Pad Krapow (Basil Stir-Fry)


Holy basil gives this simple, delicious Thai stir-fry its signature flavor.

Pad Krapow Recipe

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Debbie Wee

Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
20 mins
4 servings

Pad Krapow, otherwise known as Pad Kra Pao, is a beloved stir-fry dish in Thailand that is just as delicious as it is easy to make. When my parents first settled in the U.S., my mom worked mornings at a hotel while my dad worked nights at a French restaurant; I was part of the generation known as the latch-key kids. During those brief times in the evening where we could all be together to share a meal, my mom would make Pad Krapow with whatever ground meat was cheapest (usually beef), because it was easy for her to put together after a long day from work, and is incredibly delicious.

The dish is made up of just a handful of ingredients, but the true star of the dish is the holy basil. This dish is aptly named, translating to “basil stir-fry,” as the holy basil gives it its characteristic peppery taste and delightful aroma. While the other components of Pad Krapow are flexible; the basil is essential. If you can’t find holy basil, use Italian basil; it is much closer in flavor than Thai basil for this specific dish. 

Just as foundational to this dish is the mortar and pestle. Taking the time to pound your garlic and chilies is vital to get the freshest and brightest flavors and is well worth it. This dish is served with rice and a fried egg on top too. I continue to enjoy this simple and delicious dish to this day, and you will, too. — Sichon Domrongchai 


  • 5 Thai chile peppers

  • 6 garlic cloves

  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil, such as vegetable or canola, divided

  • 1 pound ground chicken

  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce

  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1/4 cup holy basil leaves

  • 4 eggs

  • 8 cups cooked jasmine rice


  1. Roughly chop Thai chilies and garlic before adding them to a mortar and pestle. Smash using an up and down motion with a pestle until combined (mixture doesn't have to be ground into a paste), about 1 minute.

    Pad Krapow Recipe

    Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Debbie Wee

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in wok over high heat until shimmering. Add chile mixture and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

  3. Add ground chicken to wok, and stir-fry until meat turns opaque, about 5 minutes.

  4. Stir in oyster sauce, fish sauce, and sugar and cook until liquids evaporate.

  5. Turn off heat, transfer chicken mixture to a large bowl and immediately stir in basil leaves.

    Pad Krapow Recipe

    Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Debbie Wee / Wok from Made In

  6. In the same wok, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Crack an egg into wok. As egg cooks, spoon oil over yolk. Cook egg until edges are crispy and whites are cooked through but yolk is still runny, about 1 minute.

  7. Repeat with remaining eggs. Divide rice and chicken mixture between 4 bowls. Top each with an egg and serve immediately.

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