One of my husband’s favorite things to eat is Shrimp fried rice. He is actually a pescatarian who only eats shrimp and fish once a month. Shrimp fried rice is his total indulgence. Since coming to the US, he has tried and loved Thai fried rice. I tried to make a version of it here in this recipe. I included Thai chillies, Thai basil and a flavorful sauce to finish the dish. I also loaded it up with veggies and delicious seared shrimp. Shrimp recipes are all very delicious with Jamaican flavors.
Here are some things to know before getting started:
Try to use the largest shrimp that you can find. Large or bigger is best to use in this dish because you want the shrimp to be the highlight of the dish. If you can’t find deveined shrimp, be sure to devein them ahead of time and remove the shells. The shrimp will be seasoned and cooked very simply so don’t worry about taking your spices from your pantry. If the shrimp are over seasoned, it will affect the overall taste of the rice.
You can use any veggies you love here. I used mushrooms and carrots. You can use peas, corn, mixed veggies, green beans, etc. I firstly sear the mushrooms allowing them to “sweat” out the water that is in them. Once the water evaporates from the mushrooms they will start to caramelize. That slight sear is indication that the mushrooms can be removed from the pan. I diced the carrots and blanched them in hot water for about 2 minutes before adding them to the dish. Blanching the carrots ahead of time ensured they were cooked enough before adding them to the dish.
This type of basil is extremely pungent. You also can’t replace it with American basil. They do not have the same flavor profile. The basil is placed in this dish last so the flavor can slowly infuse in the rice. Adding this directly to the hot oil will not only burn it but till make it bitter. Once the basil is added, bury it under the rice so it will steam and steep the flavor into the dish.
Thai chillies are extremely hot. They are very small so they are hard to deseed. Most of the heat is in the seeds and the membranes which will usually stay in this tiny pepper. Be careful about how much you use in this dish.
While I made this dish I added all the sauces individually because I needed to taste and measure as I created the recipe. You wont need to do that. You can mix all of the sauce ingredients together and pour them into the dish. The sauce is on the sweeter side because Thai fried rice is a mix of sweet and savory. If you don’t enjoy that you can leave out the added tsp of sugar.
Wok or No Wok?
I have an Americanized commercial Wok. It is not the best, but it does give some smokiness to this dish and that is the point of using a Wok. If you don’t have one, cook this dish in a deep skillet or a dutch pot. It would be just as delicious.
For this recipe you will need:
- Large/Deep Skillet or Wok
- Sharp Knife
- Cutting board
- Paddle spoon / Flat spoon
- Small bowl
- 2 lbs large shrimp (deveined)
- 2.5 cups of uncooked Jasmine rice (steam rice ahead of time. Yields about 5 cups of cooked rice)
- 1 medium white onion (chopped)
- 2 Thai Chilies (chopped)
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 3 scallions (chopped)
- 2 carrots (diced and blanched)
- 8 leaves of Thai Basil (leave whole)
- 8 oz Baby Bella Mushrooms or 1 cup mixed vegetables(diced)
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- 2 tbsp of garlic Hoisin sauce
- 1/4 cup oyster sauce
- 3 tbsps soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- In a small bowl, combine 1 tbsp sesame oil, Hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, cooking wine, soy sauce and sugar. Mix well and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, season shrimp with 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper and minced garlic. You can also add a bit of fish seasoning for more flavor.
- In a large pan or wok, add 1 tbsp sesame oil and heat on medium-high heat. Cook shrimp on both sides until pink and cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, add 1 tbsp sesame oil. Add mushrooms and cook until they have released their water and start to caramelize. Remove from the pan and set aside. If not using mushrooms, you can wait to add mixed vegetables after the onions.
- In the same pan, add 1 tbsp of sesame oil. Add onions and allow to cook for about 90 seconds. Add chilies and toss until fragrant. You can also add 1/4 of a green bell pepper at this point, if desired.
- Add blanched carrots and toss. Allow the carrots to heat through for about a minute or two. If using mixed vegetables, add them here.
- Add steamed rice and use a flat spoon to break the rice apart if it is in clumps. Be sure to get all the lumps out of the rice with the spoon. Toss rice and veggies until combined for about 2 minutes.
- Add the sauce mixture to the rice and veggies and toss rice until it is all coated with sauce for about another minute.
- Add in shrimp and mushrooms. Let the shrimp and mushrooms warm through by tossing them about another minute or two.
- Add Thai basil and scallions and toss and continue to stir and toss rice so it doesn't stick or burn in the pan. Once the basil has wilted, the rice is ready. The basil should wilt in about 3-4 minutes.
- Serve hot and enjoy!