If you love Thai food, Thai chile paste should have a designated home in your pantry and become one of your best cooking friends.
When I was cooking with my Thai sister-n-law, Oi, she was spooning Thai chile paste, Nam Phrik Phao, into what seemed like almost every dish we made. It reminded me how much I don’t put it to use and should.
Thai chile paste, aka roasted red chile paste in oil, aka Thai chile jam, is not like any jam we would eat in America. It doesn’t taste like it, but the texture is more like natural peanut butter, and it has red golden oil sitting on top.
Thai chile jam is loaded with flavor because usually it’s made out of dried red chiles, garlic, shallots, dried shrimp, fish sauce, palm sugar and tamarind. Don’t let the name fool you though, even though it’s made out of dried red chiles, typically it’s more sweet and not quite as spicy as you would expect.
Whenever I’m cooking, and tasting a Thai dish I’ve made, and it just doesn’t have much flavor, adding a spoonful of Nam Prik Phao usually is just what the dish needed to make it sing.
I’ve been playing around with different Thai fried rice recipes lately, and Oi and I decided to try making Thai chicken fried rice with Nam Phrik Phao. When I make Thai fried rice, it can take awhile to get every bite loaded with flavor, but adding Thai chile paste to it made it taste amazing right away. Try out our recipe, and let us know what you think!
Thai Chile Paste Stir-Fried Rice with Chicken| Pad Phrik Phao Khao Pad Gai
Try another spin on Thai Fried Rice by adding Thai Chili Paste to give it a depth of exotic flavor!
- 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (or sub another meat or leave it out)
- 2 c. preferably day old jasmine rice (the drier the better)
- 1 small white onion diced
- 10 garlic cloves, minced
- 2-5 Thai chili peppers, minced
- 2-3 tbsp. Thai chili paste
- 1/2 c. diced carrots
- 2 c. chopped broccoli heads (or sub any veggie you have on hand)
- 2 eggs
- 5 stalks of green onion cut into 1/2 in. pieces
- handful of coarsely chopped cilantro
- 3-4 tbsp. Thai fish sauce
- 3-4 tbsp. Thai oyster sauce
- 1-2 tsp. sugar
- Warm 2 tbsp. cooking oil in a wok.
- Add the garlic, onions, Thai chili peppers and 1 tbsp. Thai chili paste.
- Once it becomes fragrant, add chicken or meat of choice.
- Stir-fry a few minutes until meat is cooked through.
- Add in carrots and any other veggies, and cook until crisp and tender.
- Move the meat and veggies to the side of the wok, and crack two eggs into the center of the wok. Scramble them until they are dry.
- Add rice and 1-2 tbsp. of more Thai chili paste, and fish sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar.
- Mix well, and add more of any of the sauces to taste. Usually I end up adding more oyster sauce or Thai chili paste if I think it needs some more flavor.
- Turn off the heat and mix in the green onions.
- Serve it with cilantro sprinkled on top.
The key to making Thai Fried Rice of any kind is having dry rice. If you use rice you just made, it will come out gooey since there is so much moisture. If you have leftover rice that's been sitting in the fridge awhile, this is the perfect way to use it up.