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Tom Yum Fried Rice Shrimp (Khao Pad Tom Yum)

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Tom yum fried rice shrimp is one of THE BEST dishes for an easy weeknight dinner. Get the spicy, savory, and tangy flavors on point with my homemade Thai chili paste or use an easy store-bought version. And if shrimp is not your jam, you can easily swap it out for other protein like chicken to turn it into a crowd-pleaser.

Tom yum fried rice served in a black bowl with a sunny-side-up egg, fresh shrimp, and cucumber slices, garnished with flowers.

In love with tom yum flavors? Me too! Check out my other recipes like dry tom yum noodles, tom yum paste recipe, spicy tom yum kung, and delicious tom yum gai soup.

What is tom yum fried rice

Tom yum fried rice is a Thai dish that combines protein, rice, and vegetables with lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves. Its flavors, a balance of sweet, salty, sour, and spicy, capture the essence of traditional tom yum soup in a fried rice version.

Why try khao pad tom yum

  • Enjoy traditional Thai flavors at home. This recipe for Thai tom yum fried rice is made with classic ingredients like fish sauce, fresh lime juice, and Thai chilies.
  • It’s a quick and easy Thai dish. Minimal prep and cooking time. Just toss the ingredients in your pan and stir-fry your way to a homemade Thai meal.
  • It’s a restaurant quality meal. This recipe could easily be served up at a Thai restaurant.
  • Use up your leftover rice. The best fried rice is made with chilled day-old rice. Using fresh steamed rice is rather sticky and mushy, while leftover rice is dry and easy to stir-fry. The rice grains separate easily, so you can coat each rice grain with sauce.
  • It’s so easy to customize. You can easily switch up the protein. Chicken, pork, beef, seafood, anything works. The tom yum flavors are easy to adapt to taste as well. Make sure to taste-test while cooking.
Tom yum fried rice served on a clay plate, topped with a sunny-side-up egg, garnished with fresh chilies, lime, and flowers on the side.

Fried rice is always delicious, and this authentic tom yum noodle soup is just as good!

Recipe tips and tricks

  • Don’t overcrowd your pan. If you’re making a large batch, do not cook all at once. If you have one, use a large pan.
  • Stir-fry over high heat. Most stir-fry dishes are best cooked over high heat. This locks in the flavors. Make sure to keep things moving to prevent burning.
  • Add fresh herbs last. When cooking, you want to add fresh herbs like cilantro and Thai basil in the last minute. This way they’ll keep most of their flavor and not wilt as much.
  • Make crispy rice. I like fried rice best with crispy, golden bits. To achieve this, simply toss in the rice and press the grains into the wok with the back of your spatula. Let it sit for a moment before stirring.
  • Prep ahead. Make sure you have your ingredients chopped and ready to go.
Thai woman proudly presenting a plate of tom yum fried rice, topped with a fried egg, served with lime and cucumber slices.

Quick note: Thai cooking is all about tasting as you go. Toss in your ingredients, taste, and fine-tune the flavors to taste. Aim for that signature fiery, sour, sweet, and salty that makes Thai cuisine so delicious.

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Ingredients for tom yum fried rice: Shrimp, garlic, red chilies, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, egg, leftover rice, lime juice, fish sauce, chili paste, sugar, all displayed on a banana leaf.
  • Rice – Day-old jasmine rice that has been chilled in the refrigerator is perfect.
  • Shrimp – Shrimp cooks quickly, perfect for a quick fried rice. Feel free to swap it with chicken, other meats, or even tofu.
  • Garlic – Garlic is the base of many Thai stir-fries, bringing a pungent aroma.
  • Egg – The eggs are scrambled and stirred into the fried rice, giving it a richer flavor and extra nutrition.
  • Thai chili paste – In this authentic tom yum fried rice recipe, we’ll make the Thai chili paste from scratch. My homemade chili paste recipe is made with shrimp paste, palm sugar, tamarind paste, and more. You can make a large batch at once and store the rest for later, or use a store-bought paste to save time.
  • Chili peppers – Use fresh Thai chili peppers such as Jinda chilies or bird’s eye chilies. If you’re not a fan of spicy rice, use Spanish peppers or jalapeños.
  • White sugar, fish sauce, lime – This trio of ingredients creates the classic flavors of sweet, salty, and tangy. Go for fresh lime juice and a high-quality fish sauce like red boat fish sauce.
  • Kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, galangal – These herbs infuse your fried rice with citrusy and slightly spicy notes.

Cooking instructions

  1. Prepare stir-fry sauce

    In a mixing bowl, combine the chili paste, fish sauce, fresh lime juice, and sugar. Stir until well mixed.Top-down view of clay cup containing a dark sauce mixture with wooden spoon.

  2. Crush herbs and spices

    Crush galangal, lemongrass, and garlic using a mortar and pestle.Overhead view of crushed dry herbs and spices in a granite mortar.

  3. Sauté aromatics

    Heat a wok over high heat and add oil. Toss in the freshly pounded mixture, sliced chilies, and kaffir lime leaves. Stir-fry until aromatic or 10–20 seconds.Top-down view of stir-fried chilies, garlic, and spices.

  4. Cook shrimp

    Add the shrimp into the wok. Cook for approx 2 minutes, or until each side is cooked.Cooked shrimp with kaffir lime leaves, sliced red chilies, and spices in a cooking pan.

  5. Add eggs

    Push everything to one side of the wok. Crack open the eggs in the empty area and scramble them. Mix the scrambled eggs with the other ingredients.The inside of a wok with scrambled eggs in one half, and cooked shrimp with spices in the other half.

  6. Add rice

    Toss in the rice, thoroughly stir-frying to combine all ingredients.Overhead view of a pan with shrimp fried rice.

  7. Add stir-fry sauce

    Add the prepared stir-fry sauce and continue to stir-fry until each grain of rice is coated with the sauce. Serve immediately.Close-up of tom yum fried rice being made in a pan.

Kitchen tools

  • Cutting board and chef’s knife
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Mortar and pestle
  • Mixing bowl
  • Large wok

How to serve

Scoop the rice into a bowl and firmly press it down with a rice spoon. Then, flip the bowl onto a plate to create a dome shaped portion of rice.

Garnishing options

  • Thai chili flakes or sliced chilies: For those who like spicy fried rice.
  • Prik nam pla: A Thai condiment often found on the tables of street food stalls.
  • Fresh herbs: Coriander, cilantro, mint, Thai basil, or chopped green onions.
  • Lime wedge
  • Fried egg: Top with a Thai-style fried egg with a runny yolk and crispy edges.

How to store and reheat

Let your meal cool down and transfer it to an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3–4 days.

Reheating instructions: Reheat in a skillet or non-stick wok over medium heat. Add a little oil if needed and stir frequently until heated through.

Did you know?

In Thai language, ‘tom’ means to boil and ‘yum’ refers to a tossed together salad like yum woon sen pork, which is spicy and sour.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ’s)

How to make tom yum fried rice less spicy?

To make a mild tom yum fried rice, you can use less Thai chili paste or use a mild type of chili pepper. Alternatively, you can remove the chili seeds, which is where most of the spiciness is centered.

What rice to use for fried rice?

Jasmine rice is the preferred choice for fried rice. It’s best to use chilled day-old rice, as freshly cooked rice can be too moist. Alternatively, you can use basmati rice or brown rice for a healthier alternative.

What does tom yum fried rice taste like?

Tom yum fried rice is a well-balanced blend of sweet, salty, sour, and spicy flavors. Its taste is enriched by aromatic herbs and spices like lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Opt for a gluten-free fish sauce, and make sure your chili paste brand is gluten-free. The rest of the ingredients are naturally gluten-free.

Do I have to use day-old rice?

If you want the best results, then yes. However, you can take a shortcut by steaming rice and spreading it out on a baking sheet, which you can then place in the fridge until chilled.

What is tom yum fried rice in Thai language?

It translates to khao phad tom yum (ข้าวผัดต้มยำ).

More Thai fried rice recipes you’ll love

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Tom Yum Fried Rice Shrimp (Khao Pad Tom Yum)

Tom yum fried rice served in a black bowl with a sunny-side-up egg, fresh shrimp, and cucumber slices, garnished with flowers.
This tom yum fried rice recipe is a one-pan wonder loaded with shrimp, classic Thai herbs, and a kick of spice that turns dinner into a party.
Praew
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Course
Serving Size 2 people

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons chili paste
  • 1.5 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2.5 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves stems removed
  • 2 chilies Thai chilies, sliced, to taste
  • 0.35 ounces galangal crushed
  • 0.35 ounces lemongrass crushed
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 8 shrimp
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups rice day-old jasmine rice

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the chili paste, fish sauce, fresh lime juice, and sugar. Stir until well mixed.
  • Crush galangal, lemongrass, and garlic using a mortar and pestle.
  • Heat a wok over high heat and add oil. Toss in the freshly pounded mixture, sliced chilies, and kaffir lime leaves. Stir-fry until aromatic or 10–20 seconds.
  • Add the shrimp into the wok. Cook for approx 2 minutes, or until each side is cooked.
  • Push everything to one side of the wok. Crack open the eggs in the empty area and scramble them. Mix the scrambled eggs with the other ingredients.
  • Toss in the rice, thoroughly stir-frying to combine all ingredients.
  • Add the prepared stir-fry sauce and continue to stir-fry until each grain of rice is coated with the sauce. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Use day-old jasmine rice for making fried rice.
  • Pair with Thai chili paste for the best results.

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