Thai Roasted Chili Fried Rice with Prawns

Front view of plate with spicy prawn fried rice with cucumber slices and a lime wedge.

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This Thai Roasted Chili Fried Rice is quick and easy to make, and exploding with the BEST sweet-savory, tangy, and spicy flavors! It’s full of big juicy prawns, and stars Thai chili paste (Nam Prik Pao).



For the Sauce:

For the Thai Roasted Chili Fried Rice with Prawns:

  • 3 TBLS Canola Oil (or any neutral flavored cooking oil with a high smoke point)
  • 200 grams / 7 ounces peeled and deveined Black Tiger Prawns/Shrimp (use 400 grams if using unpeeled prawns)
  • 6 Garlic cloves – roughly chopped
  • 210 Red Chilies (Bird’s Eye preferred, but any small hot red chilies will work), to taste – roughly chopped
  • 26 Green Chilies (Bird’s Eye preferred, but any small hot green chilies will work), to taste – roughly chopped
  • 26 Prik Kee Nu Green Chilies (optional), to taste – cut in half
  • 1 Large Red Chili – deseeded if desired and thinly sliced at an angle
  • ½ Yellow Onion – finely chopped
  • 2 Lemongrass stalks – outer tough layers removed and finely minced (substitute with 2 TBLS lemongrass paste if unavailable)
  • 3 cups cooked Long Grain Rice (Such as Thai Jasmine rice. Day old rice works best.)
  • ½ TSP ground White Pepper
  • 1.5 cups Thai Holy Basil Leaves – washed and pat-dried
  • 1 Spring Onion – chopped, white and green parts separated
  • 1 Egg – lightly beaten
  • To Serve: more chopped spring onion, chopped coriander (cilantro), cucumber slices, lime wedges for squeezing



  1. Prepare the fresh ingredients: Roughly chop the garlic, Bird’s Eye red and green chilies, and Prik Kee Nu green chilies (if using). Add to a mortar and pestle and pound into a coarse paste. Thinly slice the large red chili at an angle, chop the onion and spring onion, and mince the lemongrass. Pick the holy basil leaves off the stems, then wash and pat-dry with paper towels. Lightly beat the egg in a small bowl. Set everything aside.
  2. Prepare the prawns: Peel and devein the prawns if they aren’t already. Then rinse thoroughly and pat-dry.
  3. Make the sauce: Whisk together the Thai chili paste (Nam Prik Pao), fish sauce, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, tamarind paste, and freshly squeezed lime juice in a measuring cup or small bowl. Set aside.

For the Thai Roasted Chili Fried Rice with Prawns:

  1. Cook the prawns: Heat one tablespoon of canola oil in a large nonstick wok. Once hot, add the prawns and cook undisturbed for about a minute. Turn the pieces over and cook for another 30 seconds, then stir-fry for 10-20 seconds. Switch off the heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer to a clean bowl, then set aside.
  2. Sauté onion and aromatics: Heat 1.5 tablespoons of canola oil in the wok over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion, spring onion white parts, and lemongrass. Sauté for 1-2 minutes until the onion starts to lightly brown and everything is fragrant. Next, add the garlic chili paste mixture and thinly sliced large red chili. Stir-fry for 30-40 seconds.
  3. Add the rice and sauce: Add the rice and pour the sauce on top. Stir-fry, breaking up the lumps as you go, until the rice is evenly coated in the sauce.
  4. Add the shrimp: Add the shrimp and ground white pepper, and toss to combine with everything.
  5. Scramble the egg: Push everything to the side of the wok and add the remaining ½ tablespoon of oil. Pour in the egg and allow it to set for 20-30 seconds, then scramble and toss to combine with everything in the wok.
  6. Add the greens: Toss through the Thai holy basil leaves and spring onion green parts until the basil has wilted, then switch off the heat.
  7. To Serve: Divide the fried rice evenly onto plates. Garnish with more chopped spring onion and chopped coriander. Serve with cucumber slices and lime wedges for squeezing if desired.



Ingredient Notes and FAQs

  1. Thai Chili Paste/(Nam Prik Pao): This is a sweet and savory umami packed chili paste which has the texture of jam. It’s also known as “roasted chili paste” or “roasted chili paste in soybean oil”. It can found in Thai or Asian grocery stores, or purchased online.
  2. Tamarind Paste/Concentrate: Depending on how tangy your jarred paste is, you may need to adjust the amount indicated. Be sure to use a Thai tamarind paste and not an Indian one – the latter is black and sticky. You can find Thai tamarind paste in the Asian aisle of some large supermarkets, Asian/Thai grocery stores, or online.
  3. Chilies: Feel free to adjust the quantity depending on your heat level preference. Prik Kee Nu green chilies are incredibly hot, so use at your own discretion. The large red chili is rather mild and is more for color than heat.
  4. How long will the fried rice keep? 2-3 days in a sealed airtight container in the refrigerator. You can reheat it in a wok on the stovetop by adding a bit of oil or water to prevent it from drying out, or in the microwave on high for 1-2 minutes until hot throughout.
  5. What else can I make with Nam Prik Pao besides fried rice? You can add it to salads, or stir-fries such as Thai Cashew Chicken, Tom Yum Soup, or even make a sandwich with it. It’s a very versatile ingredient and even tastes great as a dip for crackers and veggies such as cucumber or carrot sticks.
  6. See post above for tips on ‘Variations’.