Green Curry Fried Rice is a flavorful and aromatic Thai-inspired dish that combines the rich flavors of green curry paste with fried rice. This fusion is vegan, healthy, and can be made with little effort.Jump to Recipe
If you love fried rice you'll love this variation with green curry. It's bright, tangy, fresh, and packed with flavor. You can make this easy dinner with leftover rice in 30 minutes or less.
Reasons You'll Love Green Curry Fried Rice
Flavorful: The combination of fragrant Thai green curry paste and aromatic herbs gives the fried rice a burst of flavor. Each bite will have flavors that seem unexpected but work together so well.
Customizable: You can easily customize the thai curry rice recipe with the items you have on hand. Add your favorite vegetables, proteins (such as chicken, shrimp, or tofu), and adjust the level of spiciness.
Easy to Make: The green curry fried rice is a simple and quick dish to prepare. You can make this recipe in 30 minutes or less. This makes it a perfect choice for a weeknight meal.
Versatile: Serve the easy curry fried rice alone or as a side to complement other Thai recipes. You can also make it more complete by adding proteins of your choice or keep it the way it is.
Leftover Delight: Green curry fried rice can be a great way to use up leftover rice and vegetables. No need to go shopping for various ingredients you don't have if you already have a stocked kitchen. Get fun and creative with this recipe.
What is Green Curry?
Green curry is a popular Thai curry known for its vibrant green color and bold, aromatic flavors. It is one of the main types of Thai curries, alongside red and yellow curries. Green curry gets its name from the fresh green chili peppers used to create the curry paste, which gives it its distinctive color and spiciness.
The key ingredients in green curry paste typically include:
- Green Chili Peppers: The primary ingredient that gives the curry its color and heat. Thai green chili peppers the go to for this recipe. The number of chilies can be adjusted to control the spiciness.
- Lemongrass: Provides a citrusy and aromatic flavor.
- Galangal: A root similar to ginger, but with a unique, peppery taste.
- Kaffir Lime Leaves: Adds a zesty, citrusy flavor.
- Shallots: Bring a mild onion-like taste to the curry paste.
- Garlic: Enhances the overall flavor profile.
- Coriander Roots and Stems: Provide a fresh, herbal taste.
- Cumin Seeds: Add earthy notes to the paste.
- Coriander Seeds: Add depth and fragrance to the curry.
- Shrimp paste: A traditional ingredient that adds umami and depth to the paste. However, vegetarian versions of green curry paste omit this ingredient.
Jasmine Rice - has a subtle aroma, doesn't get overly sticky when cooked, and is slightly dry making it great for fried rice. You'll want to use pre cooked jasmine rice because after the first day of cooking, the rice will become more firm. This helps it withstand the second time it's cooked without becoming overly mushy. Other types of rice can be used in this recipe. We will get more into that later.
Oil - I used a mild cooking oil for this recipe like canola or vegetable oil. You can use sesame or peanut oil instead for added flavor.
Baby Carrots - for added sweetness and color to the rice
Garlic - fresh minced garlic is going to taste best in this recipe. You can substitute with garlic powder but it won't quite be the same.
Red Bell Pepper - for added sweetness and a pop of color
Onion - You can use white, yellow, and sweet variations
Frozen Green Peas - for a pop of green and added nutrition. The frozen green beans will thaw and soften in the rice
Salt and Pepper - to enhance the flavor of the green curry fried rice
Soy Sauce - I used low sodium soy to control the salt content. Substitute coconut aminos for a gluten free alternative.
Thai Green Curry Paste - this is the star ingredient of the dish. The spiciness of the curry paste will vary based on what brand you use. I typically buy a 4oz jar and end up using most if not all of it in this one recipe.
Cilantro and Thai Basil - for added freshness. These herbs complement the ingredients of the green curry paste so well.
Lime - used to finish the rice at the very end making it slightly tangy and zesty
How to Make Green Curry Fried Rice
Step 1. Heat a large wok or skillet with oil over medium heat.
Step 2. Add the onion and garlic. Stir and cook until the onion starts to become translucent. About 3-5 minutes.
Step 3. Add the red pepper and carrots and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the bell pepper starts to soften.
Step 4. Add the cooked jasmine rice, soy sauce, and Thai green curry paste. Stir until fully mixed with the vegetables. Cook for about 5 minutes until the rice is infused with all the flavors.
Step 5. Once the rice and vegetables are done cooking, remove from heat. Top with Thai basil, fresh cilantro, and fresh lime juice.
Try These Garnish Ideas
The garnish should be more than just an after thought. It can elevate a dish by making it look more appealing, adding to the overall flavor, and introduce new textures. If you have any of these on hand, consider adding them to take your green curry fried rice to the next level.
Sesame Seeds: Toasted sesame seeds add a nutty flavor and a pleasing crunch to your fried rice. You can use white or black sesame seeds or you can try a combination of both.
Chopped Nuts: Try crushed peanuts, cashews, or almonds for added texture and a touch of richness. Consider toasting them in the oven before adding them over the top.
Fried Egg: Top each serving of fried rice with a sunny-side-up or over-easy fried egg. The runny yolk can add a luxurious element to the dish.
Microgreens: Delicate microgreens, such as pea shoots, radish greens, or sunflower sprouts, can add an elegant touch to your fried rice.
Pickled Vegetables: A small serving of pickled vegetables, such as pickled ginger, daikon radish, or carrots, can provide a tangy contrast to the savory rice.
Seaweed or Nori Strips: Crumble or cut nori sheets into thin strips and scatter them over the top of the fried rice.
Must Try Variations
Vegetable Green Curry Fried Rice: Consider adding more vegetables to the fried rice. Let what you have in your freezer or fridge inspire you. Try broccoli, snow peas, corn, or green beans.
Chicken Green Curry Fried Rice: Make this meal feel more complete by serving it with chicken. You can use boneless skinless fresh chicken breasts or chicken thighs. Chop them up into bite sized pieces and sauté after the onion and garlic have softened. Season the chicken with salt and pepper for added flavor. There you have it green curry chicken fried rice.
Shrimp Green Curry Fried Rice: If you're not really into the chicken idea you may want to opt for using shrimp. You can use small shrimp or large shrimp. These cook fast so I recommend adding them a couple minutes into cooking the rice to ensure they don't get too tough.
Tofu Green Curry Fried Rice: Go meat free by using tofu. Tofu is a delicious protein to work with because it absorbs the flavor of whatever you're cooking with. If I was using tofu I would marinate it in a savory soy and green thai chili paste mixture then pan fry until crispy on the outside. Then I would add it to the rice at the very end. I recommend using firm or extra firm.
Pineapple Green Curry Fried Rice: Add some sweetness to the fried rice with fresh or canned pineapple. If using canned be sure to drain all the excess liquid. If you've never tried pineapple fried rice you're missing out. Give the fried rice even more of a tropical vibe by adding a touch of coconut milk to make it nice and creamy.
Beef Green Curry Fried Rice: Incorporate thinly sliced beef in this fried rice for a rich and meaty variation. Add some sliced red chilis for added color and heat.
Ways to Serve Green Curry Fried Rice
Individual Bowls: This is the most common way to serve the green curry rice. Portion the green curry fried rice into individual serving bowls. Then garnish each bowl with fresh herbs, lime wedges, and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds.
Hollowed-Out Pineapple: Scoop out the flesh of a pineapple half, leaving the shell intact. Fill the pineapple shell with thai fried rice, packing it gently. Garnish with fresh herbs and then serve the pineapple "bowl" as an impressive and tropical presentation.
Lettuce Wraps: Serve the green curry fried rice recipe alongside large lettuce leaves (such as iceberg or butter lettuce). Spoon the rice into the lettuce leaves, creating wraps. Add fresh herbs, nuts, and a drizzle of sauce for extra flavor.
Bento Boxes: Arrange green curry fried rice in individual compartments of a bento box, alongside small portions of pickled vegetables, marinated tofu, and fresh fruit. Bento boxes are a fun and practical way to serve a well-balanced meal.
Layered Glass Jars: Create visually appealing layers of green curry fried rice, colorful pickled vegetables, and garnishes in glass jars. Seal the jars then offer them as grab-and-go lunches or stylish individual servings.
Stuffed Bell Peppers: Cut the tops off bell peppers, remove the seeds and membranes, and stuff them with green curry fried rice. Roast the stuffed peppers until tender, and present them on a platter for an edible and impressive vessel.
Storing and Reheating Tips
Let The Rice Rool: Allow the green curry fried rice to cool down to room temperature before refrigerating. Hot food can raise the temperature inside your refrigerator and cause excess condensation in the container.
Refrigeration: After the food has cooled, transfer to an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. Seal it tightly to prevent air and moisture from getting in. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Separate Ingredients: Store the rice separate from the garnishes to keep their freshness.
Microwave: Reheating in the microwave is quick and convenient. Place a portion of the green curry fried rice in a microwave-safe dish, cover with a microwave-safe lid or damp paper towel, and heat on medium power in 1-minute intervals, stirring between each interval, until heated through.
Stovetop: Reheating on the stovetop can help maintain the fried rice's texture. Heat a small amount of oil or water in a skillet over medium heat. Add the fried rice and stir-fry gently until heated evenly.
Tips for The Best Results:
Add Moisture: If the thai curry fried rice seems dry after reheating, you can add a splash of coconut milk or water and gently stir to restore moisture before reheating.
Fluff the Rice: Gently fluff the rice with a fork or chopsticks after reheating to separate any clumps and distribute the curry flavors evenly.
Multiple Reheats: It's best to reheat curry rice only once to avoid the risk of bacterial growth.
Frequently Asked Questions
How spicy is green curry fried rice?
Green curry paste typically contains green chili peppers, which are known for their heat. However, the heat level can vary widely depending on the specific brand of green curry paste you use and how much you add to your fried rice. Some curry pastes may be milder, while others can be quite spicy.
If you prefer a milder dish, you can start by adding a small amount of green curry paste and adjust according to your taste. Keep in mind that the rice and vegetables will balance out the spiciness.
What equipment do I need?
To make green curry fried rice, you'll need the following equipment:
Large Skillet or Wok: A large skillet or wok is essential for stir-frying the ingredients and ensuring even cooking. A non-stick or cast iron skillet also works well.
Cutting Board and Knife: You'll need a cutting board and a sharp knife to chop and prepare the vegetables and herbs.
Cooking Utensils: Wooden or heat-resistant utensils like spatulas or wooden spoons are crucial for tossing and stirring the fried rice without damaging the pan's surface.
Measuring Utensils: Measuring spoons are helpful for accurately portioning the green curry paste, soy sauce, and oil.
Stove or Cooktop: You'll need a stove or cooktop for heating the skillet or wok and cooking the fried rice.
Can I use rice cooked the same day?
Using same day cooked rice for this fried rice recipe is perfectly fine. I do have some suggestions for this to ensure you get the best results.
Chill the Rice: After cooking the rice make sure to cool it completely before adding it to this recipe. To do this quickly, spread it out on a baking sheet or shallow container then, refrigerate it for at least an hour before using. This helps reduce moisture and prevents clumping.
Loosen the Rice: Before using the rice in the fried rice recipe, gently break up any clumps and fluff the rice with a fork. This will ensure that the grains are separated and will cook evenly.
Dry the Rice: If your freshly cooked rice seems slightly moist, you can pat dry with a moist paper towel before using. If you add rice that's moist you may end up with a mushy undesirable texture after the rice is cooked the second time.
Adjust Cooking Time: Keep in mind that same-day cooked rice might require slightly less cooking time compared to rice that has been stored for a day or more. Be attentive and adjust the cooking time accordingly to avoid overcooking.
What's the best rice to use in this recipe?
There are so many different types of rice out there to choose from so it can be overwhelming trying to pick the right type. Below are my go-to's that have always worked for me.
Jasmine Rice: Jasmine rice is a popular choice for Thai dishes like green curry fried rice. It has a fragrant aroma, slightly sticky texture when cooked, and a delicate flavor that complements the curry flavors well.
Basmati Rice: Basmati rice is another aromatic rice option that works nicely with green curry. It has long grains, a light texture, and a subtle nutty aroma that can enhance the overall dish.
Long-Grain White Rice: Long-grain white rice, such as American long-grain or Carolina rice, can also be used. It cooks up fluffy and separate, making it a good choice if you prefer a less sticky fried rice.
Brown Rice: For a healthier twist, you can use brown rice. It has a nutty flavor and a chewier texture due to its bran and germ. Keep in mind that brown rice may require slightly longer cooking time and additional liquid.
What's the difference between curry and Thai green curry?
"Curry" is a broad term used to describe a variety of dishes that feature a blend of aromatic spices, herbs, and often include a sauce or gravy. Curries can vary widely in terms of ingredients, flavors, and regional influences. They are popular in many cuisines, including Indian, Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian, and more.
"Thai Green Curry" specifically refers to a type of curry that is a staple in Thai cuisine. It is known for its vibrant green color and distinctive flavors.
Serve The Rice With:
The Best Green Curry Fried Rice
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 1/2 cup sliced baby carrots
- 3 cups cooked jasmine rice
- 1/2 cup frozen green peas
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 5 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
- Handful of cilantro and Thai basil chopped
- 1 lime juiced
- Heat a large wok or skillet with oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion and garlic. Stir and cook until the onion starts to become translucent. About 3-5 minutes.
- Add the red pepper and carrots and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the bell pepper starts to soften.
- Add the cooked jasmine rice, soy sauce, and Thai green curry paste. Stir until fully mixed with the vegetables. Cook for about 5 minutes until the rice is infused with all the flavors.
- Once the rice and vegetables are done cooking, remove from heat. Top with Thai basil, fresh cilantro, and fresh lime juice.