This Thai Basil Fried Rice recipe brings a dynamic twist to the traditional Thai basil chicken by swapping chicken with ground turkey and combined with everything we love about fried rice. The turkey is marinated in a simple sauce for the tastiest fried rice dish you’ve ever had.
Table of Contents
- What is Thai Basil Fried Rice?
- Why You’ll Love This Thai Basil Fried Rice Recipe
- Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Thai Basil Fried Rice At Home
- How to Make Thai Basil Fried Rice (Step by Step)
- Joyce's Tips For Making the Best Thai Basil Fried Rice Every Single Time
- Serving Suggestions
- Recipe Variation Ideas for Thai Basil Fried Rice
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How to Store Leftover Thai Basil Fried Rice
- Recipes To Use Up Leftover Oyster Sauce
- More Turkey Recipes You May Like
- Did You Make This Thai Basil Fried Rice Recipe?
- Recipe Card
This Thai basil turkey fried rice recipe is perfect for an easy weeknight dinner and is ready in just 30 minutes! It’s an ideal dish to prepare at home, whether you are looking for a wholesome one-bowl meal or a flavorful side dish to complement your main course.
The highlight of this Thai Basil Fried Rice recipe is the use of ground turkey, which is a great substitute for traditional chicken or pork. The turkey infuses the dish with a unique flavor profile giving you a standout dish that’s worth making at home. And the Thai basil leaves take this dish to the next level!
If you're looking for more simple fried rice, then you definitely should also check out my classic Chinese Egg Fried Rice recipe as well.
That being said, if you're looking for a more traditional Thai basil dish, you can also try my traditional Thai Basil Chicken recipe as well.
Read on to learn exactly how to make this delicious Thai basil fried rice recipe today.
What is Thai Basil Fried Rice?
Thai Basil Fried Rice is a popular dish hailing from Southeast Asia, particularly enjoyed in Thailand.
This flavorful dish is a delightful combination of jasmine rice stir-fried with protein - traditionally chicken, pork, beef, tofu, or shrimp - and a combination of vegetables such as bell peppers and onions.
The dish is tossed in a wok with a savory blend of soy sauce, oyster sauce, and fish sauce, and then tossed with fresh Thai basil leaves at the very end.
This Thai fried rice recipe offers a unique twist by using ground turkey as the protein. A flavorful marinade elevates the taste of the turkey. This is complemented by a variety of diced vegetables providing a hearty portion of vegetables.
Trust me, you’re going to fall in love with this dish, just like I did!
Why You’ll Love This Thai Basil Fried Rice Recipe
Easy to Prepare: This Thai basil fried rice recipe is straightforward and simple, requiring only some chopping and a quick stir-fry in the pan. It’s perfect for those busy weeknight dinners when you need a dish that’s easy to whip up, especially since it uses ground meat.
Versatile: This dish can be adapted to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs. You can easily switch out the ground turkey for other proteins like chicken, beef, shrimp, tofu, or even eggs. The vegetables can also be substituted with whatever you have on hand.
Detailed instructions: The detailed instructions in this recipe, ranging from how to marinate the turkey to the precise way to prep the vegetables, ensure a foolproof cooking process even for beginners.
Full of Flavor: Marinated turkey, the aromatic flavors of fresh basil, and the savory blend of soy sauce, fish sauce, and oyster sauce, make this Thai basil fried rice recipe incredibly tasty. The optional birdseye chili can kick the spice level up a notch, or be left out for a milder taste.
Crowd-Pleaser: This Thai basil fried rice is a dish that will impress at any gathering. Its vibrant flavors, coupled with its versatility to cater to different dietary preferences, make it a surefire hit with everyone.
Healthier Option: By using lean ground turkey as the protein, this dish becomes a healthier alternative to traditional fried rice recipes. Plus, the addition of fresh vegetables and Thai basil leaves boosts its nutritional content.
Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Thai Basil Fried Rice At Home
All you need are some incredibly simple, pantry-staple ingredients to make this delicious Thai basil fried rice recipe at home.
Here's an overview of the specific ingredients for this Thai basil turkey fried rice recipe. For the exact ingredients and measurements, please scroll to the recipe card below.
- Ground Turkey: You’ll need some ground turkey to make this recipe. The turkey will serve as a lean protein source, absorbing the flavors of the marinade and the spices in the recipe.
- Garlic, Ginger and Onion: This trio will add a wonderful aromatic onion, ginger and garlic flavor to the fried rice.
- Carrot: The carrot will add a natural sweetness and a delightful crunch, contrasting the softness of the cooked rice and ground turkey.
- Green beans: We’ll also need some green beans. These will add a fresh, crunch and a satisfying snap to the dish.
- Cooked White Jasmine Rice: Use day old cooked leftover rice for this dish. I like to use jasmine rice for this because it is the standard white rice I always have in my pantry.
- Thai Basil: The basil will add a fragrant flavor to this Thai basil fried rice and is an essential part of this dish. You can find fresh Thai basil at most Asian grocery stores, but if you cannot find it you can substitute it with regular green Genovese basil as well.
- Birdseye chili: The chili will bring a fiery heat that can be adjusted according to your spice level preference.
For the Turkey Marinade:
- Sesame oil: We’ll also need some sesame oil which will give the turkey some additional nutty flavor.
- Soy sauce: I like to use soy sauce instead of plain salt because it will adds a delicious umami flavor to the turkey marinade.
- Ginger and garlic: We’ll also be using ginger and garlic as our aromatics for this marinade. These two will take this marinade to the next level and make it taste even better.
For the Sauce:
- Soy sauce: This ingredient will bring a savory, umami flavor to the dish.
- Fish sauce: I love to use fish sauce in any type of Thai fried rice because it adds a lot of depth of flavor and umami to it.
- Oyster sauce: The oyster sauce will add a sweet and savory flavor that will blend well with the other ingredients. It's a very important ingredient and should not be omitted. If you cannot find it, substitute it with 1 ½ tablespoons of soy sauce mixed with ½ teaspoon of sugar.
- Honey: The honey will balance out the saltiness of the sauces, contributing a subtle sweetness to the dish. Alternatively, you can use brown sugar or white sugar as well.
- Water: The water will help to dilute the sauces, ensuring that the flavors are well distributed throughout the stir fry.
How to Make Thai Basil Fried Rice (Step by Step)
Making this incredible Thai basil fried rice recipe at home is super easy and will give you great results every single time. Here's how to make it step by step:
Step 1: Marinating the Turkey
To marinate the turkey, combine it with soy sauce, sesame oil, grated ginger and minced garlic in a bowl.
Mix well, ensuring the protein is well-coated with the marinade. Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to seep in.
In the meantime, you can start preparing the other ingredients.
Step 2: Preparing the Ingredients
Start by grating some fresh garlic and ginger. These will add a wonderful aromatic base to your dish. You can also finely chop some chilies if you like a bit of heat - adjust the spice level according to your taste. Set this bowl aside.
Next, wash and trim the green beans, cutting them into small pieces. Do the same with carrots, dicing them small. Combine these vegetables and set them aside.
Dice some onions and set them aside separately.
Rinse the sweet Thai basil leaves gently under cold water. Separate the leaves from the stems, discarding the stems. Roughly chop the leaves and set them aside.
If you’re using day-old jasmine rice (which often yields the best results for a fried rice recipe), break up any large chunks with your hands. If you’re using fresh rice, ensure it’s cooled before proceeding.
Step 3: Making the Sauce
A combination of oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, and a bit of sugar or honey makes a flavorful sauce for this dish. If you’re using sugar, dissolve it in a bit of warm water before adding the other ingredients. Mix well and set aside.
Step 4: Cooking the Dish
Now, it’s time to bring everything together. Start by heating a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add a couple of tablespoons of oil.
Once the oil is hot, add the garlic, ginger, and chilies, cooking them for 2-3 minutes until they’re fragrant. Be aware that cooking chili will create spicy fumes, so ensure your kitchen is well-ventilated.
Next, add your marinated turkey. As it cooks, it may release some water - that’s perfectly normal. Keep cooking and breaking it up until all the liquid has evaporated, and the turkey starts to brown.
Add the diced onions at this stage, cooking for another 2-3 minutes until they become translucent. Follow with the carrots and beans, combining everything well. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Now, add the rice. Toss it well with the other ingredients, breaking up any large chunks. Cook for 3-4 minutes until every grain of rice is coated with the stir-fry mixture.
Pour in your prepared sauce, stirring well to ensure every component of the dish is well-coated. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Finally, turn off the heat and stir in the chopped Thai basil leaves. The residual heat will wilt the leaves, enhancing their flavor.
And voila! Your Thai Basil Fried Rice is ready to be served.
Joyce's Tips For Making the Best Thai Basil Fried Rice Every Single Time
Marinating the Turkey: Marinating the turkey in a mixture of sesame oil, soy sauce or fish sauce, garlic, and ginger will enhance the flavors of the ground turkey. This step is essential as it allows the turkey to absorb the rich, savory flavors prior to cooking, resulting in a more flavorful dish.
Preparing the Vegetables: It’s crucial to chop the onions, green beans, and carrots into small, equal sizes and have them prepared ahead of time. This ensures they cook evenly in the wok, and having them handy will make the cooking process smoother and quicker as well.
Break Up the Rice: If using day-old rice for your Thai Basil Fried Rice recipe, ensure you break up any large chunks into individual grains. This helps the rice to mix well with the other ingredients and allows it to absorb the sauce evenly, enhancing its taste.
Use Leftover Rice - To make the best fried rice, it's very important to always use leftover cold rice because it is drier, which will help it not become soggy/mushy. If you are pressed for time or do not have day old rice, you can use fresh rice but put less water into the pot than you normally do when you cook it so that the cooked rice will have a bit less moisture in it. I like to use ¾ cup of water, for 1 cup of rice. Make sure the rice has cooled before using it in fried rice.
Cooking in the Wok: When you stir fry the ingredients, make sure your wok is hot before adding the oil. This helps to sear the ingredients quickly, retaining their freshness and flavor. Also, remember to add the garlic, ginger, and chili first to infuse their flavors into the oil.
Turn Off the Heat Before Adding the Thai Basil Leaves: Direct heat will destroy the delicate flavor from the basil oils so for the best flavor, you only need the residual heat in the wok from the rice will wilt the basil to release its aroma and flavor into the dish.
Adjusting Spice Level: If you prefer your Thai Basil Fried Rice spicier, add an extra birdseye chili. Remember, the spiciness intensifies as the dish sits, so it’s better to start with less and add more later if needed.
Oyster Sauce is A Very Important : It gives this turkey Thai Basil fried rice dish a lot of umami flavors. If you cannot find it and absolutely must substitute it, then use 1 ½ tablespoon soy sauce mixed with ½ teaspoon of sugar mixed into it.
- A traditional Thai soup like Tom Kha Gai, with its creamy coconut milk base and tangy lime juice, pairs perfectly with the complex flavors of Thai Basil Fried Rice. The soup’s rich taste will complement the savory and spicy notes of the rice, providing a multi-dimensional dining experience.
- Classic Tom Yum Goong, a hot and sour shrimp soup, can be a wonderful complement to Thai Basil Fried Rice. The bold flavors of the soup, with its spicy chili and kaffir lime leaves, will definitely enhance the overall taste of the meal.
- A refreshing and crisp Korean Cucumber Salad, with its spicy and tangy flavor profile, will provide a refreshing contrast to the warm, rich Thai Basil Fried Rice. Its crunchy texture will also add a delightful contrast to the soft and fluffy jasmine rice.
- Chinese Stir-Fried Cabbage with Ginger Soy, with its delicate balance of sweet and savory flavors, can be a wonderful side dish. The tender, caramelized cabbage and the ginger soy sauce would be an excellent accompaniment to the robust flavors of Thai Basil Fried Rice.
Recipe Variation Ideas for Thai Basil Fried Rice
This delicious Thai basil fried rice recipe is so flavorful and easy to make, you'll want to try out some of these delicious variations! Here are some great ideas:
Protein Swap: If you’re not a fan of turkey, feel free to swap it out for another protein source. Beef, pork, shrimp, or chicken breast all work well in this dish. Simply marinate the protein of your choice in the same way as the turkey for a different, but equally tasty, take on this recipe.
Vegetable Medley: For a more colorful and nutritious dish, add a variety of vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, and onions. Just make sure to stir fry them in the wok before adding the rice. This variation not only enhances the taste but also increases the nutritional value of the dish.
Tofu Delight: For a vegetarian version of this Thai basil fried rice recipe, substitute the turkey with tofu. This substitute provides a good source of protein while maintaining the delicious flavor of the dish. Don’t forget to press the tofu to remove excess moisture before marinating!
Spice It Up: If you prefer a spicier dish, increase the amount of birdseye chili or add a few dashes of hot sauce. Adjust the spice level to suit your taste buds. This will give your Thai basil fried rice a fiery kick that’s sure to satisfy spice lovers.
Egg-cellent Addition: For a more traditional Thai fried rice, add a couple of scrambled eggs into the mix. The eggs add extra protein and give the dish a classic Asian flavor.
Don’t forget to visit your local Asian grocery store to get fresh Thai basil leaves to enhance the flavor!
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! This Thai basil fried rice recipe is versatile enough to accommodate different proteins. You can easily substitute ground turkey with chicken breast, shrimp, beef, pork, or tofu. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time appropriately for the protein you choose.
If you don’t have day-old rice, you can still make this dish. Cook fresh jasmine rice but use a bit less water than usual to ensure it’s not too moist. Just remember to let the rice cool before using it in the stir fry.
Thai basil has a unique flavor that is a blend of sweet basil and spice, giving this dish its authentic taste. However, if you can’t find fresh Thai basil leaves at your local Asian grocery store, you can use sweet basil as a substitute.
Birdseye chili is used to increase the spice level of the dish. However, it’s optional and can be adjusted according to your taste preferences. If you prefer a less spicy dish, simply reduce the quantity or omit it.
Yes, you can use a wok instead of a frying pan for this Thai fried rice recipe. A wok is traditionally used in Southeast Asia for stir fry dishes due to its shape and heat distribution.
If you don’t have oyster sauce, you can use soy sauce or fish sauce as substitutes. However, keep in mind that these substitutes may slightly alter the flavor of the dish.
Absolutely! Feel free to toss in other vegetables such as bell peppers, peas, or corn to make this dish even more nutritious and colorful.
You’ll know the basil is cooked when it wilts and turns a dark green color. You don't need direct heat to cook it as well, since it gets the best flavor from wilting it from the residual heat from the rice and other ingredients.
The spice level of this dish is moderate but can be adjusted according to your taste by increasing or reducing the amount of birdseye chili.
Yes, you can use brown rice in this Thai basil fried rice recipe. Brown rice adds a nutty flavor and extra fiber, but keep in mind it might take longer to cook than white rice.
How to Store Leftover Thai Basil Fried Rice
If you have leftovers, allow the Thai fried rice to cool down at room temperature, but remember not to leave it out for more than two hours, as bacteria can start to grow. Once cooled, transfer the leftover rice to an airtight container. Place the container in the refrigerator. Properly stored, it will last for up to 5 to 7 days in the fridge.
To reheat, you can use either a microwave or a pan. If using a microwave, sprinkle a little bit of water on the rice before reheating to prevent it from drying out. If using a pan, add a small amount of oil and stir fry the rice over medium heat until it is heated through. Remember to stir continuously to ensure that the heat is evenly distributed.
As for freezing, it is generally not recommended for fried rice. The reason behind this is that the texture of the ingredients, particularly the rice, vegetables and protein can change when frozen and then thawed, losing their crunch and becoming soft.
Recipes To Use Up Leftover Oyster Sauce
More Turkey Recipes You May Like
- Easy Oven Roasted Turkey Thighs with Coffee Rub
- Herb Roasted Turkey Legs
- Korean Fried Popcorn Turkey
- Turkey Udon Noodle Soup
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Thai Basil Turkey Fried Rice
Joyce's Recipe Notes
- To make the best fried rice, it's very important to always use leftover cold rice because it is drier, which will help it not become soggy/mushy. If you are pressed for time or do not have day old rice, you can use fresh rice but put less water into the pot than you normally do when you cook it so that the cooked rice will have a bit less moisture in it. I like to use ¾ cup of water, for 1 cup of rice. Make sure the rice has cooled before using it in fried rice.
- For this recipe, Thai basil is recommended but if you cannot find it, you can use regular Italian basil as well.
- I like using fish sauce in this recipe because it gives the fried rice a bit more flavor since it is a stronger flavor than soy sauce. It can be substituted with soy sauce but you will lose out on a bit of flavor.
- Oyster sauce is a very important ingredient in this recipe and gives this turkey fried rice dish a lot of umami flavors. If you cannot find it and absolutely must substitute it, then use 1 ½ tablespoon soy sauce mixed with ½ teaspoon of sugar mixed into it.
- To shave off some time, you can also use frozen vegetables in this dish.
- 450 g ground turkey
- 1½ tablespoons ginger (grated)
- 4 cloves garlic (2 tablespoons, grated)
- 1 medium onion (½ cup, diced)
- 1 large carrot (1 cup, diced)
- 1 cup green beans (ends removed, chopped into small pieces)
- 3 cups cooked white rice (preferably day old, see notes)
- 1 ¼ cup basil (leaves only, packed)
- 2-3 birdseye chili (add 1-2 more if you like it spicier - Optional)
Marinate the Turkey
- In a small bowl, combine the ground turkey 1½ tablespoons ginger (grated), 1 clove garlic (grated), 1 ½ tablespoon soy sauce, 1 ½ teaspoon sesame oil and mix well.Marinate for 15-20 minutes
- Grate 1½ tablespoons ginger, and 4 cloves garlic and set it aside for later.
- (Optional) Finely chop the chilies and add it to the bowl with the garlic and ginger. Set aside for later.
- Wash and cut off the tips of the green beans. Chop them into small pieces and set aside for later
- Wash and dice the carrots into small pieces and place it with the beans and set aside for later.
- Dice the onions and set aside for later.
- Gently rinse the basil with water and then separate the basil leaves from the stems and roughly chop the basil leaves and set it aside. Discard the stems.
- If you are using day-old rice, and it is in big chunks, use your hands to break up the rice into smaller chunks. See Notes if you are not using day-old rice.
Making the Sauce
- In a small bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 1 ½ tablespoons oyster sauce, 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce, 3 teaspoons honey, and 3 tablespoons water and set it aside for later.If you are using sugar instead of honey make sure to dissolve the sugar in the water first before mixing the rest of the sauce ingredients together.
Putting It Together
- In a large frying pan, add 2 tablespoons of oil and set the heat to medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is hot and shimmering, add in the garlic, ginger, and chilies (optional) and cook it for 2-3 minutes. (If you are using chilies the fumes in the air will be spicy, be careful not to inhale it)
- Add in the ground turkey and mix it with the garlic, ginger, and chilies. If water starts to come out of the turkey, that's okay and completely normal. Keep cooking it and breaking it into small pieces until the water has evaporated. Once the water has evaporated, the turkey will start to toast and brown.
- Once the turkey has browned, add in the onions and cook it for 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the carrots and beans and mix everything together. Cook it for approximately 5 minutes
- Add in the rice and mix everything well. If there are large rice chunks, when the rice warms up, use your spatula/utensil to press them flat to break it up. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until all the rice has been mixed well with the ingredients and all the chunks have been broken up into individual grains.
- Add the sauce and mix well to coat everything in the frying pan. Cook for another 1-2 minutes
- Turn off the heat and add in the basil. Mix the basil into the fried rice. The residual heat will wilt the basil. You will know it's done when the basil turns dark green. Make sure the basil is spread evenly throughout the rice and not in a big clump before serving.
*Nutritional information is calculated using online tools and is an estimate*
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