Nyonya Cooking. We cook because we care.

Pad Kra Pao

4.82 stars

Pad Kra Pao, a classic dish from Thailand. Pad Kra Pao means stir-fry basil, making it the main ingredient. The fragrance of Thai basil, spicy chillies and pungent fish sauce make a delicious tasting dish. As a quick stir-fry dish, it is also a weekday dinner favourite.

Total Time

Preparation 10 mins
Cooking 20 mins

Dish Type


Alternate Names

ผัดกระเพราไก่, Pad Ka Prao, Thai Minced Meat with Basil


Malaysian, Singaporean, Thai, Vietnamese


1 egg(s)
1 garlic clove(s)
1 chilli peppers (fresh)
1 shallot(s)
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1⁄2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 1⁄2 tbsp fish sauce
250 g minced meat
french beans
1⁄2 tbsp sugar
holy basil

Nutrition per Serving


252 kcal


13 g


8 g


32 g


Thai holy basil makes stir-fry dishes more exciting. The slight tinge of peppery taste and fragrance makes this dish flavourful and appetizing. In Thailand, Pad Kra Pao is available at humble street stalls as well as in established restaurants. Due to its easy preparation in using the minimal ingredients, it is no surprise that it is loved by many. Fish sauce is the other core ingredient that makes or breaks the gravy of Pad Kra Pao, in my opinion. It is the gravy that goes wonderfully well with rice.

Type of minced meat for pad kra pao

I used minced chicken in this recipe but feel free to use other types of 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 helps in browning the meat a little. This will ensure that more gravy gets to coat the meat easily.

Alternatives to holy basil

Pad Kra Pao recipe calls for a big bunch of holy basil to be added to it. If you are not able to find Thai holy basil, sweet basil which is commonly found in most supermarkets is the closest choice. Adding a dash of pepper will help to deliver the light hint of peppery taste that sweet basil does not have.

Vegan or vegetarian pad kra pao

If you are looking for a vegetarian version of Pad Kra Pao, I had experimented preparing it with some minced firm tofu. They were browned with a little bit of oil first. This would dry the tofu pieces and gets rid of the soy taste. Although it might take some time but trust me, you would not even miss the meat which is normally used in this dish. You may substitute fish sauce with soy sauce and a little bit of lime juice if you want to make this dish strictly vegetarian.

French beans are not used in the original Pad Kra Pao dish. I hate to admit but I may have germanized this dish without realizing it. Quite a few of the Thai restaurants in Germany serve it with french beans which is fine with me. After all, everyone needs a fast, balanced meal with meat and vegetables. This is it, a perfect delicious combination!

Food Snaps

Yippee.. it is very easy n superb delicious.
Thank you so much for your wonderful recipe, Nyonya Cooking! Here is my version of it! I tweaked it somewhat but it still tasted yummy!
pad krapaw moo in koh chang, does have beans

How to Prepare

Pad Kra Pao Step 1

Step 1 of 4

Prepare sunny-side-up egg

  • 1 egg(s)

Heat wok at medium heat before adding oil. Fry egg when oil is heated.

Pad Kra Pao Step 2

Step 2 of 4

Sauté aromatics and meat

  • 1 garlic clove(s)
  • 1 chilli peppers (fresh)
  • 1 shallot(s)
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1⁄2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 1⁄2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 250 g minced meat

In a wok heated at medium heat, sauté minced garlic, sliced chilies and shallots until fragrant. Then, add minced meat. Once meat is slightly browned, add oyster sauce, dark soy sauce and fish sauce.

Pad Kra Pao Step 3

Step 3 of 4

Fry vegetables and basil

  • french beans
  • 1⁄2 tbsp sugar
  • holy basil

Add french beans and cook until slightly softened. Stir sugar to taste and also a handful of basil.

Pad Kra Pao Step 4

Step 4 of 4

Top it off with egg and lime

Serve with hot rice topped with a fried egg. Optionally, garnish with a wedge of lime.

Published: April 28, 2016