I feel like tom yum fried rice should have been something I have tried in the past already. Clearly, it seems to be somewhat “American-friendly,” and for sure at some point, while I was aimlessly ordering pad thai-s over and over again, tom yum fried rice should have caught my eye - only it didn’t.

Fast forward to a couple weeks back when I was over at a Thai friend’s place for dinner, someone brought tom yum fried rice. Ding ding ding!! Everything that I particularly love about tom yum soup - the sourness, the fragrance from the lemongrass and lime leaves were all captured in a drier fluffier fried rice form. This was perfect and I’m sure many of you can imagine how good it tasted.

I did have it in its more traditional form - with pieces of salted fish. So you can imagine these flavor bursts I was getting biting into crunchy pieces of lemongrass (which by the way I thought was always more for just the flavor and the stalk was discarded afterwards, but never for eating), julienned strips of kaffir lime leaves and crunchy and salty pieces of fish in addition to the fluffy grains of rice I was eating invigorated with tom yum soup flavor. Magic!

Anyways, I’m obsessed with all the flavors and even though you may need to shop around and buy a fair amount of ingredients for this dish, know that you can freeze kaffir lime leaves, galangal and lemongrass. For the latter two, I just cut them into fine pieces before I froze them so that they would be immediately ready for use.

Vegan Tom Yum Fried Rice

(Serves 2-3)

  • 1 1/2 shallots, sliced thin
  • 1/2-inch piece galangal, sliced into thin matchsticks
  • 4-inch piece lemongrass, sliced thin
  • 1-2 tablespoons Thai chili paste (nam prik pao )
  • 1 tablespoon tom yum paste
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked rice, cooked
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, julienned

  • 1/4 cup textured vegetable protein (TVP)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • vegetable oil for cooking

Directions

  1. In a pan over medium high heat with 1-inch of oil, fry TVP for 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Let cool.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add in the shallots, galangal and lemongrass. Turn heat down to medium and cook for about a minute until flavors start to release.
  3. Add in the chili paste and tom yum paste. Cook for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add in the cooked rice and stir until rice is coated with the sauce.
  5. Add in lemon juice and TVP. Adjust flavoring if necessary.
  6. Turn heat off and stir in lime leaves and some additional pieces of lemongrass if desired.
  7. Serve warm.