The first time I tasted this dish, it was my first weekend in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand. We’d been to church, and afterwards friends took me for dinner to a food court near the famous night market and recommended I begin my Thai food adventure with Kao Pad Kai, or Chicken Fried Rice. I ordered, I tasted, I was enthralled! If all Thai food was this good, it was going to be a great two years. Aroy mak mak (very, very delicious)! I wanted more!


Little did I know that it was laced with MSG (monosodium glutamate), the notorious flavour enhancer that has become so unpopular here in Australia. Somehow, someone enlightened me, and the next week I ordered the same, but without MSG. It was still aroy, but not beyond wonderful. Delicious, but not food of the gods. I moved on. I spent the next two years trying every other dish that Thailand could offer, and loving them all.


Now that I’m back in Australia, Kao Pad Kai is one of those dishes I love to re-create on a regular basis. It requires very few ingredients that I don’t already have on hand, and is great for the weekend when all I want is quick and easy. I’ve thrown in a few extra vegies for added crunch and colour, but apart from that, it’s authentic and still as delicious as I remember. Hubby agrees, but only if I don’t add in the fish sauce. I keep that on the side, adding to taste after serving.


Thai Chicken Fried Rice {Kao Pad Kai}
I usually find that 1 cup of raw, uncooked rice makes three cups cooked, enough for two people. If using a rice cooker, the rice will be dry enough to use almost immediately, but if boiling it will need time to cool and for the water to evaporate off the grains before frying. You don’t want to be adding wet rice to the wok; things will get gluggy.

Serves 2

2 tablespoons soya bean oil
4-6 cloves garlic crushed
100g chicken fillet (cut into small pieces)
1 large egg
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon dried shrimp
1 teaspoon sugar
1 plate steamed rice
1 tablespoon light soya sauce
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 small red capsicum, diced (optional)
¼ cup corn kernels (optional)
¼ teaspoon chilli powder (or flakes)
½ lime

Heat oil over medium heat for 10 seconds. Add the garlic and stir-fry until it becomes fragrant. Add the chicken and fry until the chicken changes colour.

Crack the egg straight into the wok. Stir well and scramble, frying until cooked through.

Add the fish sauce, sugar and dried shrimp, stir to combine then add steamed jasmine rice and stir fry rapidly, turning the rice over and continue stirring for ½ minute.

Lastly add spring onion, other veg and chilli powder cook again for another 20 seconds. Squeeze lime on the top. Serve hot.

Leave a Reply