Thai Combination Fried Rice

This dish is loosely based on Thailand’s ubiquitous fried rice dish, kao pad. Usually some kind of animal protein accompanies the rice — squid, crabmeat, ham, chicken, whatever the cook has on hand. My version relies instead on tofu and vegetables; the most important ingredients are the rice itself, the garlic and the fish sauce. Have all of your ingredients prepared and close to the stove. Cooking goes very quickly.


  • 4 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced small or cut in julienne
  • 4 ounces tofu, patted dry and cut in 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 eggs, beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 5 cups cooked rice, preferably Thai jasmine rice available in markets that sell Asian foods
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce (to taste)
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons Thai or Indonesian chile sauce (to taste)
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, both white and green parts, chopped

For the garnish

  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • Thinly sliced cucumber
  • Lime wedges
  • Scallions
  • Fish sauce with hot chiles nam pla prik or half the amount of soy sauce

    Serves four to six


    1. Heat a large wok or large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water evaporates upon contact. Add the oil and swirl, then add the carrot and tofu. Stir-fry until lightly colored, about two minutes. Add the garlic and stir-fry until golden, about 30 seconds. Pour in the beaten egg. Stir-fry until scrambled, then add the rice. Cook the rice — scooping it up and pressing it into the pan, then scooping it up again — for about two minutes. Add the fish, chile sauces, tomato and chopped scallions, then stir together for about a half-minute. Serve, garnishing each plate with the cilantro and cucumbers and passing lime wedges, scallions and fish sauce with chiles. Diners should squeeze lime juice onto their rice as they eat.
    • Advance preparation: Cooked rice will keep for three or four days in the refrigerator. The dish is a last-minute stir-fry. Martha Rose Shulman can be reached at

    10 minutes

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