Thai Holy Basil makes every stir-fry much more exciting. The little tinge of peppery taste and extremely fragrant herb is known as the Thai Holy Basil. In Thailand, Pad Kra Pao is in both humble street stalls and also established restaurants. Due to its easy recipe using minimal ingredients, it is no surprise for it to be loved by many. Fish sauce is the other main ingredient will make or break Pad Kra Pao sauce, in my opinion. It is the gravy that you will want every grain of rice to soak.
I used minced chicken in this recipe but feel free to use other meat to make either Pad Kra Pao Nua (Thai Basil Beef) or Pad Kra Pao Moo (Thai Basil Pork). Cooking this dish at high heat is another trick that helps in browning the meat a little so that more gravy gets to hold on to the meat. Just before you begin preparing this dish, heat up some oil at high heat to fry an egg. The heat should be high enough to brown the sides of the egg while keeping the yolk runny. Place it right on top of steamy Jasmine rice and that is how you serve Pad Kra Pao.
Now, let's talk substitutes. Pad Kra Pao recipe requires a big bunch of Holy Basil to be added to the dish. If you are not able to find Thai Holy Basil to prepare this quick Thai Basil Chicken recipe, sweet basil which is commonly found in most supermarkets is the closest you can get. Adding a pinch of pepper will help to deliver the minor peppery spice which sweet basil does not have.
If you are looking for a vegetarian Pad Kra Pao recipe, I have good news! As we are trying to cut down on meat intake, I experimented with some minced firm tofu. The trick is to brown them with a little bit of oil first. That would dry the tofu pieces to get rid of the soy taste. Using tofu might take a little longer time but trust me, you would not even miss the meat in this dish. I still used fish sauce because I really love it in the gravy. Substitute fish sauce with soy sauce and a little lime juice if you want to make this dish strictly vegetarian.
The original Pad Kra Pao dish does not have any french beans in it. I hate to admit this but I may have Germanized this dish without realizing it. Quite a few of the Thai restaurants here in Germany serve it with french beans and that is honestly fine with me. We all need a balanced meal fast, to be exact, an Asian balanced meal. This dish has meat and vegetables, all in one. That is a recipe for perfection!
Pad Kra Pao is also known as: ผัดกระเพราไก่Pad Ka PraoThai Minced Meat with Basil
Sauté minced shallots, garlic and sliced chillies until fragrant.
Add minced meat into wok.
Add in oyster sauce, dark soy sauce and fish sauce.
Add french beans and cook until slightly soften.
Stir in sugar to taste and add a handful of basil.
Serve with hot rice topped with a fried egg.
Optionally, add some lime juice.