Stir-fried red rice with Thai flavors

This easy fried rice recipe with the nutty nutritious red rice, Thai flavors and crunchy vegetables is a delicious healthy version of the fried rice. The amazing flavors of this simple wholesome vegetarian fried rice will blow your mind!

close up view of red fried rice in a pan with lime wedges

Hello, rice lovers! Why is it that eating rice has become so difficult these days with all that health talk going on about rice being the “villain” of a healthy diet? It’s the type of rice and the quantity you eat that matters. The fiber-rich and nutrition-rich red rice cooked with Thai flavors of lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves and stir-fried with vegetables and eggs is the answer to all your rice woes. With this fried red rice recipe, you can have your favorite fried rice and eat it too!

This simple and quick fried rice recipe is perfect for a weekday lunchbox or a weeknight dinner that doesn’t keep you busy in the kitchen for long.

Does the citrusy, refreshing flavor of lemongrass make you wonder why it should be called a “grass” at all? Yes, I agree, it does sound quite demeaning. Well, my love for the Thai herbs –lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves has transformed into this flavourful fried rice recipe with red rice and some veggies thrown in, with egg as an option. So HEALTHY, so TASTY!

red rice nutrition

Red rice is rich in minerals and fiber which makes it a lot more nutritious and more attractive in terms of taste and health than white rice. In fact, red rice is the most nutritious rice variety. (source)

Though the calories are almost the same for all types of rice (216 calories for 1 cup of cooked red rice), the antioxidants, fiber and nutrition in red rice make it the best choice.

  • The red rice gets its rich color from an antioxidant called anthocyanins, which can reduce inflammation, allergy, prevent risks of cancer and help in weight management.
  • manganese helps in strengthening metabolism.
  • magnesium helps in controlling migraine, lowers blood pressure as well as risks of heart attacks.
  • calcium helps in maintaining healthy bones and teeth and prevents risks of arthritis and osteoporosis.
  • Selenium protects the body against infections.
  • high fiber content slows down the digestion process which leads to a strengthened digestive system.
  • fiber also aids in slowing down the rate at which carbs are converted into blood sugar, making red rice one of the foods with a low glycemic index. This means your blood glucose does not shoot up as when you eat white rice.

what you will need for this easy fried rice recipe

For the Thai flavors, you will need lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves. You’ll find them at any Asian store in separate packings. Here in Singapore, we get them as a “tom yum combo” with other ingredients like shallots, chilies and lime.

Galangal belongs to the same family as ginger but has a very distinctive taste. If you can’t find it, substitute with ginger. Lemongrass and lime leaves are the heart and soul of this fried rice recipe, so guys, try to hunt for them if you REALLY LOVE Thai flavors.

ingredients for fried rice recipe with red rice

veggies for fried rice

Any vegetables used for regular fried rice can be used here, like carrots, peas, cabbage, bell peppers/ capsicum along with onions, garlic and chilies. Egg can be added if you are not vegan. For protein, stir-fry firm tofu along with the vegetables. Or make the easy braised tofu.

how to cook fried rice with red rice and Thai flavors

Peel the outer layer of the lemongrass stalks, chop them into 2-inch pieces with diagonal cuts (as seen in the pictures above) and lightly smash them with the flat part of your knife. Break the kaffir lime leaves into lobes (they are double-lobed leaves). Add the lemongrass pieces and the kaffir lime leaves to the red rice with water or stock.

rice to water ratio

The quantity of water or stock to cook rice may vary depending on the type of rice being used and the cooking method. I’ve used Thai unpolished red rice here. If you’re cooking the rice in an electric rice cooker you will require 2 cups of water for 1 cup of red rice.

If you’re not familiar with cooking rice, there is a method to cook rice perfectly EVERY SINGLE TIME.

fool-proof method to cook any kind of rice

Boil 4 cups of water (for each cup of rice) with flavorings if needed, in this case, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. Once the water boils, add washed rice to the boiling water. Bring it to a boil again and then simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes until cooked. Keep a close watch after 15 minutes of simmering.

The rice grains should be cooked throughout but not mushy. (the best way to check for doneness is to test a single grain with your fingers, you should be able to squeeze it easily.)

Once the rice is cooked, drain in a colander and pick out lemongrass and lime leaves. Allow the rice to cool by spreading it on a large plate or tray. The red rice needs to be thoroughly cooled before stir-frying so that the grains don’t stick together.

can I use leftover rice for the fried rice?

Yes, of course. It is common practice to use leftover rice for cooking fried rice. The process of refrigeration takes away the extra moisture from the rice, making it best suited for fried rice.

I use this hack to get the same effect: (when I don’t have enough leftover rice)

  1. After the rice cools down, refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes. You can use this time to prep the veggies.
  2. If you’re fast enough to do the prep work in 10 minutes, freeze the rice for 10 minutes! Use the same tray you used to cool the rice in and leave it open.

Stir-frying the vegetables and red rice

red fried rice in a pan with lime wedges

Boil the green peas and keep aside.

Stir-fry the minced galangal/ ginger and garlic in oil on a high flame until you get an aroma, but not browned. Add the onions and chili and stir-fry until translucent. Add the grated carrots, bell peppers/ capsicum, cooked peas, and salt and stir-fry for 5 minutes.

If you’re using eggs, beat them with a dash of salt and pepper. Make space for eggs in the middle of the pan by moving the vegetables to the sides. Pour the eggs and scramble until almost cooked.

Mix in the rice and stir well. It is important that the rice has to be added before the eggs get fully cooked so that the eggs combine well with the rice. Turn off the heat and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Now, GO AHEAD. Eat your stir-fried red rice without an ounce of guilt.

red fried rice served from a pan to 2 white bowls

what to pair this fried rice with

Combine this stir-fried red rice with easy braised tofu for a vegan meal or quick and easy soy chicken for a meat option, to add more nutrition and variety to an already wholesome meal.

More options:

Like this fried rice? Asian stir-fried chicken with red rice and red beans is another recipe with red rice you might love.

In search of brown rice recipes? GO for:

Looking for a low-carb rice/ keto option? Try these:

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close up view of red fried rice in a pan with lime wedges

Stir-fried Red rice with Thai flavors

This easy fried rice recipe with the nutty, nutritious red rice, Thai flavors and crunchy vegetables is a delicious healthy version of the fried rice. The amazing flavors of this wholesome vegetarian fried rice will blow your mind!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course dinner, LUNCH, Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Thai
Servings 4 people
Calories 241 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup red rice
  • 4 cups water or stock to cook rice
  • 1/2 cup bell peppers/ capsicum thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup green peas frozen or fresh
  • 2 onions thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons galangal or ginger minced (note 4)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic minced
  • 3 green chilies finely chopped
  • 3 stalks lemongrass
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sunflower oil or any cooking oil of choice
  • 1 teaspoons sea salt or more to taste
  • 3 eggs optional, can be skipped for a vegan recipe
  • cilantro for garnish
  • lime wedges to serve

Instructions
 

cooking the rice

  • Peel the outer layer of the lemongrass stalks, chop them into 2-inch pieces with diagonal cuts and lightly smash them with the flat part of your knife. Break the kaffir lime leaves into individual lobes (they are double-lobed leaves).
  • Add the lemongrass pieces and the kaffir lime leaves to water in a deep, wide pot and bring it to a boil. Add the red rice and bring it to a boil again on high heat. Then simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until cooked thoroughly but not mushy. (note 2) Drain the rice in a colander. Remove the lemongrass stalks and the lime leaves.
  • Spread the drained red rice on a large tray or plate and allow it to cool. Once cooled, keep the tray of rice in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or freezer for 10 minutes. This will help remove extra moisture from the rice to give you the best fried rice.

Stir-frying the red rice and vegetables

  • Mince galangal and garlic. Slice the onions, bell peppers and carrot. Boil the green peas and keep aside.
  • Heat the oil in a large pan or wok on medium flame, add the minced ginger and garlic and roast until you get an aroma, but not browned. Add the onions and chili and saute until translucent. Add the grated carrots, cooked peas, and salt and saute for 5 minutes.
  • If you're using eggs, beat them with a few dashes of salt and pepper. Make space in the middle of the pan by moving the vegetables to the sides. Add the eggs and scramble them until almost done. Mix in the rice when the eggs are semi-cooked and stir well. Turn off the heat.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges. Lime juice can also be added to the fried rice before srving.

Notes

  1. Rice to water ratio for cooking red rice is about 1:4. 
  2. To check for doneness, take a grain of rice and press with your fingers. You should be able to squeeze it easily. 
  3. Once cooked, the red rice needs to be thoroughly cooled before stir-frying, else it may become sticky. Use my hack mentioned above. Another option is to use leftover rice from the fridge.
  4. While stir-frying, the rice has to be added before the eggs get fully cooked, so the eggs combine well with the rice.
  5. Galangal belongs to the same family as ginger and has a unique flavor. If you can’t find it, you can substitute ginger.
Stir-fried red rice with Thai flavors
Keyword easy fried rice recipe, fried rice, fried rice with egg, red fried rice, red rice, vegetarian, vegetarian fried rice recipe

This post was originally published in 2018, and has been updated with new photos to give you an awesome experience.

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