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Pad Kra Pao Recipe

Imagine walking through the bustling streets of Thailand and catching a whiff of a delightful aroma coming from a nearby food stall.

You see locals and tourists alike devouring a delicious-looking dish, and you can’t help but be captivated by it.

That dish is Pad Kra Pao, a Thai classic that has found a special place in the hearts of street food lovers worldwide.

Pad Kra Pao, also known as Thai basil chicken stir-fry, is a dish famous for its perfect balance of flavors and textures.

It showcases a delightful combination of ground meat, usually chicken or pork, fresh Thai basil, fragrant garlic, spicy chilies, and a mix of classic Thai sauces.

This mouthwatering dish can be served over rice with a fried egg on top, making it a simple yet satisfying meal that can be enjoyed any time of the day.

Whether you’re a seasoned Thai food enthusiast or someone looking to try new flavors, Pad Kra Pao will not disappoint.

How to Make Pad Kra Pao

pad kra pao recipe feat

Ingredients List

To make Pad Kra Pao, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 pound of ground meat (pork, chicken, or beef)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3-5 Thai bird’s eye chilies (adjust according to your preference for spiciness)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup fresh holy basil leaves (can substitute with Thai basil if not available)
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

Step-by-step process

Step 1: Preparation

Start by doing some light preparation work.

Roughly chop the Thai bird’s eye chilies and garlic.

If you have a mortar and pestle, crush them together to release their flavors.

Alternatively, you can use a food processor and pulsate for a few seconds.

Set the mixture aside.

Next, wash the holy basil leaves and let them dry, or use a salad spinner to remove excess water.

Step 2: Heat oil

Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat in a wok or large skillet.

This will help to create a non-stick surface for your Pad Kra Pao.

Step 3: Fry chilies and garlic

Add the chili and garlic mixture you prepared into the hot oil.

Stir-fry for about 1-2 minutes, making sure not to let the garlic burn.

You want to create a rich and fragrant aroma.

Step 4: Add ground meat

Increase the heat to high and add the ground meat to the wok or skillet.

Use a spatula or wooden spoon to break the meat into smaller pieces, stirring constantly to ensure even cooking.

Continue cooking until the meat is crispy and browned on the edges.

Step 5: Add sauces

Mix the oyster sauce and fish sauce in a small bowl to create your sauce mixture.

Pour this over the stir-fried meat, making sure to coat it well. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.

Step 6: Include holy basil

Lower the heat back to medium, and add the fresh holy basil leaves to the pan.

Cook for about 30 seconds to a minute until the basil begins to wilt.

Step 7: Serve

Serve your Pad Kra Pao hot with steamed jasmine rice and a fried egg on top, a popular street food and comfort food combination in Thailand.

Enjoy!

Remember, you can find most of these ingredients at an Asian grocery store or online if they’re not available at your local supermarket.

Side Dishes for Pad Kra Pao

When enjoying a delicious Pad Kra Pao, you want to make sure that you have the perfect side dishes to enhance the flavors and create a satisfying, well-rounded meal.

Here are some of our recommendations for great side dishes to pair with your Pad Kra Pao:

Jasmine Rice

Jasmine rice is a classic accompaniment to Thai dishes, and it’s no exception when it comes to Pad Kra Pao.

Its fragrant aroma and slightly sticky texture make it a perfect base for soaking up the stir-fry flavors.

Just be sure to steam the rice so it’s nice and fluffy to enjoy this pairing fully.

White Rice

If you don’t have jasmine rice, steamed white rice is another suitable option.

Though it may lack the fragrance of jasmine rice, it’s still an excellent choice to serve alongside your Pad Kra Pao.

The neutral flavor of white rice creates a simple yet satisfying contrast to the bold flavors of the stir-fried dish.

Basil Beef

Adding a side dish of Basil Beef can be a nice complement to your Pad Kra Pao for those who like to have a bit of variety in their meal.

Basil Beef shares some similarities with Pad Kra Pao in terms of flavor, as it also incorporates Thai basil and tender beef pieces.

Having Basil Beef as a side dish allows you to enjoy contrasting textures while keeping the meal within the realm of Thai flavors.

Now that you have a list of tasty side dishes to choose from be sure to include one or more of them the next time you make a Pad Kra Pao meal to complete the dining experience.

Ingredients Substitutes

When making Pad Kra Pao, you may need to substitute some ingredients if you don’t have them or prefer a different option.

This section will help you replace common ingredients in a Pad Kra Pao recipe with suitable alternatives.

Holy Basil

Thai basil is the next best option if you can’t find Holy Basil.

It offers a similar flavor profile and can be used in equal quantities.

If Thai basil is also unavailable, try sweet basil or Italian basil, although the taste might be slightly different.

Oyster Sauce

If you need an alternative to oyster sauce, consider using hoisin sauce or a combination of fish and soy sauce.

Remember that hoisin sauce is sweeter than oyster sauce, so adjust the quantities accordingly.

Ground Pork

Ground chicken or turkey are great alternatives to ground pork in Pad Kra Pao.

Adjust cooking times accordingly, as ground poultry typically cooks faster than pork.

How to Store Pad Kra Pao

Storing Pad Kra Pao properly is essential to retain its flavor, and freshness and avoid spoilage.

Here are some tips on how to store this delicious Thai dish:

Cool down before storing:

Allow your freshly cooked Pad Kra Pao to cool down to room temperature before you keep it.

This will prevent residual heat from causing condensation, which can lead to spoilage.

Store in an airtight container:

Use a quality airtight container to store your Pad Kra Pao.

This will help preserve its taste and prevent any cross-contamination in your refrigerator.

Refrigerate promptly:

Once your dish has cooled and is placed in an airtight container, promptly store it in the refrigerator.

This helps slow down the growth of bacteria and extends the shelf-life of the dish.

Pad Kra Pao can last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Freezing for longer storage:

If you want to store Pad Kra Pao for a more extended period, you can also freeze it.

Place it in a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag, and store it in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.

Label and date the container to help keep track of its shelf life.

By following these storage methods, you can enjoy your Pad Kra Pao while preserving its quality and taste.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when preparing Pad Kra Pao.

Using the wrong type of basil

When making Pad Kra Pao, using the right type of basil is essential.

The dish requires Holy basil, which has a unique peppery flavor.

Using regular basil or other types of basil will not give the dish its distinct taste.

Find Thai basil at Asian markets or supermarkets.

Overcrowding the pan

When stir-frying, it’s crucial to cook at medium-high heat and avoid overcrowding the ingredients.

This ensures that they cook and crisp up evenly.

Substituting ingredients

Some ingredients, like fish sauce, should not be substituted.

Using the wrong ingredient can significantly alter the dish’s taste. 

Overcooking the garlic cloves

Garlic is an essential ingredient in Pad Kra Pao, adding an aromatic note to the dish.

Be careful not to overcook your garlic cloves, as burnt garlic will give it an unpleasant taste.

Cook until they are golden, and then move on to the next step.

Choosing the wrong protein

While ground beef or lean ground beef can be used in the recipe, they won’t yield the same flavors as the traditional options such as pork or chicken.

Try to stick to authentic protein sources for the dish whenever possible.

Serving suggestions

Pad Kra Pao is best served over steamed rice.

Skipping this crucial component of the dish might result in a less satisfying experience.

Don’t miss out on this traditional accompaniment to fully enjoy your Pad Kra Pao.

Remember these common mistakes when preparing Pad Kra Pao, and you’ll be on your way to creating an authentic and delicious Thai Basil Chicken or Basil Stir-Fry.

pad kra pao recipe feat

Pad Kra Pao Recipe

Pad Kra Pao, also known as Thai basil chicken stir-fry, is a dish famous for its perfect balance of flavors and textures.
It showcases a delightful combination of ground meat, usually chicken or pork, fresh Thai basil, fragrant garlic, spicy chilies, and a mix of classic Thai sauces.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 4
Equipment
  • mortar and pestle
  • Large skillet
  • spatula
  • bowl
Ingredients
  
  • 1 pound of ground meat pork, chicken, or beef
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3-5 Thai bird's eye chilies adjust according to your preference for spiciness
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup fresh holy basil leaves can substitute with Thai basil if not available
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
Instructions
 
  • Start by doing some light preparation work.
    Roughly chop the Thai bird's eye chilies and garlic.
    If you have a mortar and pestle, crush them together to release their flavors.
    Alternatively, you can use a food processor and pulsate for a few seconds.
    Set the mixture aside.
    Next, wash the holy basil leaves and let them dry, or use a salad spinner to remove excess water.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat in a wok or large skillet.
    This will help to create a non-stick surface for your Pad Kra Pao.
  • Add the chili and garlic mixture you prepared into the hot oil.
    Stir-fry for about 1-2 minutes, making sure not to let the garlic burn.
    You want to create a rich and fragrant aroma.
  • Increase the heat to high and add the ground meat to the wok or skillet.
    Use a spatula or wooden spoon to break the meat into smaller pieces, stirring constantly to ensure even cooking.
    Continue cooking until the meat is crispy and browned on the edges.
  • Mix the oyster sauce and fish sauce in a small bowl to create your sauce mixture.
    Pour this over the stir-fried meat, making sure to coat it well.
    Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  • Lower the heat back to medium, and add the fresh holy basil leaves to the pan.
    Cook for about 30 seconds to a minute until the basil begins to wilt.
  • Serve your Pad Kra Pao hot with steamed jasmine rice and a fried egg on top, a popular street food and comfort food combination in Thailand.
    Enjoy!

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