Pad Gaprao ผัดกะเพรา Chicken Stir-Fry with Holy Basil

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This popular Thai dish has many English spellings: Pad Kra Pao, Pad Ka Prao, Pad Ka Pow…etc. But they all point to this same delicious, rustic, spicy stir-fry featuring the aroma of holy basil. For a truly classic way to serve this dish, pour it over rice and top with a fried egg!


Serves 2-3

  • 5-10 Thai chilies, to taste
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 Spur chilies or other kinds of mild chili pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup long beans, cut into short pieces
  • ½ small onion, diced
  • 300g chicken, coarsely ground (see video for how to grind your own chicken)
  • 1 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 ½ tsp black soy sauce (or dark soy sauce)
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 ½  cup holy basil leaves, loosely packed (see note)
  • Vegetable oil, as needed 
  • 2-3 eggs (1 per person)
  • Jasmine rice for serving
  • Prik Nam Pla (condiment for seasoning the egg, optional): Mix together some fish sauce, a squeeze of lime juice, chopped Thai chilies, and chopped garlic.

Note: If you don’t have holy basil, Thai basil will work fine; however, I have found that regular Italian basil actually has a more similar flavour to holy basil than Thai basil does, so that will work as well!


Pound Thai chilies into a fine paste. Add garlic and spur chilies and pound into a rough paste.

Combine oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, black soy sauce, water and sugar; stir to dissolve the sugar.

In a wok or a large saute pan, saute the garlic-chili paste in a little vegetable oil over medium high heat until the garlic starts to turn golden. Add chicken and toss until they’re no longer in big clumps. Add the sauce and continue tossing until the chicken is almost done. Add onions and long beans; toss until the chicken is done. Remove from heat and stir in the holy basil. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

For the fried egg, heat about 1 cm of vegetable oil in a small non-stick pan or a wok over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot (you want the oil very hot, especially if you like runny yolk). Crack the egg directly into the pan and let it fry until the edges are browned and bubbly.

Serve the stir-fry over rice and top it with the fried egg. Drizzle a little of the prik nam pla over the egg and enjoy!

Pad Gaprao