Pad Krapow Gai | Chicken Stir Fried with Basil

Pad Krapow Gai | Thai Basil Chicken Recipe

Pad Krapow Gai | Thai Basil Chicken Recipe

Pad krapow gai, stir fried basil with chicken. As simple as it sounds, this dish absolutely bursts with flavour and will absolutely blow your mind. If you can’t get your hands on palm sugar, you’ll be just fine using caster sugar in a pinch. But you’d definitely be better off buying the real thing! (The previous was an affiliate link for which I earn a commission per purchase.)

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Top down photo of Thai basil chicken stir fry with rice and fried egg.

Introduction

I tend to think of myself as someone who’s drawn to the most exciting dish on the menu. At least in my own eyes. I’m certainly not someone who plays it safe when they go out to eat, nor someone who sticks necessarily to what they know.

When it comes to Thai food, then, I’m drawn to the spiciest dishes, the sourest dishes. And I often find myself taken with the dishes comprised of the most exotic ingredients. For as much as I have been cooking with a lot of chicken lately, I do find, say, seafood a much more exciting and intriguing prospect.

As a result, I am drawn to dishes like the Thai curries, my own recipes for which I’ll include below. They possess an amazing, potent flavour and hit you with everything they have. Some, like the Panang and Massaman curries, contain uniquely interesting ingredients, the like of which take them somewhere even more exotic and wonderful.

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Even dishes like the Pad Tha, that I now absolutely adore, seemed to me at first to be a little less exciting. It took a little tinkering and playing around for me to make it my own. But make it my own I certainly have and I very much enjoy it for the effort.

So when it came to a dish named Pad Krapow Gai, whose very name simply means chicken stir fried with basil, you can imagine how easily I overlooked it. The name itself spells out none of the wonderful flavours that exist within the dish, nor does any justice to the simple delight that is eating a simple, yet extremely effective combination of carefully selected, perfectly matched flavours.

Nevertheless, I investigated further. My findings are below.

Low angle photograph of the dish that highlights the crispy edges of the egg.
The crispy edges around the edge are typical of the dish. They require lots of hot oil in a hot pan!

About the dish

As stated above, the dish itself does not stand out as one of the most exciting options on a Thai menu. The reality, however, is rather different. The dish is, of course, a stir fry containing chicken and basil. When a dish is called Pad Krapow Gai and Pad Krapow Gai translates into stir-fried Thai basil chicken, I kind of feel like we know which direction it’s going.

What that name doesn’t tell us is how well those flavours mesh. Not only with one another but with the fairly simple additional flavours that underpin the dish.

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Along with the chicken and basil, we also have a little shallot, a little garlic and a little chilli. Nothing you wouldn’t expect in a Thai dish or, in fact, in a great number of dishes from anywhere in the world. But nevertheless, a simple combination of ingredients that perfectly suit one another and help to build a complex base of flavours upon which the more exciting flavours can stand tall.

And those more exciting flavours are as follows, coming in the form of a sauce made from fish sauce, soy sauce and palm sugar. The fish sauce and palm sugar are a frequent showing in Thai cuisine and the soy brings an additional depth to the fish sauce. Equal in saltiness, yet different enough to provide complexity and something simply a little different, at least when it comes to Thai cuisine.

Served with rice and a thoroughly fried egg, the dish is served as simply as it is made. Perhaps with a little lime juice or additional fish sauce to season. Or perhaps not. Personally, I’ll leave that up to you.

Just another angle of the stir fried Thai basil chicken dish. Look at that yolk!
Pad Krapow Gai | Just another angle of the stir fried Thai basil chicken dish. Look at that yolk!

About this dish

Normally, I like here to explain just a few of the ways in which this particular version of a dish is unique. But in truth, I have simply sought a traditional representation of the dish in this instance.

The only thing I will say is that I have not used authentic Thai chillies this time ’round. So if you can get your hands on them, you will be upping the authenticity just a little.

Finally, just as I did with my Larb recipe, I advise dicing up the chicken by hand. This recipe does not call for mince, but it does call for very small pieces of chopped meat. Play it by ear!

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A quick guide – Thai Chicken Salad | Chicken Larb Recipe

Process - Prep - Sauce, aromats and early stage cook.
Process – Prep

This dish really is as quick and simple as any you’ll find. All we’re going to do is chop a few things up and get a few things ready. I suppose that’s the gist of cooking in general, but in this instance, you’ll see what I mean quite quickly.

So, firstly, we’ll dice up the chicken into small, but biteable pieces and set it aside.

Then we’ll make a sauce from palm sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce and we’ll once again set it aside until we’re ready.

Then it’s just a case of peeling and chopping our garlic and shallot, slicing up our chilli and starting to cook!

We’ll stir fry everything together, with a little consideration given to the timings. The details, naturally, are below! Adding a little bit of basil at the end and any additional seasonings you might require.

Finally, we’ll serve the dish up with some rice and drape a big, beautiful fried egg over the top, complete with glistening orange yolk.

Close up and personal!
Close up and personal picture of the stir fried basil dish.

A few final things to remember

  • Fry the egg in lots and lots of oil. We’re almost deep frying it. That’s how you get the dark, crispy ring around the outside. Mine could have done with a little more!
  • Lots and lots of basil! If a dish is all about the basil, make sure you include lots of basil. It sounds obvious, but this time I had a little less than I’d like and the dish suffered for it.
  • Swap out the chicken for whatever meat you like, if you’d prefer. At its strictest, the dish is really just about the Pad Krapow, or Stir-Fried Basil. The protein you choose isn’t really such a big deal.
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Similar Recipes & Useful Sides

Delicious Thai Yellow Curry – A fantastic curry that takes the fresh, vibrant flavours of Thailand and adds to them the complex flavours of dry spices and earthy turmeric.

Perfect Prawn Pad Thai – The national dish of Thailand. Quite possibly the perfect stir fry! With fresh seafood, paper thin rice noodles, crunchy peanuts, zingy tamarind and fiery chilli.

Authentic Thai Green Curry – Need I say more? The classic Thai dish that we all know and love. A perfect, vibrant curry with beautiful green chillies and fresh herbs.

Thai Chicken Massaman Curry – An amazing Mughal dish that perfectly merges Thailand’s incredible, fresh, beautiful flavours with the most decadent richness and spiciness of India at its most indulgent.


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Pad Krapow Gai

Pad Krapow Gai | Thai Basil Chicken Recipe

Pad krapow gai, stir fried basil with chicken. As simple as it sounds, this dish absolutely bursts with flavour and will absolutely blow your mind.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Thai
Servings 2

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Chicken Breast
  • 1 Shallot
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 2 – 6 Chillies Thai chillies ideally, but any chilli will work
  • 1 cup Basil
  • 3 tsp Palm Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Fish Sauce
  • Lime Juice
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2/3 cup Rice
  • Extra Basil for Garnish

Instructions
 

  • Add the palm sugar to a pestle and mortar and grind into a powder, then gradually add a tbsp fish sauce and an equal amount of soy sauce, then combine. Taste test and adjust if preferred.
  • Chop the 2 chicken breasts into small pieces and set aside.
  • Roughly chop a cup of basil and set aside.
  • Peel and finely slice 3 cloves garlic.
  • Peel and slice a shallot, then finely slice as many chillies as you deem appropriate. If you’re unsure, start with 2.
  • In a small – medium pan on medium heat, cook roughly 2/3 cup rice in twice the volume of boiling water. Cover the pan to help steam the rice at the same time. Remove the rice from the heat once all the water has evaporated, then season the rice with salt and stir together. It should be perfectly cooked. If not, add a little more water.
  • In an oiled pan on high heat, fry the chicken for just a couple of minutes before adding the shallot, garlic and chillies.
  • Continue to cook until everything is more or less cooked through, which with such small pieces of chicken should only take a few minutes, then add the sauce and stir together.
  • Once again, add the basil and stir everything together.
  • After a minute or so, season with lime juice and additional fish sauce if desired.
  • In a WELL oiled pan on medium – high heat, fry two eggs until they crisp up on the outside.
  • Plate up the rice and stir fry, then drape the egg over the top and garnish with basil and a wedge of lime.

If you’ve enjoyed this recipe or have any comments or queries, please do let us know in the comments section below! And don’t forget to like and share!

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