Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Kra Pao)

Pad Kra Pao means stir-fry basil, thus making it the main ingredient in this classic dish from Thailand. The combination of Thai basil, spicy chillies, pungent fish sauce and chicken make this dish amazingly delicious and appetizing.

5 stars

Preparation 10 mins
Cooking 20 mins


ผัดกระเพราไก่, Pad Ka Prao, Thai Minced Meat with Basil

Malaysian, Singaporean, Thai, Vietnamese

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Nutrition per Serving

252 kcal
13 g
8 g
32 g

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

Types 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 the gravy coats the meat easily.

Alternatives for holy basil

Pad Kra Pao recipe calls for a big bunch of holy basil to be added. If Thai holy basil is unavailable, sweet basil which is commonly found in most supermarkets is the closest choice. Adding a dash of pepper helps 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 first browned with a little bit of oil to 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 that 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 have to admit that 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 completely fine with me. After all, everyone needs a fast, balanced meal with meat and vegetables. It is after all a perfect delicious combination.


garlic clove(s)
fresh chilli (red)
1 tbsp
oyster sauce
1⁄2 tbsp
dark soy sauce
1 1⁄2 tbsp
fish sauce
250 g
minced chicken
french beans
1⁄2 tbsp
holy basil

Steps to Prepare

Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Kra Pao) Step 1

Step 1 of 4

    • 1 egg(s)

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

Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Kra Pao) Step 2

Step 2 of 4

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

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

Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Kra Pao) Step 3

Step 3 of 4

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

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

Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Kra Pao) Step 4

Step 4 of 4

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

Published: April 28, 2016

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