Pad Krapow Gai is also called “Thai Basil with Chicken Stir-Fry.” We use pork belly in this recipe but just as often use chicken. This is a very popular dish in Northern Thailand amongst both tourists and locals. You’ll find it in high-end restaurants as well as street food stalls where you can grab one for a buck.
Authentic Pad Krapow Recipe
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Make It With Chicken Or Pork
Pad Krapow Gai (chicken), or Pad Krapow Moo (pork) are the 2 most common types of Pad Kra Pao. It relies on the Holy Basil for its signature flavor, so this one can’t be made without holy basil.
Thai Basil Chicken is almost as popular as pork. Minced pork Thai Basil stir-fry is the most common Pad Krapow found among local eating spots in northern Thailand. Cooked with organic pastured chicken, a Pad Krapow Gai recipe makes for a very nutritious and flavorful dinner. The chicken version recipe is exactly the same as this pork one, only you’d stir-fry the chicken in with the ingredients.
Our recipe here uses a slightly crisped pork. It’s a nice way to enjoy a healthier version of fried pork, as it’s mostly cooked in water with salt before being finished off with a light fry. Whether you use crisped pork, minced pork or sliced chicken. It’s going to be the same flavor and same great taste.
- Coconut Oil (for stir frying)
- Dried chili peppers
- Holy Basil
- Fish sauce
- Coconut aminos
- Oyster sauce (or mushroom sauce alternative)
- Black soy sauce (optional)
Holy Basil, the most important ingredient.
You cannot make this recipe without Holy Basil. Other than that, you have the basics in Thai food: fish sauce, oyster sauce and an optional black soy sauce (why we replace soy sauce with coconut aminos).
Here are good options for fish sauce and coconut aminos available online:
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Thai Basil Recipe Breakdown
So to start this recipe you need to pull out your mortar and pestle… it’s an interactive one. An electric blender can be used, but crushing and grinding manually with your hand in a mortar and pestle brings out the flavor in a way that electronic tools cannot.
You can find them online easily if you cannot find one locally. I’d suggest a granite mortar and pestle.
If using pork belly, here’s our secret pork crisping method.
The boil comes first. Add some salt and vinegar to the water before adding the pork belly in.
Then comes the fry once the pork is already cooked up.
We use a tasteless coconut oil for stir frying.
The Thai Basil Sauce
Here’s where it starts to smell delicious. First, put coconut oil in the pan and add in the smashed garlic and chili peppers.
Coconut oil’s smoke point is 350 degrees, so it’s semi-safe to get it cooking pretty hot.
Next, add the sliced shallots.
At this point, we’re almost finished with the Thai Basil Pad Krapow. Next, chop up the pork and bring it all together, including the Holy Basil and the sauces.
Finishing Up The Pad Kra Pao
After you’ve chopped the pork or chicken, add in the oyster sauce and coconut aminos (the traditional method is to use both regular soy sauce and black soy sauce at this step). Oyster sauce adds a much-needed saltiness and flavor, but if you prefer not to use oyster sauce, mushroom sauce is a very good alternative.
Next, add the fresh Holy Basil to the pan. You can turn the heat off and stir the basil in the remaining heat for a minute before serving. This is the last step.
The Finished Pad Kra Pao Recipe
Pad Krapow Recipe Card
- Meat Or Poultry Of Choice Chicken or Pork
- Coconut oil
- Thai chili peppers
- Holy basil
- Fish sauce
- Coconut aminos
- Oyster sauce Alternative: mushroom sauce
- Black soy sauce Optional, but authentic recipe will always have it
- Smash the herbs. Slice the shallots.
- Boil the pork in water with salt and vinegar before stir frying it in coconut oil to give it a light crisp. This allows for the pork to be perfectly cooked at the end of the recipe, and not just stir fried from raw.
- Stir fry it until almost done before proceeding with the following steps
- In a saucepan or skillet, place your smashed chili peppers and garlic in some coconut oil over medium heat.Then add the sliced shallots.
- After chopping the pork or chicken, add in the oyster sauce and coconut aminos. This is the last step before adding in the fresh Thai Holy Basil to the stir fry once it’s complete.Once you add the holy basil, you can turn off the heat, stir it around a bit more and serve.
- Once you add the holy basil, you can turn off the heat, stir it around a bit more and serve.Traditionally this will be served with a side of white rice and an optional fried egg on top (with runny yolk).
UP NEXT: Authentic Khao Soi Recipe. This delicious curry noodle soup comes from Burma and Yunnan province of China, but made its way down to Northern Thailand over 100 years ago. Today, it’s a staple for many locals with it’s filling qualities and fantastic flavors.
Last update on 2023-06-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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