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Pad Kra Prao Gai Recipe (Thai Basil Chicken)

Stir-fried Basil And Chili With Meat Such As Pork Chicken

If you’re in the mood for a mouthwatering Thai dish that’s bursting with flavors, let me introduce you to Pad Kra Pao Gai, also known as Thai Basil Chicken. This popular street food from Thailand will take your taste buds on a thrilling journey. Minced chicken is stir-fried with aromatic garlic, spicy chilies, and a savory sauce that hits all the right notes. But the star of the show is Fresh Thai basil leaves that add a fragrant and irresistible touch. Served over a bed of steamed jasmine rice, this dish is the perfect balance of spicy, savory, and a hint of sweetness. It’s quick to make, satisfying, and guaranteed to become a favorite in your culinary repertoire. Get ready to dive into the vibrant world of Pad Kra Pao Gai and learn how to make our amazing version of it!

Origins of Pad Kra Prao

You’ve probably heard of Pad Kra Prao, the delicious Thai dish with origins in the streets of Bangkok. It’s an incredibly popular dish that has been enjoyed for centuries, and its simple yet flavourful ingredients have made it a staple in many Thai restaurants.

Pad Kra Prao is believed to have originated as a street food in Thailand during the late 19th century. The dish was created by vendors who sold various Thai-style dishes from their carts along the streets and canals of Bangkok. They would use whatever ingredients they had available, so recipes varied from vendor to vendor. Eventually, Pad Kra Prao became one of the most popular dishes on their menus and spread throughout Thailand over time.

The name ‘Pad Kra Prao’ means ‘Stir Fry with Basil’, which accurately describes the main ingredients in this traditional dish. It typically consists of stir-fried ground pork or chicken mixed with garlic, chili peppers, fish sauce, and holy basil leaves – all cooked together until fragrant and flavourful. Other vegetables such as onions, mushrooms, or bell peppers are often added as well for extra texture and color.

In addition to being served as a main course at home or in restaurants, Pad Kra Prao also makes a great addition to any meal when served alongside steamed rice or other side dishes like fried eggs or sweet sticky rice desserts. Due to its simple preparation method and unique flavor profile, it’s become one of Thailand’s most beloved dishes – both among locals and tourists alike!

So if you’re ever looking for an easy but filling meal that packs lots of flavor into every bite, then Pad Kra Prao is definitely worth trying out! With its savory notes combined with hints of sweetness from the basil leaves, you won’t be disappointed!

Traditional Preparation Methods

Experience the traditional preparation methods of Pad Kra Prao to get a true taste of the flavors. When making this dish, it’s important to use only the freshest ingredients.

Start with your favorite rice and cook it until it’s fluffy and fragrant. To give the meal its signature flavor, fry garlic in oil until lightly browned, then add fish sauce and stir-fry for a few minutes before adding your vegetables. Fresh basil leaves should be added at the end for an extra burst of flavor.

Be sure to season your Pad Kra Prao with chili flakes or fresh chilies – depending on how spicy you want the meal to be. If you like things extra fiery, add some cayenne pepper too! For those who prefer milder dishes, try using less chili flakes or even omit them altogether – there are many ways to make this dish fit any taste preference.

To complete the classic version of Pad Kra Prao, top with fried eggs and serve hot over cooked rice or noodles. The combination of sautéed vegetables and aromatic herbs makes for an incredibly delicious meal that can easily be enjoyed by anyone! You can also switch up the traditional recipe by incorporating different types of proteins such as pork or chicken instead of eggs; whatever you decide on will still bring out all those amazing Thai flavors we all love so much!

No matter what variation you choose, Pad Kra Prao is always guaranteed to be a hit! It’s easy to prepare yet full of complex flavors that truly capture Thailand’s culinary culture – making it a great way to experience authentic Thai cuisine right at home without having to travel overseas. So go ahead, give it a try today – we guarantee you won’t regret it!

Popular Variations of Pad Kra Prao

Pad Kra Prao is a versatile dish, with popular variations ranging from the classic version to ones incorporating different types of proteins. One of the most common variations involves substituting ground pork for the traditionally-used minced chicken or beef. Ground pork is often used because it has a softer texture and absorbs more flavors. Other variations include using shrimp, squid, or tofu instead of meat. This creates a vegetarian version that still packs plenty of flavor and spices. If you’re looking for something even more exotic, you can try Pad Kra Prao with Thai basil and snakehead fish!

Another popular twist on this traditional dish is incorporating regional flavors into the recipe. For instance, in Northern Thailand, Pad Kra Prao may be served with crispy fried shallots and red peppers, while in Southern Thailand it’s usually accompanied by pickled garlic. In central parts of Thailand such as Bangkok, chefs often add lemongrass to give it an extra hint of zesty flavor. Each variation adds its own unique flare to the meal!

No matter which variation you choose to make at home or order when dining out, Pad Kra Prao remains one of the tastiest dishes in Thai cuisine today! It’s quick and easy to prepare, yet packed full of flavor thanks to its signature combination of herbs and spices like chili peppers, garlic, onion powder, coriander leaves, and fish sauce. Plus, it’s very filling, so you won’t have any trouble getting your fill at dinnertime! So don’t wait any longer; give Pad Kra Prairie a try today!

Main Ingredients of Pad Kra Prao

The main ingredients of Pad Kra Prao are an array of herbs and spices such as chili peppers, garlic, onion powder, coriander leaves, and fish sauce. These flavorsome components create a flavorful dish that is common in Thai cuisine.

Chili peppers give the dish its heat, while garlic and onion powder provide a savory taste. Coriander leaves add a refreshing note to the plate with their citrus-like aroma. Fish sauce adds the most umami flavor to Pad Kra Prao and is usually made from fermented anchovies or shrimp paste.

This combination of fragrant ingredients has been perfected over centuries of Thai culinary tradition to make this classic dish. It’s so popular that it can be found just about everywhere in Thailand – from street food vendors to fine-dining restaurants alike.

The most famous version is stir-fried with ground pork or chicken, but there are also vegetarian variations which feature fried tofu instead of meat.

Pad Kra Prao is traditionally served with steamed jasmine rice but can also go well with noodles or other grains like quinoa or bulgur wheat for a healthier option. It’s easy to make at home too – all you need are fresh ingredients, some basic cooking equipment, and a good wok!

Pad Kra Prao is an excellent way to enjoy traditional Thai flavors without having to travel halfway around the world! Its unique blend of herbs and spices makes it one of the most delicious dishes in Southeast Asia today – no wonder it has become so popular among locals and tourists alike!

Spices and Seasonings Used in Pad Kra Prao

Discover the unique blend of spices and seasonings that give Pad Kra Prao its signature flavor, a tantalizing combination of heat and savoriness. The most commonly used seasoning is soy sauce, which adds great depth to the dish.

Fish sauce gives it its distinct umami flavor, while sugar helps balance out the saltiness. The main source of spiciness comes from dried Bird’s eye chili pepper flakes, as well as fresh Thai chilies for extra heat. Galangal root powder brings a pungent ginger-like aroma to the mix along with lemongrass for an added citrusy note. Finally, kaffir lime leaves add an earthy sweetness that rounds out all these flavors into one harmonious dish.

Pad Kra Prao is also often served with crispy fried garlic or shallots for a nice crunchy texture contrast and additional flavor complexity. With such an array of ingredients being combined in this dish, it’s no wonder why it has become popularly known as “drunkard’s stir fry” due to its ability to keep you going back for more! Its bold flavors pack a punch and will leave your palate wanting more every single time you try it.

Health Benefits of Pad Kra Prao

You’ll be surprised to learn about the health benefits of Pad Kra Prao! This savory and spicy Thai dish isn’t just delicious; it can have many positive effects on your health.

One of the primary ingredients in Pad Kra Prao is garlic. It helps reduce cholesterol levels and lowers blood pressure due to its high allicin content, which is linked to cardiovascular health. Garlic also contains antioxidants that can reduce inflammation and protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Another key ingredient is holy basil leaves. They are high in antioxidants that fight against oxidative stress. These leaves are also considered an adaptogen herb, helping the body cope with physical and mental stressors. They may even provide relief from symptoms of anxiety or depression.

The combination of garlic and holy basil makes this dish an excellent source of vitamins B6, C, and K1, as well as minerals like manganese and iron. Vitamin B6 supports cognitive function, while vitamin C aids in immune system health. Iron promotes red blood cell production, and manganese supports bone development and metabolism regulation.

Pad Kra Prao is not only tasty but packed full of potential health benefits too! Eating this flavorful dish may help lower cholesterol levels, improve heart health, reduce inflammation, and protect cells from damage caused by free radicals—all while providing essential vitamins and minerals needed for a balanced diet. It’s no wonder why this beloved Thai recipe has become so popular worldwide!

Tips for the Perfect Pad Kra Prao

For the perfect Pad Kra Prao, don’t miss out on these essential tips!

First and foremost, use only fresh ingredients. Don’t skimp on the garlic and holy basil leaves – generous helpings of both are key to getting that authentic flavor. If you’re looking for a more spicy version, add some Thai chilies or chili flakes to the mix.

To get that restaurant-style texture, make sure to pan fry your Pad Kra Prao in hot oil until the edges of your dish are crispy and golden brown. For an even crispier result, deep fry it instead. Just be sure not to burn it!

It’s important to season your Pad Kra Prao correctly too; while fish sauce is a must, adding some oyster sauce can take its flavor up a notch. The right balance between sweet and salty will really bring out those complex umami notes in this dish.

Finally, serve it up with fragrant jasmine rice or noodles for a complete meal. To add an extra layer of yumminess, top with fried eggs and sprinkle with chopped spring onions for added crunchy texture and zesty flavor! With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to cook up an unforgettable plate of Pad Kra Prao every time!

Serving Pad Kra Prao

Savor the incredible flavors of Pad Kra Prao by serving it up with fragrant jasmine rice or noodles for an unforgettable meal!

To make a delicious and authentic Pad Kra Prao, you’ll need to use just the right ingredients. It’s a traditional Thai dish made with minced pork or chicken, fish sauce, basil leaves, garlic, chilies, and a few other ingredients. Once these are all combined in a wok or pan over high heat, the unforgettable aroma of this stir-fry will fill your home.

When it comes time to serve up some Pad Kra Prao for your family and friends, there’s no better way than with steamed jasmine rice or egg noodles. The fragrant jasmine rice will bring out all the subtle flavor notes from the dish while providing a light yet filling accompaniment. Alternatively, egg noodles can add texture and absorb some of the flavorful sauces that come with this savory dish.

No matter how you choose to serve your Pad Kra Prao creation, be sure to garnish it with fresh chopped cilantro for added flavor and color. You can also sprinkle on some freshly chopped green onions if desired for extra crunchy texture. Finally, lime wedges add a tart brightness that beautifully brings out all the unique flavors in this classic Thai recipe.

Serve your delicious Pad Kra Prao up hot alongside steaming bowls of jasmine rice or egg noodles – everyone at the table is sure to enjoy!

How to make Pad Kra Prao Gai (Thai Basil Chicken) at home

In summary, Pad Kra Pao Gai, also known as Thai Basil Chicken, is a popular Thai dish that mince chicken stir-fried with garlic, spicy chilies, and a savory sauce. The dish gets its distinctive flavor from the aromatic Thai basil leaves, which add a fresh and herbaceous element. Served over steamed jasmine rice, Pad Kra Pao Gai offers a harmonious blend of spicy, savory, and slightly sweet flavors. It's a quick and satisfying meal that showcases the vibrant and bold characteristics of Thai cuisine.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Thai
Servings 2
Calories 550 kcal


  • 1 Wok or large skillet A wok or a large skillet is ideal for stir-frying the chicken and other ingredients. It provides ample space for tossing and cooking the ingredients evenly.
  • 1 Cutting board and knife You will need a cutting board and a sharp knife to slice the chicken into thin strips and mince the garlic. Additionally, if you choose to include a red bell pepper, you'll need to slice it as well.
  • 1 Small bowl A small bowl will be useful for mixing the sauces together before adding them to the dish.
  • 1 Spatula or Stir-Fry Spatula A spatula or stir-fry spatula is essential for stirring and tossing the ingredients in the wok while cooking.
  • Serving Plates or Bowls You'll need plates or bowls to serve the Pad Kra Pao Gai.
  • Optional Rice Cooker or Pot for Steaming Rice If you plan to serve the dish with steamed jasmine rice, you'll need a rice cooker or a pot to prepare the rice separately.
  • Optional Frying Pan for Fried Egg If you choose to add a fried egg as a topping, a separate frying pan will be needed to cook the egg.


  • 1 lbs minced chicken
  • 2 tbsp oil (vegetable or peanut oil)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-6 Thai bird's eye chilies, finely chopped (adjust according to your spice preference)
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup fresh Thai basil leaves (or regular basil leaves if unavailable)
  • 1 Fried egg, to serve Optional


  • Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add minced garlic and chopped chilies to the hot oil. Stir-fry for about 30 seconds until fragrant, being careful not to burn the garlic.
  • Add the minced chicken to the wok and stir-fry until it's cooked through and no longer pink.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar until well combined.Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken and vegetables in the wok. Stir-fry for a few more minutes, ensuring the sauce coats all the ingredients evenly.
  • Remove the wok from the heat and add the fresh basil leaves. Toss everything together until the basil leaves wilt from the residual heat.
  • Taste the dish and adjust the seasoning if necessary by adding more soy sauce, fish sauce, or sugar according to your preference.
  • Serve Pad Kra Pao Gai over steamed jasmine rice. Optionally, you can top it with a fried egg for extra flavor and richness.


  • Thai Basil: If you can’t find Thai basil, you can substitute it with regular basil. However, Thai basil has a unique flavor that adds an authentic touch to the dish.
  • Spice Level: Adjust the number of Thai bird’s eye chilies according to your spice preference. If you prefer a milder version, remove the seeds from the chilies or reduce the amount used.
  • Vegetables: While the traditional recipe doesn’t include vegetables, you can add sliced red bell pepper or other vegetables of your choice for added color and crunch.
  • Sauce Adjustments: Feel free to adjust the quantities of oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar to suit your taste preferences. Add more or less according to your desired level of saltiness, sweetness, or umami flavor.
  • Steamed Rice: Pad Kra Pao Gai is commonly served over steamed jasmine rice, but you can also enjoy it with other types of rice or even noodles for a different variation.
  • Toppings: Consider adding a fried egg on top for an extra layer of richness. Cook the egg sunny-side-up or as desired.
  • Cooking Speed: Stir-frying is a quick cooking method, so it’s essential to have all the ingredients prepped and ready before starting the cooking process.
  • Garnish: For added freshness and flavor, you can garnish the dish with a sprinkle of chopped green onions or cilantro before serving.
Keyword chicken, Spicy, stir-fry, Thai basil

Frequently Asked Questions

How quickly can Pad Kra Prao be prepared?

Pad Kra Prao can be prepared in as little as 15 minutes. It’s a quick and easy dish that requires minimal ingredients and equipment. All you need is ground meat, garlic, chilies, Thai basil, fish sauce, and oil. You’ll also need a wok or large skillet to stir-fry the ingredients together.

Once everything is prepped and ready to go, it takes just minutes to cook the Pad Kra Prao until it’s hot and fragrant with all of its delicious flavors!

What are the best substitutions for the main ingredients in Pad Kra Prao?

If you’re looking for substitutions for the main ingredients in Pad Kra Prao, there are plenty of options. You could replace the pork with chicken, beef, or even tofu if you’re vegetarian.

The holy basil can be switched out for Thai basil or regular Italian basil. Instead of fish sauce, you can use soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce. Don’t forget to adjust the amount to suit your taste!

Finally, garlic and chili peppers can be replaced with shallots and bell peppers if desired. There’s no wrong way to make this tasty dish!

Are there any vegetarian or vegan options for Pad Kra Prao?

Yes! Pad Kra Prao can be made vegetarian or vegan by substituting the main ingredients. Instead of using meat, you can use mushrooms to give it a similar flavor and texture. You can also replace the fish sauce with light soy sauce for a savory taste. Lastly, for an added crunch, you could toss in some extra vegetables such as carrots, peppers, or onions.

What are some unique ways to enjoy Pad Kra Prao?

You might be familiar with the classic pad kra prao dish, but there are actually plenty of creative ways to enjoy it. Try serving a deconstructed version with all the components separately, or mix up the flavors by adding a touch of sweetness to balance out the spiciness.

You could also try using other types of proteins such as tofu or tempeh instead of chicken for a vegetarian-friendly option. For an even more unique experience, why not put your own spin on it and come up with your own ingredients? You can experiment until you find something that’s just right for you!

Can I use a different type of meat instead of chicken?

Absolutely! While Pad Kra Pao Gai traditionally uses chicken, you can substitute it with other proteins like beef, pork, or even tofu for a vegetarian option. Adjust the cooking time accordingly based on the protein you choose.

Can I adjust the spiciness level?

Yes, you can adjust the spiciness level to your preference. The Thai bird’s eye chilies provide heat, so you can add more or reduce the number of chilies based on how spicy you want the dish to be. Keep in mind that Thai cuisine is known for its spiciness, so start with a moderate amount and adjust accordingly.

Can I use dried basil if I can’t find Thai basil?

While Thai basil is preferred for its unique flavor, you can substitute it with regular basil if Thai basil is not available. Dried basil can also be used, but it won’t have the same vibrant taste. Adjust the quantity based on personal preference as dried basil is more concentrated.

Is there a substitute for fish sauce?

If you don’t have fish sauce or prefer a vegetarian option, you can use soy sauce or tamari as a substitute. While the flavor won’t be exactly the same, it will still add a savory element to the dish.

Can I make this dish in advance?

Pad Kra Pao Gai is best enjoyed immediately after cooking to maintain its flavors and texture. However, you can prepare the ingredients in advance (slicing the chicken, mincing garlic, etc.) to save time. Stir-frying the dish should be done just before serving for the best results.

Can I store leftovers?

Yes, you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Reheat gently in a skillet or microwave until heated through before serving.

Remember, these FAQs are general guidelines, and you can adapt the recipe based on your preferences and dietary needs. Enjoy cooking and savoring your Pad Kra Pao Gai!


You’ve now learned all about the popular dish of pad kra prao. From its origins and traditional preparation methods to its many variations, main ingredients, spices and seasonings, health benefits, and tips for the perfect dish.

Now it’s time to get cooking! Experiment with some different combinations of ingredients until you find one that works for you. Don’t forget to enjoy your tasty creation – bon appétit!

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My name is Mint. I am a Thai girl who loves to cook and share my Thai food with everyone! Learn more about me here.

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