In Thai, "Tom Yum" usually refers to the iconic hot and sour soup, and this dish takes those very flavors and weaves them into a fried rice that will knock your darned socks off.
Tom Yum Fried Rice means: tender chunks of golden tofu, oyster mushrooms, and aromatic shallots are skillfully combined with fragrant makrut lime leaves, Thai basil leaves, fiery Bird's eye chilies, and a bouquet of vibrant spices. Every morsel of this vegan and gluten-free rice recipe is an emanation of Thailand's rich culinary heritage.
Whether you're a novice or a seasoned home chef, you'll find this recipe remarkably straightforward. The step-by-step instructions will help you avoid the top mistakes people often make when trying to recreate restaurant-quality fried rice at home.
Get ready to meet your new favey rice dish. Tom Yum Fried Rice is the ultimate way to breathe new life into boring ol’ leftover cooked rice!
🥰Why you are going to adore the ever-loving heck outta this recipe
✊ Vegan AF and GF: Like all of the rice recipes on my blog, this one is mae without animal products. And what else, you ask? Yeah, it just happens to be completely gluten-free too! No prawns, fish sauce, or chicken stock can be found here.
🍲 Ingredient Magic: This recipe really does have the perfect balance of a ton of umami, sweetness, sourness, spiciness, and pungency, and it might just upstage your main course. I guarantee you will love it!
✅ Globally Approved: Like all of the Thai recipes I share, this is not just something I wrote down on the back of a napkin at a bar... After tweaking and making this fried rice recipe repeatedly until I felt it was perfect, I shared it with a huge group of recipe testers from around the world. It has received the seal of approval from a diverse team of cooks, guaranteeing it works well all over the planet with varying ingredient brands.
🍚 Notable ingredients and substitutions
Beancurd, also known as tofu, originates from China and is a protein powerhouse in this dish. In this Tom Yum Fried Rice, tofu absorbs the vibrant flavors of the Tom Yum paste and serves as a satisfying meat substitute. For a twist, you can replace it with tempeh (like you would use for making sambal goreng) or even my perfect chicken-like seitan!
Tom Yum Paste
I am a little biased here, and I think my Tom Yum paste recipe is the best. It’s fast to make, and it's much cheaper to make than store-bought. But if you use a pre-made paste and you are vegan or vegetarian, just make sure it doesn’t contain fish or shrimp paste (belacan). Alternatively, you can make this fried rice using bumbu bali for more of an Indonesian taste.
They don’t just make the best vegetarian shawarma substitute! Oyster mushrooms impart an earthy, umami-rich taste to the recipe. If oyster mushrooms are hard to find, shiitake, crimini, and portobello mushrooms can be excellent alternatives. Just hand-tear them for the most natural and meaty appearance.
Makrut Lime Leaves
These aromatic leaves, referred to as Kaffir lime leaves in many parts of the world, hail from Southeast Asia. It’s essential in nailing some of Indonesia’s best dishes like nasi kunyit, tahu goreng, nasi minyak, and Balinese urap sayur salad. They infuse cooked food with a fresh, citrusy fragrance. If unavailable, substitute with a little regular lime zest, but the unique aroma will not be quite the same.
Bird's Eye Chilies
These tiny powerhouses are a trademark of Thai cuisine. They deliver a fiery kick to Southeast Asian dishes like bihun goreng and asinan sayur. Adjust the quantity to suit your heat preference. Serrano, Thai green chilies, or hari mirch chilies (which also make a crazy good chili pickle) are good substitutes.
The choice of rice is flexible, but jasmine rice provides the best fragrance. As long as it is already fully cooked and then cooled, you can take your pick: brown rice, red rice, aged basmati rice, whatever! This dish is a great opportunity to turn plain leftover rice into something magical. So, use what you have and what you love.
*See the recipe card at the bottom of the page for exact quantities, nutritional info, and detailed cooking directions.
Pineapple Tom Yum Fried Rice: In this version, small chunks of ripe pineapple are added to the fried rice, enhancing the overall sweet and tangy flavor profile. The pineapple adds a refreshing contrast to the heat of the Tom Yum seasoning. Simply stir in pineapple cubes to your taste. I prefer using fresh pineapple, but if you want to use the canned stuff, you do you, as they say!
Tom Yum Fried Rice with Tamarind Paste: This variation hails from the southern regions of Thailand and introduces more tanginess from tamarind. There should already be some in a proper tom yum paste, but feel free to add up to 3 tablespoons of tamarind concentrate to intensify the pleasant sourness and a unique fruity complexity.
📖How to make perfect Tom Yum Fried Rice
Nail this rice dish on your first shot by following these step-by-step instructions with important tips. Or you can follow along with the easy-to-print recipe card towards the bottom of this page.
Sear Tofu and Mushrooms:
Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. After about 90 seconds, when the oil is sizzling, introduce the tofu and mushrooms. Stir-fry for 7-8 minutes until the tofu achieves a light, golden brown hue. Set this flavorful combo aside.
Aromatics in Action:
In the same wok, add more oil and sauté shallots (or red onion), minced garlic, lime leaves, Bird's eye chilies, and scallions. Cook for approximately 4 minutes over medium heat until an unbearably lovely aroma fills the air.
Rice and Reunion:
Combine the cooked rice, diced tomatoes, and the previously cooked tofu and mushrooms in the pan. Stir-fry this delightful medley for a couple of minutes until heated through.
Whisk the Tom Yum Sauce: Using the tines of a fork or the most adorably petite whisk in the galaxy to thoroughly combine Tom Yum paste, tamari (or soy sauce), vegetarian oyster sauce, sugar, lime juice, cornstarch, and water in a separate bowl.
Drizzle and Heat:
Pour the stir-fry sauce over the rice and stir-fry until it is thoroughly mixed into the entire dish.
Plate and Garnish:
Serve the Tom Yum Fried Rice piping hot, crowned with cucumber slices, lime wedges, a scattering of fresh cilantro leaves and chives. It ain't nothing to laugh at with some sambal goreng kentang on the side either.
This fried rice can be a complete meal on its own, but there’s no reason it should ever be lonely!
Use this fragrant fried rice as a versatile base for other delightful dishes. Try topping it with tofu sisig, vegan bulgogi, or Vietnamese bánh bao chay. For a Japanese-inspired twist, serve it alongside crispy tofu katsu with pickled burdock root.
To balance the flavors, consider complementing your Tom Yum Fried Rice with a variety of side dishes. Korean spicy cucumbers or vegetarian kimchi can add tangy and refreshing elements to your meal. If you're up for some heat, include pickled carrots or pickled amla for that extra zing.
- Press the Tofu: Press the extra firm tofu to remove excess moisture before cooking. This will help it absorb the flavors and achieve a better texture when stir-frying. You don’t need to get out of hand pressing it for hours, just try to get some of the extra water out.
- Hot Wok, Cool Oil: Start with a hot wok or skillet, then add oil. This prevents the ingredients from sticking and ensures a quick, even cooking process. This is best move with other fried rice dishes such as Khao Pad and Kimchi Fried Rice too.
- Quick and Hot: The final stir-fry after the sauce has been added should be a swift and hot process. Ensure all the ingredients are well combined, and the sauce is evenly distributed. Overcooking can make the rice soggy, or cause the sugars in the dish to burn a little.
✌️My faves to serve with this dish:
Absolutely! Just ensure you use gluten-free tamari and vegetarian oyster sauce to accommodate a gluten-free diet. Some soy sauce varieties are made with wheat.
The spiciness can be adjusted to your liking by varying the quantity of Bird's eye chilies and the type of Tom Yum paste you use.
You can substitute tofu with tempeh, seitan, or your favorite plant-based protein.
🥶Store any leftover Tom Yum Fried Rice in an airtight food-safe container in the refrigerator. Ensure it's cooled to room temperature before sealing. It can be refrigerated for up to four days, providing it has not been made with rice that is already older than 24 hours.
🔥 Stovetop Reheating: In a non-stick pan or skillet, add a splash of water or vegetable broth to prevent sticking. Place the cold Tom Yum Fried Rice in the pan and heat it over medium heat, stirring frequently. This method ensures even heating and helps restore the ideal texture. It usually takes 5-10 minutes until it's hot and ready to serve.
🌡️ Microwave Reheating: If you want a quicker option, use the microwave. Place your portion in a microwave-safe bowl and cover it with a microwave-safe plate. Reheat on medium power in 1-minute increments, stirring in between until the rice is steaming hot. Depending on your microwave's power, this might take 2-4 minutes.
Please avoid freezing Tom Yum Fried Rice, as the rice's texture will significantly deteriorate upon thawing. Enjoy it freshly made or reheated for the best results.
I adore Southeast Asian desserts. My top recommendations are Ondeh Ondeh, bánh flan, taro pudding, bubur sumsum, or biji salak. All of these also happen to be gluten-free, but if you want a fluffy steamed cake (which has gluten) make some Roti Kukus!
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Tom Yum fried rice with beancurd and mushrooms
- ¼ cup canola oil vegetable oil, or peanut oil
- 14 oz. Extra firm tofu drained and pressed dry, torn into small bite-size pieces
- 1 cup shredded oyster mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons canola oil vegetable oil, or peanut oil
- ½ cup shallots (or red onion) thinly sliced
- 4 makrut lime leaves aka kaffir lime, rough chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 Bird’s eye chilies (or to taste) thinly sliced
- 3 scallions Spring onions, cut into 2 cm. Sections
- 3 cups cooked jasmine rice basmati rice, or long-grain white rice
- ½ cup tomatoes
Tom Yum Stir Fry Sauce:
- 1 Persian Cucumber sliced or julienne-cut
- Lime wedges
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. After 90 seconds when the oil is hot, add the tofu and mushrooms, and stir fry for 7-8 minutes until the tofu is lightly golden brown all around. Set aside.
- In the same wok, add more oil and sauté shallots (or red onion), minced garlic, lime leaves, Bird's eye chilies, and scallions for about 4 minutes until fragrant.
- Add cooked rice, tomatoes, and previously cooked tofu and mushrooms to the pan. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes until well combined with the aromatics.
- Using the tines of a fork or a tiny whisk, mix together Tom Yum paste, tamari (or soy sauce), vegetarian oyster sauce, sugar, lime juice, corn starch and water in a separate bowl.
- Pour the sauce over the rice and stir-fry until coated and heated.
- Serve the Tom Yum Fried Rice hot, garnished with cucumber, lime wedges, and cilantro leaves.