Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chicken Fried Rice (Khao Phad Kai)

Chicken fried rice is always a popular choice at mealtimes, both with kids and adults. But most homemade versions of fried rice don't taste nearly as good as those made in a restaurant. If you've found this to be the case, what you may be lacking are a few fried rice tips (included in this recipe). Make this dish as spicy or mild as you like, according to how much chili you want to add (it can also be omitted, especially if you're feeding kids). A super dish to eat on its own, this chicken fried rice recipe also makes a good basic accompaniment to other Thai/Asian recipes. Enjoy!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: SERVES 2 as a Main Entree



  • 4 cups cooked rice, preferably several days old (see recipe)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup cooked chicken or turkey, OR fresh (uncooked) chicken, cut into very small pieces
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 minced green or red chili, OR 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce (plus more to taste)
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 egg
  • 3 spring (green) onions, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil OR coriander/cilantro


Tip: it's best to use "old" rice for this recipe. If using newly-cooked rice, put it in a large bowl and let it sit uncovered in the refrigerator for a few hours to dry it out.
  1. First, prepare cold rice by drizzling over 1 Tbsp. of the oil. Use your fingers to mix the oil in with the rice and separate the rice grains, removing any clumps.
  2. Place remaining oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add garlic and chili. Stir-fry until fragrant (30 seconds to 1 minute).
  3. Add chicken plus 2 Tbsp. stock. Stir-fry enough to thoroughly warm the meat if cooked. If raw, stir fry until meat is well cooked (3-5 minutes). Add remaining stock, as necessary, to prevent the pan from becoming dry and to keep ingredients sizzling.
  4. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, push ingredients aside and crack the egg into the middle of the wok/pan. Stir quickly to cook and break up the egg (like making scrambled eggs).
  5. When egg is cooked, add the rice plus fish sauce. Stir fry, keeping the heat medium-high. Do not add any more stock/liquid at this point, or your rice will become soggy. You want it hot and dry and light-textured.
  6. Add frozen peas and continue to stir-fry another 2-3 minutes, or until you can hear the rice "popping". Cooking Tip: If you find the rice is sticking, push the rice aside and add a little more oil to the bottom of the pan - this will make the rice "shine", like restaurant quality fried rice.
  7. Do a taste-test for saltiness. If not salty or flavorful enough, add more fish sauce. If too salty for your taste (this will depend on the stock you used), add up to 1 Tbsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice.
  8. Sprinkle with spring onion and basil or coriander, and serve piping hot from the wok/pan. Thai chili sauce can be served on the side. Enjoy!

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