Fried rice is a very typical Thai street food, available at every restaurant that serves stir fried dishes throughout the Thailand.
In this Thai fried rice recipe with shrimp, you’ll learn how to make a delicious plate of fried rice just like you’d find it in Thailand.
Let’s get cooking!
Thai fried rice (khao pad ข้าวผัด)
Really quickly before we begin with this fried rice recipe, let’s go over a few details.
In Thailand, fried rice along with basil chicken (or other variations), are dishes that nearly every stir fry restaurant serves, especially common at street food stalls.
You can order Thai fried rice with your choice of meat, but one of my personal favorite versions is known in Thai as khao pad goong (ข้าวผัดกุ้ง), or fried rice with shrimp.
The reason I like it so much, because if you peel the shrimp, but leave the head on, so the oily goodness from the head of the shrimp acts like a sauce to coat the rice in red buttery shrimp flavor – it’s amazing (I’ll show you how in this recipe).
That being said, you can make this Thai fried rice recipe with shrimp or any other meat or protein you like.
Ingredients you’ll need
Note: If you want to get straight to the recipes details, scroll down to the video and recipe box below. But keep reading here, for a more in-depth overview of Thai fried rice.
One of the things that really makes this fried rice Thai (from other types of fried rice from around the world), is that Thai fried rice is served with a wedge of lime on the side, and something known as prik nam pla (พริกน้ำปลา), which is a condiment of chillies and fish sauce to garnish the fried rice.
I’m going to make this Thai fried rice recipe using shrimp, egg, Chinese broccoli (kailan), garlic, onions, green onions, and rice.
The best way to approach the shrimp is to start with whole fresh shrimp.
Pinch off the head, and de-shell the body, but keep the tail on (for Thai style), and try to retain the shrimp oil from inside the head on top of the body. This is what will give you fried rice a wonderful red orange color, and a nice rich flavor.
One more think, I don’t normally devein small shrimp like this, but you can if you’d like.
Best kind of rice to use?
In Thailand, fragrant jasmine rice is the favorite.
When it comes to rice for fried rice, it’s best to actually use day-old rice. That way, the rice is a little dried so it doesn’t get mushy or clump together when you stir fry it.
However if you must use freshly steamed rice, just try to make sure your bowl of rice has cooled off and that it’s somewhat dried out before you get started.
If you try to fry your rice when it’s still sticky and moist, it will stick to the pan a lot easier, and it also won’t give you that nice dry fried rice that you’re going for.
Chilies and fish sauce (prik nam pla พริกน้ำปลา)
Along with the fried rice itself, the most essential component of this Thai fried rice recipe is a condiment known as prik nam pla (พริกน้ำปลา).
No matter what Thai street food restaurant you eat at, you’ll always find this delicious condiment on your table.
Prik nam pla (chilies and fish sauce พริกน้ำปลา) is really nothing more than diced chilies mixed with fish sauce (here’s the one I typically use), and sometimes a squeeze of lime juice, and that’s it.
A little sprinkle of the fish sauce and some fresh chilies on top of your plate of fried rice, plus an extra squeeze of lime juice, take each bite of fried rice to the next level, and truly makes it Thai fried rice from any other type of fried rice.
Ok, now let’s get into the full recipe.
(If you can’t see the video, watch it on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/mV3m2svj3XE)
Thai fried rice recipe with shrimp (ข้าวผัดกุ้ง)
Time: About 15 minutes as long as you have all the ingredients ready to go
Recipe size: This recipe is just for 1 single plate dish that serves 1 person
Cooking Utensils: I like to use a Chinese style wok, spatula
Eat it with: A sprinkle of black pepper, fish sauce and chilies, and a squeeze of fresh lime
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- 1.5 cups of cooked Jasmine rice cooled (or day old rice works well too) - Or just estimate about 1 normal bowl full
- About 5 - 10 shrimp, head peeled, but tail on
- ¼ of a big white onion (or ½ of a very small white onion, like I used)
- 1 leaf of Chinese broccoli (or any crisp green leafy vegetable)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 egg
- ½ tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon oyster sauce
- Pinch of sugar (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of oil for frying
- 5 Thai chilies
- 3 tablespoons of fish sauce
- ½ of a lime
- If you’re using whole fresh shrimp like I did, first pinch off the head, and peel the outer shell of the shrimp, leaving only the tail on (that’s Thai style). You can also devein them if you’d like, but for small shrimp, to me it doesn’t really matter.
- Peel 2 cloves of garlic, and then just finely mince them
- Slice ¼ of a sweet white onion into medium sized strips
- Finely dice about 3 - 4 green onions
- Take just 1 leaf of Chinese broccoli (kai-lan), slice it in half first along the spine, and then slice it into 1 centimeter sized strips
- Turn on your stove to medium high, heat up your wok (or frying pan), and add about 1 tablespoon of oil
- Once your oil is hot, add the garlic first, and stir fry continuously for about 15 seconds or so, until it gets nice and fragrant
- Next, toss in your shrimp, and fry for about 30 seconds - your shrimp should start to turn pink and feel more firm
- Add in a little less than ½ of your rice first. This is going to soak up all those delicious shrimp juices and oils and keep your rice nice and dry. Stir fry for about 10 more seconds - This is a little known trick to make good rice, so it remains nice and dry
- Scoot all your rice to one side of the pan, and then crack in the egg into the empty side
- Whirl the egg up, let it cook for a few seconds, and then start to mix it up with the rice and shrimp
- Keep stir frying for about 20 seconds until the egg is fully cooked, and then add in the rest of your rice, and give it a quick stir
- Add ½ tablespoon of soy sauce, ½ tablespoon of oyster sauce, just a pinch of sugar (optional), and continue stir frying your rice, making sure all the sauce get mixed in
- Then add your chopped Chinese broccoli and onions, and stir fry for another 30 seconds until the vegetables wilt, but they can still be crisp and not fully cooked
- Lastly, toss in your green onions, stir it a few more seconds, and it’s ready
- Immediately dish your fried rice onto a plate
- Slice off a wedge of lime, and serve it on the plate next to the rice
- For the final touch, I like to sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper on top to give some extra flavor
- Add 3 tablespoons of fish sauce to a small bowl
- Slice about 5 Thai chilies (you can add more or less, up to you), and add them to the fish sauce
- Finally, I like it with a little squeeze of about ½ of a lime - but this is optional - and at many Thai restaurants it’s only fish sauce and chilies
- That’s is, give it a stir, and set it aside
Another thing I like to do, before I start eating fried rice, is to sprinkle on some freshly ground black pepper. This just adds another lovely subtle flavor to the dish.
Then I like to dig into my bowl of chili and fish sauce (prik nam pla), and scoop up some of that delicious flavor and generously put it onto each bite.
And again, the reason the Thai fried rice comes out so orange in color, is due to the shrimp head oils.
If you use fresh shrimp, and they still have the head-on, you still peel off the head before cooking, but try to keep most of the inside of the head still connected – this will add that lovely shrimp oil to your fried rice, making it all the more delicious, and you’ll the orange color as well.
One of the best simple dishes to make with day old rice is fried rice, and it’s without a doubt a contender for the most comforting food in the world (at least I think so).
This authentic Thai fried rice recipe is similar to other versions of fried rice, but it has a few distinct variations, especially the fish sauce and chilies that you eat it with.