of them!
Vegan Thai Fried Rice
This vegan Thai fried rice is so delicious and easy to make. It's based on a Thai stir fry dish with holy basil called kra pao. This version is vegan friendly and doesn't use oyster sauce or fish sauce -common ingredients in fried rice.
- 4 cups of cooked rice (day old or not) *see notes if using freshly cooked rice
- Handful or more of Thai holy basil (you can substitute with European basil but use more)
- 5 cloves of garlic (pounded) or 5 tbs garlic oil
- 2 chillies or less depending on how spicy you want it
- 1 cup chopped green beans
- optional: Add protein to the dish with tofu or tempeh
- 4 tbs oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 tbs mushroom seasoning or vegetarian oyster sauce
- 2 tbs sweet soy
- 2 tbs water
Tip: prepare the vegetables ahead of time.
Chop the green beans.
Pound the garlic and chilli.
Mix the soy sauce, mushroom sauce and water together.
Add the oil into a large wok on medium high heat.
Add in the chillies and saute for 30 seconds.
Add the garlic and saute for an additional 30 seconds.
Add the basil and the green beans. Pour in 1/4 cup of water and place a lid. Cook the vegetables for about 2 minutes until soften.
After the veggies have softened, add in the sauce.
Turn the heat up to high and add in the rice.
Mix everything together and stir fry on high heat for 3 minutes.
Season with salt to taste and serve.
*if you're using freshly cooked rice, make sure to dry it out. Place the rice on a piece of parchment paper and allow to cool for 30 minutes or so. You can also put it in the fridge while you prepare the vegetables.