March 11, 2012

Vegetarian Thai Basil Rice

I am a great fan of flavors. And when I discover something that is new to me I desperately want it to try on my own. I know this does not happen all the time but the desire is always there ;). But this time I could make it happen. I prepared this dish in a week just later after I tried it.

Have you ever wondered using basil in cooking? At least I never thought of it until in the last week when I ordered this aromatic dish, Thai Basil Rice. Basil is one of the key ingredients and a must present ingredient in the Thai kitchens.

I simply love Thai cooking, the flavours and the ease with which it is prepared. Its quick , required handful ingredients and no extra or tiring preparation, yet tastes so good. As many of you know all the dishes in Thai cuisine use lots of vegetables. This makes it healthy. To add to this we have Tofu (which is a protein power pack).

When I started eating this dish I decided that I am definitely going to try this. It had so less ingredients and just the aroma of basil. I knew this is simple to cook. I searched (Binged/Googled whatever :)) and found out the key of this rice. First, it required the Jasmine Rice, which is abundantly used in Thai cooking. And this sure makes a difference as this rice had a different texture and had  a property to stick together but was not sticky. And of course the Basil leaves. In India we worship the basil tree but never used it in cooking. Often it is used in homemade medicines but never in cooking (at least to my knowledge, (I may be wrong)). Thai basil leaves are bigger than the Indian Basil. You can get these in any Asian store both rice and leaves.

Non vegetarian eaters can enjoy this rice with chicken and fish oil. Here is the vegetarian version :). And I am so happy with the outcome of my recipe.



Jasmine Rice - 1,1/2 Cup
Fresh Basil Leaves - 20-25 (if they are full size) or three bunches
Tofu Cubes - 500 gms
Capsicum - 1 Cup, Julienned
Onion - 1 Cup, Julienned
Garlic - 4-5 cloves, minced
Green Chillies - 2, chopped finely
Salt - per taste
Soy Sauce - 1/2 tbsp
Oil - 2-3 tbsp
Cucumber for garnishing

The original recipe calls for using fish sauce but being a vegetarian I had to find something else. I searched a lot on Internet and found there are some vegetarian replacements available for the fish sauce. I remembered the taste of the rice and I decided to try out tamarind water :) And you know what, it worked very well .

Tamarind Juice - 1-2 tbsp


1. Rinse the rice before cooking. To cook Jasmine Rice add 2 Cup water to the rice. Add little salt. Bring it to boil and then reduce the heat to low, cover it with a lid and cook for another 15-20 minutes or till the rice is entirely cooked. Then turn off the heat and keep it covered for another 10 minutes. Keep it to cool.

2. Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry tofu till it turns a little brown. We need to do this so that the tofu cubes remain intact. Once done keep them aside.

3. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and saute a little. Then add onion for 1 minute and add capsicum. saute for another 3-4 minutes. Keep burner on high flame. Make sure the veggies are not overcooked.

4. Gently add tofu and basil leaves and stir.

5. Add Soy sauce, tamarind water and salt per as per taste.

6. Now add the jasmine rice and stir evenly.

7. Cover for 2-3 minutes. Garnish it with cucumber and serve.


  • @Veggie lovers - Make this more healthy by adding broccoli, carrots, snap peas..whatever veggie you like. :)
  • @Perfectionists - In the first attempt you will not get a perfect idea for the number of basil leaves to be used, which is OK. :) . Enjoy !!!!!!!!
  • @Non-vegetarians - use fish sauce and chicken.