Curry Fried Rice – Thai restaurant-style, colorful rice perfectly seasoned and loaded with veggies and flavors. This vegan and gluten free fried rice makes a hearty and balanced meal easy to whip up on weeknights.
Let’s call this recipe “low maintenance-high flavors” ..shall we? One pot, simple ingredients, and 20 minutes easy recipe makes you incredibly delicious and satisfying golden fried rice. Trust me. You are going to LOVE it .
What is Curry Fried Rice ?
Curry Fried rice is popular Asian rice dish. Cooked rice is seasoned with delicious curry seasoning and tossed with sautéed veggies and finished with bright tangy lemon and herbs.. it is nom nom delish. Perfect for light meal on it’s own or as a side dish.
This zesty Curry Rice is easy to customize as per your diet needs. And it’s easy to make. You can also add some protein like tofu or beans and a wholesome spicy rice.
Instant Pot Curry Fried Rice
You can make this Thai Curry Fried Rice recipe on stove top or in electric pressure cooker like Instant Pot . Either works just as good. The recipe card has detailed instructions to make it using either method.
Easy Rice Recipe
Even though it’s called fried rice, technically nothing is fried here. Everything is sizzled in flavorful curry powder that brings out wonderful aroma. And a slight crunch to make it perfectly delectable.
Sizzling Curry Rice is staple in Asian cuisine. You can change it up to make it different varieties. Sometimes, I add chunks of pineapple in the mix to make Thai Pineapple Curry Rice. You can add tofu to make it Protine rich Tofu Curry Fried Rice.
Turmeric in Curry Powder
The curry powder includes Turmeric powder that gives beautiful golden hue to the rice. Some Authentic Thai Curry Rice recipes include extra turmeric powder in the ingredients. However, the turmeric aroma can become overwhelming so I just use curry powder for this recipe.
Great for Leftover Rice
Fried rice is one of my favorite fast and easy dinners. I admit, I often cook more rice than I need — just so there’s some ready for a bowl of fried rice the next day! Because fried rice tastes amazing with leftover rice.
Can I make it Oil Free?
You can easily swap oil for some broth to make this Curry Fried Rice WFPB compliant.
To make it keto and low carb use cauliflower rice instead of white rice. If you prefer, replace white rice with brown rice, quinoa for a new, healthier-tastier version.
What is best rice to use?
The rice used for Thai Curry fried rice is often jasmine or sticky rice. I had Basmati rice at hand since that’s what I often cook for most Indian dishes like Delicious Turmeric Lemon Rice with peanuts But feel free to use any type of rice you have in your pantry.
The goal here is to convert bland batch of white rice into sizzling delicious and colorful lip-smacking goodness. The curry powder, other flavorings and mix-ins do exactly that. Bold and the beautiful like a sunshine.
Meal Prep and Easy Side
You can prep a big batch for the week and enjoy it on repeat. School or office lunches never looked so bright and beautiful and healthy and delicious. However, I must admit, we rarely have anything left after a scrumptious dinner.
You can also use it as a side dish for BBQ, potlucks or picnics.. after all, we all need variety to spice things up. Don’t we?
However, about 15-20 minutes is what it takes to bring this dish from scratch to table. Even faster if you have cooked rice ready. So you can devour it as fresh as you wish in time.
Better than carry out
This take out inspired classic Thai rice makes a quick and convenient dinner for a busy night. I am in love with these “fake out” meals. So much healthier than ordering, as you can control all of the ingredients that go into it.
Exact measurement is listed in the recipe card below. Here’s a brief overview
- Cooked cold rice – This recipe tastes best if made using pre cooked and cooled rice. However, you can make it with freshly made rice as well.
- Cooking oil – I like to use sesame oil for Asian dishes
- Vegetables : Celery, Spring onion, Snow peas and Colored peppers. Feel free to use your favorites.
- Curry powder– this is the star of the recipe. So use your favorite.
- Minced Ginger and Garlic
- Spicy Red Pepper Sauce, Chili Sauce or any other hot sauce – adjust according to your spice tolerance.
- Salt and ground black pepper per taste
- Lime or lemon juice to taste
- After the rice and veggies are mixed together, I keep them cooking few extra minutes on medium heat. It helps bring out the crispiness and slight burnt /crunch to the rice.
- The goal is to let the water evaporate. But you have to be watchful during this step other wise yo end up with dark burnt layer which is bitter.
- So you press the rice down into the skillet. Using your spatula, flatten it down. Let the rice sit like this, undisturbed, for 2-3 minutes. After 2-3 minutes, give it a good stir, scraping crispy toasted layer from the bottom of the pan.
- Repeat this process 2-3 times, until you get the desired amount of crispiness in your rice. DO let us know how it turns out for you.
- If you do not have curry powder readily available, use this comprehensive list of Curry Powder Substitutes.
Should You cook veggies and Rice Separately?
I prefer not to pressure cook the veggies with rice since I like different textures instead of mushy veggies. It also helps retain the nice crisp on veggies.
However, if you want to make this recipe truly dump and go, you can. Just dump all ingredients in the Instant Pot and cook at once.
Just 5 extra minutes of sautéing the veggies separately makes a big difference between mushy gulp vs tender textured veggies. So choice is yours 🙂
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Curry Fried Rice – Instant Pot Option
- 1 cup rice
- 1.5 cups water to cook the rice
- 1 Tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 Tablespoon Curry powder
- 1 Tablespoon Ginger shredded
- 1 Tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 Tablespoon spicy red pepper sauce adjust per taste
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt and ground black pepper per taste
- 1 Tablespoon lime or lemon juice
- ½ cup diced Celery
- ½ cup Spring onion cut into pieces
- 1 cup Snow peas- ends trimmed
- 1 cup Colored peppers – cut into stripes
Cook the rice:
- Rinse 1 cup long grain rice in cold water really well. Drain the washed water and add to a saucepan with 1.5 cups of water. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 mins. Let it sit covered for another 5 mins, then fluff well with fork. Use immediately or if you want to use it for later, cool completely then cover and refrigerate .
Make the vegetables :
- Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over moderate heat. Add the ginger /garlic and onions, and sauté until fragrant, approx. 3-5 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep garlic from browning. Add the celery, colored peppers and snow peas. Sauté for approx. 5 minutes or until veggies are tender. Add the curry powder, plus a pinch of kosher salt and ground black pepper. Stir to combine evenly throughout the vegetables. Lower the heat.
Mix the curried vegetables and rice together :
- Add the cooked rice to the skillet in batches, stirring to coat. Make sure the rice and cooked vegetables are mixed well together. Add the spicy chili sauce. Remove skillet from heat, adjust the seasoning. Garnish with chopped spring onion greens and lime juice (optional), and serve warm. Enjoy with gusto 🙂
Extra Sauté for crispy / fried rice texture ( optional step)
- Bring the heat to medium and press the rice down into the skillet. Using your spatula, flattening it down. Let the rice sit like this, undisturbed, for 2-3 minutes. After 2-3 minutes, give it a good stir, scraping crispy toasted layer from the bottom of the pan. Repeat this process 2-3 times, until you get the desired amount of crispiness in your rice. Your crispy toasty layered Curry Fried Rice is Ready to devour !
Instant Pot Directions
- Start Instant Pot on sauté mode. Once it displays HOT, add oil. Add ginger, garlic and let it sizzle. Add the veggies and curry powder, salt and pepper. Sauté on high for 3-5 minutes stirring frequently. Once veggies look cooked and tender, CANCEL sauté function. Remove the mixture from Instant Pot and set aside.
- Add soaked rice in the main insert of instant pot. Add water and mix well. Close the lid and valve in SEALING position. Choose MANUAL or PRESSURE COOK mode on high for 6 minutes. Wait for 5 minutes on keep warm timer after it is done cooking and then release the leftovers pressure manually by moving the valve from SEALING to VENTING. Open the lid carefully.
- Add the sautéed veggies to the main insert. Add spicy red pepper sauce. Using a spatula, mix everything well. Taste and adjust the seasoning if required. Garnish with chopped green onions and squeezed lime juice. Serve warm. Enjoy !!
Extra Sauté for crispy / fried rice texture ( optional step)
- Press SAUTE mode on Instant Pot and press the rice down with your spatula, so it flattens. Let the rice sit like this, undisturbed, for 2-3 minutes. After 2-3 minutes, give it a good stir, scraping crispy toasted layer from the bottom of the pan. Repeat this process 2-3 times, until you get the desired amount of crispiness in your rice. Cancel Sauté. Your crispy toasty layered Curry Fried Rice is Ready to devour ! Enjoy with gusto 🙂