This Thai-inspired vegetable fried rice is spicy, a bit sweet and sour, and SO flavorful! It's loaded with mushrooms, carrots, bell peppers, pineapple, and plenty of garlic and chili! Just 25 minutes and one pan required!
If you have got leftover rice in your fridge, you don't want to miss this recipe!
📘 What is Fried Rice
Fried rice is a popular Asian dish that consists of cooked rice stir-fried with vegetables in a wok or skillet. It is said that fried rice first appeared in China around 580.
There are hundreds of different versions of this dish. Here, we are cooking the rice in a sauce similar to the Pad Thai sauce, which is sweet and sour.
🥣 How to Make Thai Fried Rice
This one-skillet recipe starts with the onion and garlic that are sautéed in vegan butter (or oil). I prefer to use vegan butter for this recipe as I find it gives the dish a richer flavor.
Once your aromatics are fragrant, it's time to add the veggies. Here, I went with yellow and red bell pepper, carrot, pak choi, and mushrooms.
This recipe is versatile so feel free to use the vegetables you have on hand: zucchini, corn, or peas would make great additions!
Once the vegetables are cooked, add the rice. For the best results, I recommend using leftover rice that has been chilled.
The grains don't stick to each other as much when using rice cooked the day before compared to rice cooked the same day. Worry not, it's still delicious both ways!
Next, comes the sauce that brings all of the flavor! To make the sweet and sour sauce, you will need:
- Tamarind juice - It is very easy to make: soak tamarind paste in hot water for a few minutes, and strain to get the juice.
- Maple syrup - To balance with the sourness of the tamarind.
- Soy sauce - For saltiness and umami.
- Minced chili - Optional, it adds some heat.
Tamarind paste is made from concentrated tamarind fruit and is 100% natural. It is sweet and very sour. Once diluted, it can be used to make sauces for Pad Thai, drinks, or used in stir-fries like this fried rice!
Once the rice and veggies are coated with the sauce, add the remaining toppings: finely chopped pineapple, green onions, and roasted peanuts!
This fried rice is the kind of food that boosts your mood and cheers you up after just two spoonfuls. Yes, it's that good!
- There are two ways to prevent the rice from sticking to the skillet: 1) Use leftover rice. It won't be as moist and will yield a better texture compared to rice cooked the same day. 2) Use a non-stick skillet and enough oil.
- If you are not used to spicy food, omit the chili or use only ¼ of a Thai chili (also called Bird's eye chili).
- This recipe works great will brown rice as well!
This vegan fried rice is super easy to make, full of flavor, comforting, and has that stick-to-your-ribs factor. It has the perfect balance of sweet, salty, and spicy, with a subtle tart flavor.
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
Thai Fried Rice (Sweet & Sour!)
- 3 tablespoon vegan butter (or oil)
- 1 small onion diced
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 3-4 mushrooms finely diced
- 1 small carrot finely diced
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper finely diced
- 2 cups cooked rice (preferably cooked the day before)
- 3 tablespoon tamarind juice*
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 bird's eye chilis finely minced (adjust to taste)
- ¼ pineapple (about ½ cup, diced)
- For topping, optional: ¼ cup green onions, ¼ cup roasted peanuts
- Heat one tablespoon of vegan butter or oil in a large non-stick skillet. Once hot, add the onion and garlic, and sautée for about 5 minutes.
- Next, add the mushrooms, carrots, and red bell pepper and cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until the carrots are cooked but still slightly crunchy.
- Add the remaining two tablespoons of vegan butter as well as the cooked rice. Sautée for about 5 minutes to fry the rice and make it slightly crispy.
- In a small bowl, combine the tamarind juice, maple syrup, soy sauce, and minced chili. Stir to combine and pour it into the skillet. Stir to coat the rice with the sauce and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed the sauce.
- Stir in the diced pineapple, top with green onions and roasted peanuts, and serve!
- Fried rice will keep for up to two days in the refrigerator, reheat gently over medium heat for a few minutes before serving.