Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area meant being surrounded by some of the finest restaurants in the nation. Eating the food of every culture in the world, I’ve developed quite the eclectic palate. I love all kinds of food – Vietnamese, Japanese, Indian, Schzeuan, Italian, Spanish, French, Mexican, Thai, Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Korean are just a few that roll of the top of my head.
The only problem is that sometimes its a challenge to find what you want or fulfill a taste you have without meat. That’s when it becomes time to get in the kitchen and make the magic happen.
This morning I woke up with a taste for some spicy Thai basil fried rice, a dish I would enjoy back in the day with ground chicken. Plenty of hot Thai peppers and loaded with flavorful Thai basil, I had a need for that taste. I needed to have my mouth set afire.
A quick lunch with friends provided me with the opportunity inspect the dish with an eye for reproducing it instead of gobbling it down. I talked to the waitress who gave me the basic ingredients (most of which I already had at the crib). So I stopped at the Asian market and picked up Thai peppers, long beans, Thai basil and a red bell pepper (since I used all mine in tofu scrambles), and rolled up my sleeves.
This is the end result! Isn’t it beautiful? And the taste was fabulous. It would have been slightly darker and I would have had more sauce, but as I was dumping it into the pan I spilled quite a bit on the stove and floor. Oh well.
Here is what I started with. What isn’t pictured: carrot chunks and the red bell pepper strips.
This recipe whips up quickly if you start with leftover rice. Since I didn’t have any I cooked my rice about 3:00 p.m. I used Jasmine rice because I was all out of Basmati. The texture of Jasmine rice is different in that it cooks up a bit stickier, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand – even plain long-grain white or brown rice.
Once rice has finished cooking, let it sit in the pot with the top on to steam a little bit (maybe 5 minutes), then fluff it with a fork and remove from the pan onto a rimmed baking sheet. Spread it out so that it will cool quickly. I stuck my pan in the refrigerator for about two hours and took it out when I started getting hungry.
While waiting for the rice to cool, I chopped up the vegetables and put them in separate containers for fast assembly when I started cooking (as seen above). If you don’t have a wok, that’s fine – a large non-stick skillet works great.
I used two chiles (wanted to use three but people around here are sissies and tender-mouthed!) Two gave it a nice punch, enough for you to take notice without being overly hot. I made a vegan fish sauce which I found here to make the flavor as authentic as possible, but you could just as easily buy some at the Asian market, or leave it out altogether… the dish is fine just as it is.
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 red and 1 green Thai chile pepper, sliced fine
- ½ cup chicken style seitan, cut into ¼" chunks
- ⅓ cup onion, sliced and cut into 1" pieces
- ⅓ cup Chinese long beans, cut into 1" pieces
- ¼ cup baby carrots, cut into quarters lengthwise, then into small pieces
- ⅔ cup Thai basil leaves, sliced
- 1 Tablespoon vegan oyster sauce
- 1 Tablespoon vegan fish sauce (or commercial version)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons double black thick soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon low-sodium Tamari
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 2-1/2 cups previously cooked Basmati or Jasmine rice, cooled or cold from refrigerator
- 2 Tablespoons peanut or grapeseed oil
- Prepare the ingredients, readying them in individual containers. Put the sauces in one container.
- Heat 2 Tablespoons oil in large heavy non-stick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add garlic and chopped chiles and stir fry rapidly until garlic begins to turn brown. Make sure you do not burn it.
- Add the chopped seitan and stir fry about 60 seconds. Add the long beans, carrots and red bell peppers. Stir to mix. Add in the four blended sauces and water.
- Continue stir frying another minute or two, then add the onion and stir fry until they are slightly limp.
- Make sure there are no clumps in your rice, then add it to the sauce mix and flip around with a spatula to mix everything together. Add another Tablespoon of water if needed.
- Add the basil and remove pan from heat. Flip mixture 5-6 more times then serve.