Tofu Gapao Rice

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Tofu Gapao rice is a Thai inspired vegetarian friendly stir fry bursting with flavours of basil and spiciness from Thai red chillies.

We love to eat Gapao rice and often eat it. Thai Gapao is usually made with chicken or pork mince and everytime I had it I couldn’t help but wonder how nice it would be if vegetarians could enjoy this flavour combo and tried with my dehydrated tofu and worked amazingly ( check out how to make meaty textured tofu here)

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So what does Gapao mean ?

Gapao or krapao is – a variety of hot basil in Japan. So Gapao rice is basically a basil stir fry and rice. It is also sometimes called Thai basil stir fry.

We like it so much that I make it more often with tofu than with chicken.

This recipe is 15 mins recipe from start to end. Just have to add time to prepare the tofu and cook rice ( check out how to perfectly cook Thai Jasmine rice here )

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Tofu Gapao Rice Ingredients

  • Tofu – 200 Gms ( pat fry and drained)
  • Onion – 1/2 sliced thinly
  • Red bell pepper – 1/2 diced
  • Yellow bell pepper – 1/2 diced
  • Thai red chillies – 4
  • Basil leaves – 1 handful
  • Oil – 1 tsp
  • Oyster sauce – 3-4 tbsp
  • Palm or coconut sugar – 1 tsp
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp (add to taste)
  • Fish sauce (optional) – 1 tbsp
  • Cooked Thai rice
  • Fried egg

Prep work before you start

  • Dice bell peppers
  • Slice onions
  • Prepare tofu

How to make vegetarian Tofu Gapao rice

Pat Dry the tofu, place it under a heavy vessel filled with water to press and squeeze the water from it. ( cover in cling wrap leave in the freezer over night to remove further moisture if needed).

Allow it to thaw (with the cling wrap) in warm water and squeeze out remaining water from it.

Heat a pan, add oil to it, once hot, add in sliced onions, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper and sauté until the onions are translucent and the bell peppers are aromatic.

Next add in the shredded tofu pieces, Thai red chillies and mix it in.

Add in the oyster sauce, coconut or palm sugar and mix well.

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Lastly add shredded basil leaves, salt or fish sauce (vegetarians skip) and cook for another minute. Check for taste and add anything that brings a balance.

Serve it with hot Thai rice and fried egg (optional)

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Tips and notes

You can replace oyster sauce with vegan friendly alternative

For vegetarians skip the fish sauce and season with salt alone.

For meat option, replace tofu with chicken or pork mince.

If using fish sauce in the recipe- highly recommend, go easy on the salt as fish sauce already has salt in it.

Thai basil stir fry options

You can make the same recipe with shiitake mushrooms , or any mock meat mince if you prefer.

Check out a quick video on how to make this recipe here –

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