This recipe was originally posted November 30, 2019 and has been updated with new images and additional content.
Are you looking for a really, really fast meal that’s really, really tasty? Not only is this Thai Basil Chicken, AKA Pad Krapow Gai, bursting with flavor, you can whip it up in 15 minutes or less.
That’s faster than ordering pizza!
I went for a late afternoon stroller stroll with Noah and time got away from me. I ended up at the jetty, my favorite spot to hang out, and it was such a beautiful day. By the time I got home it was already 6:30 pm… jeez! I never meant to spend that much time out!
Dinner time was creeping up on me and at times like this I want something super fast. I could ask for take away food, but then I boasted to Jason that something nice will be waiting for him when he comes home. I’m sure all of you have that dilemma every now and then… what to cook??
So I rummaged through my refrigerator and spotted those red bird chilis and Thai basil I got at the Asian market a few days back. Eureka, I knew exactly what I was cooking tonight… Thai Basil Chicken!!!
What is Thai Basil Chicken, or Pad Krapow Gai?
Pad Krapow literally translates to stir fried (pad) holy basil (krapow). There are many types of pad krapows, depending on the type of protein. Today, we are going with chicken (gai).
Although this popular street food was not invented until the 1940’s, it has become one of their favorite comfort foods. So much so, that some survivors of the Tham Luang cave rescue asked for it as soon as they were rescued after two weeks underground!
Unlike comfort food in many parts of the world, which can take hours on the stove or oven, this Pad Krapow whips up in no time. It’s the perfect last minute dinner idea!
What is this “Holy Basil”?
Holy basil is a member of an entirely different species of basil, and has a distinctive vibrant peppery flavor with hints of cinnamon, cloves and menthol. It gives a beautiful freshness to the dish, contrasting the spicy chilis, pungent garlic and savory chicken.
If you don’t come across this “Holyness” of basil, you can use its brother, Thai sweet basil… and it’s not a sin if you don’t get your hands either, you can use regular basil. I always encourage people to try new cuisines, even if you are plus or minus an ingredient. It may not be as authentic as you get in Bangkok, but you get the idea.
- Ground Chicken – Finely chopped chicken also works, but ground is best. While you’re here, check out my roundup of the best ground chicken recipes.
- Garlic – Hmm… this goes in all my recipes, doesn’t it?
- Sauces – Soy, oyster, fish… and a pinch of sugar.
- Chilis – If you can find red Thai chilis, often called birds eye chilis, perfect! They are common in Asian grocery stores. If not, improvise! Serrano or jalepenõ will do the trick.
- Basil – Hence the name!
- Eggs – Really? You bet!
How to cook this Thai Basil Chicken
First, make a rough paste of your chilis and garlic. To really elevate the flavors of this stir fry, I highly encourage you to use your mortar and pestle. Grinding this way really releases all the juices and oils and brings that extra depth of flavor and spiciness.
Ok, with that step out of the way, do you have your other ingredients handy? This is going to go really fast!
Get you wok nice and hot, add oil, toss in your garlicky chili mixture and stir about 20 seconds. Mmm, smelling good already.
Add in your chicken and stir continuously for 6-8 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked. Add your sugar and sauces, stir until thoroughly mixed.
Then finally add your star, the basil and fold it into the chicken. Quickly remove it from heat, you don’t want your basil to overcook… Now take a breath, we’re almost done.
How to fry eggs… Thai style!
Okay, one last thing. Let’s cook these eggs. You can fry your basic eggs, but I like to do Thai style for this dish! Add about 1/4 inch of cooking oil to a frying pan and get it nice and hot. Then drop your eggs in and cook until they are nice and crispy around the edges. I like to spoon hot oil over my eggs to cook the top, as opposed to flipping them. Once your eggs are cooked to your liking (I prefer them just a little runny), it’s time to serve.
Now everything is ready! Serve your Thai Basil Chicken over rice (I prefer Jasmine for this dish, but any rice will do), put an egg on top and you are ready to eat. Too Easy!
Adjusting spice levels
Thai cuisine is often known for it’s spiciness. I have made some Thai green curries that will make you breathe fire, but this recipe is relatively mild.
That being said, I always say one should make it as spicy as they enjoy. Like all my recipes, the ingredients listed are just a guide. You don’t like too much spice? Start with 2-3 chilis and work your way up.
The same is true with garlic. If your love for garlic is limited, just give him handshake instead of a hug.
Can you use other meats?
Absolutely! You have endless options, like pad krapow kung (prawns), pad krapow neua (beef), pad krapow mu (pork)… you could even go vegetarian with pad krapow het (mushrooms)!
How to store leftovers
You can refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Then just re-heat on the stove over medium heat or microwave. I do not recommend freezing, as the quality degrades a bit.
The next time you you crave some great Asian flavors, give this easy chicken recipe a try. It just might be the easiest dinner you’ve ever cooked! And for more ideas, check out my roundup of the 50 Best Asian Recipes. Until next time…
Thai Basil Chicken, on my Gypsy Plate… Enjoy!
Try these other 30 minute or less dinner ideas
Cajun Shrimp Scampi
Tomato Basil Chicken
Puerto Rican Picadillo
Korean Ground Beef Bowls
Blackened Shrimp and Grits
Flank Steak Fajitas
Parmesan Chicken Meatballs
- 1.5 lbs ground chicken
- 1.5 cup basil
- 12-13 cloves garlic
- 7-8 red bird chilis
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 eggs
Thai Basil Chicken
- Crush chilis and peeled garlic into a paste.
- Heat oil in wok over high heat. Add chili-garlic paste and stir for 20 seconds.
- Add chicken, stir continuously 6-8 minutes, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
- Add sugar and sauces, stir until well mixed.
- Fold in basil. Remove from heat immediately, so the basil doesn't overcook.
- Fill frying pan with 1/4 inch of oil. Get nice and hot.
- Drop in eggs. Fry until edges are nice and crispy, spooning hot oil over eggs to cook the top.
- Cook until desired doneness.
Serve your Thai Basil Chicken over hot cooked rice and top with egg. Enjoy!
Adjust the level of spiciness to your taste by adding or subtracting the number of chilies.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 506Total Fat 34gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 24gCholesterol 368mgSodium 1923mgCarbohydrates 4gFiber 0gSugar 1gProtein 48g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
Be sure to check out my roundup of the 30+ BEST Ground Chicken Recipes!
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