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15 May 2017

A spiced up side dish recipe for rice prepared with chopped onion, Thai chilies and fresh basil leaves. Who says rice has to be boring?

Rice so often plays second fiddle to other ingredients on the plate. It’s an afterthought, a vehicle for adding sustenance to a dish, to sop other other developed flavors. Truly, though, does it have to be this way? No! There is no reason for us to toss a cup of white rice into a pot of boiling water with nary a thought.

Even if it is still the side dish, why don’t we go ahead and spice that rice up? Let’s!

Chili-Basil Rice – Recipe

Adding Some ZING to Your Rice – Cooking Tip

Since rice IS such a blank slate ingredient, it absorbs all those other flavors you add to it, so have no fear adding big, bold flavors. I will be serving up a Chinese-style dish very soon that includes this savory rice, so I wanted to introduce something a bit spicy – SHOCKER, I know.

Thai chili peppers are ideal here, along with ribbons of fresh basil and ginger as well. If you have tough time finding Thai peppers, consider the wonderful serrano pepper, though you can choose a pepper to suit your preferred heat preferences.

How to Make Chili-Basil Rice – The Method

Preparation is almost as simple as making plain white rice. Simply cook down the chili peppers with onion and ginger, then add the rice with water and let the rice do its thing. If you’d like even MORE flavor, toss in a boullion cube or use chicken or vegetable stock. It makes a big difference.

When the rice is nicely tender, stir in the fresh basil along with lime juice. Top it all off with peanuts that have been lightly toasted in a dry pan. Boom! Done!

Serving Ideas for Chili-Basil Rice

I love this for a simple yet highly flavorful side dish. Goes great with fish or chicken. Yes!

Here are a few recipe ideas on the site you may want to try.

Also, try this Mexican Rice Recipe version, too!

Chili Basil Rice Recipe

I hope you enjoy it! Spice it up!

If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Chili-Basil Rice – Recipe
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5 from 1 vote

Chili-Basil Rice – Recipe

A spiced up side dish recipe for rice prepared with chopped onion, Thai chilies and fresh basil leaves. Who says rice has to be boring?
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: rice, side dish, thai peppers
Servings: 4
Calories: 263kcal


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2-3 Thai chilies chopped – or use Serrano peppers - + more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2-1/2 cups water - for even MORE flavor use broth
  • 1 cup rice
  • 4 large basil leaves chopped
  • Juice from one small lime – about 2 tablespoons
  • Lightly toasted peanuts


  • Get the rice going first by heating the oil in a pot. Add onion and chilies and cook about 5 minutes, stirring often, to soften.
  • Add the ginger and stir. Cook about a minute.
  • Add the water (or broth) and rice and bring to a quick boil. Reduce the heat and simmer about 20 minutes or so, or until the rice is cooked through.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice. Garnish with basil leaves, toasted peanuts and extra sliced peppers.


Calories: 263kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 173mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 235IU | Vitamin C: 33.8mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 0.8mg
Chili-Basil Rice - Recipe