Sweet Thai Chili and Turmeric Rice

This side dish was the result of trying something with kale and it backfiring rather spectacularly. I had planned a rice side to go with an aromatic Vietnamese pork dish, thinking that dehydrated kale would make a good rice garnish. I was wrong … really, really wrong.  So instead, I threw in some sweet Thai chili and turmeric … which worked together exceptionally well!

Sweet Thai Chili and Turmeric Rice

5 mins prep
20 mins cook
4-6 servings
Serve with
Stir fried king prawns
Vietnamese lemongrass pork

Making Interesting Sides

It struck me recently that many of the forums and Facebook groups I’m part of focus on main courses almost exclusively. It’s a massive understatement to say there’s a wide variety to explore, yet side dishes can transform a main course into a multi-flavoured experience to remember. So rather than just serve rice with the intended main course of Vietnamese grilled pork (recipe coming next week), I decided to do something different.

In hindsight, the kale disaster was a blessing in disguise …

Turmeric added to the rice for colour

Cooking in the wok with all ingredients added

Sweet Thai chili and turmeric rice served


  • Large saucepan
  • Wok
  • Spatula
  • Chopping board
  • Sharp knife
  • Colander
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Kitchen towel
  • Large plate


  • 1 small red onion
  • 3 tbsp ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3-4 spring onion/scallion
  • 1 small sweet carrot
  • 2-3 tbsp sweet Thai chili sauce
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1-2 tbsp toasted sesame seed oil
  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 300g uncooked white rice

I purchased the chili sauce from Waitrose. It’s available in other supermarkets, or can be made from scratch, e.g. with this recipe on Serious Eats.


This dish can be improved by making the rice the day before and chilling/drying it in a fridge during the day or overnight. Thanks to BubbaLou for this tip.

  1. Thoroughly wash the rice under cold water. Place it in a pan and add boiling water to be 2-3cm above the rice. Boil for 2 mins, then remove from the heat. Place a sheet of kitchen towel over the top of the saucepan and weigh it down with a plate. Leave for 8 mins for the rice to absorb the water.
  2. Meanwhile, cut and finely chop the white stems from the spring onion. Cut the green stalks into small discs. Crush the garlic cloves, and finely chop the red onion. Cut the carrot into very thin strips with a vegetable peeler.
  3. After the rice has absorbed the water, warm the groundnut oil in a wok over high heat. Add in the ginger, spring onion pieces, chopped red onion and garlic and stir fry for 30 secs.
  4. With a slotted spoon to drain excess water, add the cooked rice into the wok, combine with the other ingredients in the wok and stir fry for 2-3 mins.
  5. Sprinkle over the turmeric powder and add the toasted sesame seed oil. Stir fry for 1-2 mins, adding a little more turmeric powder to increase colour as needed.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the sweet Thai chili sauce. Alternatively, place the sauce into dipping bowls and allow guests to add their own sauce to their tastes. Garnish with the sliced green stalks of the spring onion.

Sweet Thai chili and turmeric rice served with dipping sauce

Sweet Thai chili and turmeric rice with Vietnamese pork


10 thoughts on “Sweet Thai Chili and Turmeric Rice

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