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Pad Kra Pao – How to stir-fry pork with Thai basil

Pad Kra Pao (stir-fried basil with minced meat) is Thai street food with fantastic flavor, best for a quick lunch.

Its flavor is derived from the trinity of Thai seasonings- fish sauce, soy sauce, and oyster sauce. And, of course, it would not be complete without the generous use of bird’s eye chili that scored high on the Scoville scale.

It can be done at home quickly because it is pretty simple to prepare. The ingredients required are also relatively easy to get, and of course, it will guarantee you to have a great appetite that needs plenty of rice to go with it.

Here is how to prepare the Thai-style stir-fry minced pork with basil.

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Pad Kra Pao prepared with basil and pork has an authentic Thai flavor. Best to eat with a Thai-styled fried egg and white rice.

How to prepare Pad Kra Pao

Here are the detailed steps for preparing Pad Kra Pao at home.

1. Prepare the ingredients

a. Pork and long bean

Get some ground pork from your butcher. I ask him to ground for me with a quarter of fat. Minced pork with some fat is more tender. You may use lean meat for a healthier version, but the meat will be tougher. 

I like to add some crunchy vegetables to the minced meat to give it a contrasting texture and mouthfeel. The most common vegetable used is the long bean. 

Cut the long bean into short sections, about a quarter cm crosswise. You can also use snow peas or French beans to achieve the same result.

b. Chilies and garlic

Thai dishes won’t be authentic if you leave out the chilies. I use six bird’s eye chilies for 400g (14 oz) of minced meat. 

  • Remove the stem of the bird’s eye chilies. Shake off the seeds if you can’t handle the heat. It is better to remove the seeds than use fewer chilies for a less spicy stir-fry so you can have enough flavor minus the intense heat of the chili.
  • Cut the chiles into small sections. 
  • Place the chili in a mortar.
  • Bash a few cloves of garlic, give them a few chops and add to the chilies.
  • Ground the chilies and garlic into a paste until the aromatic flavor is released. Then remove the paste from the mortar and set it aside.

Note: You can use a food processor/blender to process the chilies and garlic into paste if you do not have the mortar and pestle. 

2. Get ready for the seasonings for Pad Kra Pao

Combine the fish sauce, oyster sauce, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, and a tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Mix well. This combination is the sauce for the stir-fry.

Fish sauce, oyster sauce, and light soy sauce are the trinity of Thai seasonings. The combination is also suitable for most Thai stir-fries besides this recipe. The proportion required is listed in the recipe, but it is not set in stone, so it is Ok to change the ratio of these sauces according to your preference.

pad kra pao prepared with basil and pork has an authentic Thai flavor. Best to eat with a Thai-styled fried egg and white rice.

3. Made a Thai-style fried egg

The Thai crispy fried egg is quite different from the western style sunny side or easy-over egg. It is not a runny egg as sunny side up, and the side should be slightly brown and crispy. If you are first time cooking Thai food, you may frown at this treatment of the egg. However, it does taste great, especially the crispy bit at the rim of the egg!

  • Add sufficient oil into the wok enough to cover an egg. Heat the oil to medium heat, crack an egg, and place it gently at the center of the oil. 
  • Let it fry undisturbed until the edges bubble up and turn crispy. The egg will eventually release itself from the surface of the wok. When the egg is cooked, remove and set aside.

Note: This Thai-styled fried egg has crispy edges that taste incredibly delicious.

4. Stir-fry the minced pork with basil

Making Pad Kra Pao is a quick process, so get ready everything you need before starting to keep things flowing at stir-fry time.

  • Keep some remaining oil from frying the egg in the large skillet or wok. Stir-fry the long bean until fragrant. Remove. 
  • Add more oil to the wok and saute the chopped chili and garlic until aromatic. 
  • Now add the ground meat to the wok. Loosen it with the wok spatula and stir-fry the pork until aromatic and turn slightly brown with medium heat. 
  • Pour the seasoning mixture and mix thoroughly with the meat. You may add a small amount of water if it is too dry.
  • Throw in the Thai holy basil leaves and give it a few quick flips and stirs.
  • When the leave is about to wilt, add the long beans to mix and remove from the wok.
  • Dish out and serve with white rice and fried egg.

Note: 

  • You may want to use another type of basil if Thai basil is unavailable. I use the local basil, which is quite close to Thai basil.
  • Fish sauce is available in most Asian markets and grocery stores. It is the most common seasoning ingredient for Thai cuisine.
  • Chili is a crucial ingredient for Thai cooking. Thai people can take very hot and spicy food. If you can’t bear the heat, you can reduce the number of bird’s eye chili and substitute part of it with the large Thai chili, which is less spicy but still gives you the chili flavor.
  • Other ingredients you can include in the recipes are baby corn (cut into small sections) and bell pepper (cut into small wedges).
  • You can use ground chicken or ground beef if you do not eat pork. I have a different recipe for preparing Pad Kra Pao with chicken.

Other Thai food on this food blog

You may also want to try other Thai recipes on this food blog:

Pad Kra Pao recipe 1

Pad Kra Pao

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Pad Kra Pao prepared with basil and pork has an authentic Thai flavor. Best to eat with a Thai-styled fried egg and white rice.

Ingredients

A (main ingredients)

  • 400g ground pork
  • 3 stalks of long beans (50g)
  • 1 large handful of Thai basil (30g dry weight)
  • 2 eggs

B (seasonings)

C (others)

  • 8 bird's eye chiles
  • 4 cloves garlic

Instructions

  1. Cut the long bean into a short section, about a quarter cm crosswise. 
  2. Remove the stem of the bird’s eye chilies. Shake off the seeds. Cut the chiles into small sections. 
  3. Place the chili in a mortar. Add a few cloves of based garlic. Ground the chilies and garlic into a paste until the aromatic flavor is released. 
  4. Combine the fish sauce, oyster sauce, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, and a tablespoon of water in a small bowl. 
  5. Add sufficient oil into the wok enough to cover an egg. Heat the oil to medium heat, crack an egg, and place it gently at the center of the oil. 
  6. Let it fry undisturbed until the edges bubble up and turn crispy. 
  7. Keep some remaining oil from frying the egg in the large skillet or wok. Stir-fry the long bean until fragrant. Remove. 
  8. Add more oil to the wok and saute the chopped chili and garlic until aromatic. 
  9. Now add the ground meat to the wok. Loosen it with the wok spatula and stir-fry the pork until aromatic and turn slightly brown with medium heat. 
  10. Pour the seasoning mixture and mix thoroughly with the meat. 
  11. Throw in the Thai holy basil leaves and give it a few quick flips and stirs.
  12. When the leave is about to wilt, add the long beans to mix and remove from the wok.
  13. Dish out and serve with rice and the fried egg.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 3 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 589Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 249mgSodium: 2087mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 6gSugar: 20gProtein: 45g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 6/6/2022

essell

Tuesday 23rd of April 2024

is that correct Chef? two tablespoons of sugar?!?

KP Kwan

Wednesday 24th of April 2024

It does, Thai food can be sweet (and sour + savory) :)

Jenn

Friday 19th of April 2024

I am a foodie at heart, love Thai cuisine, and this is by far the best recipe for Pad Kra Pao I've attempted. 5 stars!!

KP Kwan

Wednesday 24th of April 2024

Thank you :)

KP Kwan

Wednesday 8th of June 2022

Hi, this is KP Kwan. I am happy to see you in this comment area, as you have read through my recipe. I am glad to reply to any questions and comments as soon as possible.

Jenn

Friday 19th of April 2024

@KP Kwan, do you have a recipe for red curry? I love Pad Bra Pao, but my daughter and husband love red curry. I haven't found a recipe I've loved for either until I found yours. It was beaufitul so I was wondering if you also made a killer red curry recipe. Thank you!! - Jenn

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