Curry-Basil Fried Rice Appreciation (and Recipe)

Why, I suppose this is something of a Thai Tuesday, being that day of the week and all.


Since J. Legume and I carried home a 25 lb bag of jasmine rice last month, there’s been a whole lot of rice with our dinners and a subsequent stream of fried rice for lunch the following days. It’s always tasty and simply makes sense when you have half a summer squash, the end of a cabbage head, a handful of mushrooms and a bit of tofu or seitan in the fridge to play with. Seriously, I eat this at least twice a week during the summer.

Fried rice takes one hot pan and a few basic ingredients: that rice from the night before, veggies, soy sauce, sesame oil, pinches of sugar and pepper, and maybe some baked cubes or smoked strips of tofu to make lunch happen. Or lately, some tofu just scrambled in, breakfast style.

To keep things interesting, I’ll often add a handful of Thai basil (which I usually seem to have, BECAUSE I ADORE IT, if not that, any variety will do — it’s just extra great when paired with smoked tofu in this), and if I’m feeling it, some curry powder or even some curry paste. It gives almost a Malaysian feel to the rice, and most importantly, is a super quick, super easy and super hot lunch. It’s why I feel utterly stupid even considering ordering it a Thai restaurant. Give me my curry and noodles!

Operation Clean-Out-the-Fridge presents: Curry-Basil Fried Rice with Applewood-Smoked Tofu

Curry-Basil Fried Rice with Scrambled Tofu (because if you can’t share a go-to, simple recipe during VeganMoFo, when should you?)

…adapted from whatever recipe I used to make fried rice for the first time in my early twenties and every whim and right since then.


  • leftover cold, white rise (jasmine is my pick) > for the sake of this being a recipe, let’s say 1 cup’s worth, but this whole thing is flexible
  • 1 teaspoon oil > I often use peanut or canola to begin
  • one or two handfuls of chopped, fresh vegetables you’d like in your fried rice (one caveat: if you’re using leafy greens, I prefer to add them with the garlic, but whatever works)
  • 1 minced Thai bird’s eye chili or other small hot pepper or nice pinch of crushed red pepper
  • pinch of fresh black pepper > though if you have white on hand, that’s even better, I’ve been out…
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder > I’ve used storebought Masala and homemade Vietnamese curry powder in this
  • pinch of turmeric
  • pinch of salt > do use black salt if you have it on hand
  • half a block of firm tofu, drained
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • pinch sugar > I prefer to use coconut palm or white sugar
  • good drizzle of toasted or black sesame oil
  • 1/2 – 1 tablespoon soy sauce > you can always add more once you serve it
  • handful of Thai (aka holy) basil, roughly minced

Making your fried rice:

Heat the initial oil in a pan (I vote cast iron), add the vegetables (see note about greens) and chili pepper, and stir fry for 3-5 minutes on medium heat. Cook a bit longer if you’re using mushrooms, for example. Add the ground pepper, turmeric, salt, curry powder and garlic (and those leafy greens, if using any). Cook, stirring constantly, for another minute. Next, add the tofu, crumbling with your hands as you add it to the pan. Use a spatula to flip as you cook, letting it lightly brown on one side and then onto another.

Now, add the rice, sesame oil, sugar and soy sauce, stirring well as it cooks for another 2-3 minutes. If you’re experiencing a lot of sticking, add a splash of water or a bit more sesame oil.

Lastly, toss in the Thai basil, remove from heat, and serve, garnishing with additional basil and adding more hot sauce and soy sauce to taste.

Curry-Basil Fried Rice with Summer Squash, Shiitakes, Collard Greens and Scrambled Tofu

Curry-Basil Fried Rice with Minced Seitan & Scrambled Tofu

One my goals this VeganMoFo has been actually writing down things I’ve been doing for years, so check-mark.


  1. Gosh, this sounds so good and exactly the kind of meal we like to eat too. I remember Neal bought a humongo bag of jasmine rice once from the Asian market and I was all–we’ll never eat all that. We did though.

  2. I’m all over this! Ever since I discovered how brilliantly basil works with hot curries, I feel compelled to add it every time I make anything vaguely spicy. Never mind that I don’t have proper Thai basil- Standard Italian basil is plenty delicious too.

  3. For some reason, I always fail at improvising such a dish. I’ll keep your recipe/guidelines for my next experiment. Thanks!

    I often cook rice, or other grains, and after one meal, it just sits in the fridge, and I can never find something exciting to do with it. That would be a great solution, I think.

  4. These combinations sound so much nicer than any fried rice recipe I’ve ever made and they all looks gorgeous. I’m a huge fan of thai basil too!

  5. This fried rice looks fantastic. I’ve always been a fan of fried rice but somehow never think of it. In fact I don’t think I’ve had any since becoming vegan…. something I MUST change soon.

  6. At some point, I realized that in years of blogging, I’d never posted recipes for most of my go-to meals, either. My daily cooking is usually pretty exciting (to me!), but I used to feel like those meals weren’t exciting /enough/ to actually blog about. Nowadays I try to strike a balance.

    Fried rice is one of my go-to clean-out-the-fridge meals, but it’s always nice to see other peoples’ twists on it! I’ll have to try the curry route some time.

  7. What a great idea! I love easy go-to recipes and I see no reason why not to share! I mean, we all love those easy yet satisfying dishes after a long day! This looks great and I must try it! I am discussing sandwich toppings today. I hope you will drop by 🙂

  8. Hello fellow Vegan Mofo’er 🙂

    Love your “Curry Basil Fried Rice” and would like to link to your recipe on the Vegan Mofo round up post on my blog this Friday.
    Nice to meet you btw.

    P.S. Connect with me on Facebook (CandidaDietPlan), @candidadiettips on Twitter and Sandra Boehner on Pinterest so you see when the post goes live 😉

  9. Ha! I love how you suggest white pepper and black salt for this recipe…..just the weird sort of thing that amuses me.

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