basil chicken ingredients

basil chicken ingredients

This must be one of the most common Thai street food. Love the spiciness and the freshness of this dish. It is also my youngest son’s favourite. Every time we are in the Newton area, he would go to the Thai lady’s stall and ask for this. Though he cannot take spiciness very well, he would insist they not reduce the chilies in it.

Pad Krapao can be ordered at any street stall. This version is with Gai (or chicken meat), you can make/order it with Pla (fish), Moo (pork) or sometimes, toufu.

I cannot imagine how many versions of this dish there must be! The ones with the minced (Sab) chicken, those with thigh minced meat, those with diced chicken meat, and those with breast meat or minced breast.  Then, there are people who add all sorts of vegetables into this dish: from capsicum to long beats to bak choy.  And then, there are people who add all sorts of condiments into this dish. I like mine with little of these things, and try to strike a balance of taste instead.

I also couldn’t find Thai holy basil leaves, so I cut some leaves from my pot of sweet basil. If you can, always use good quality holy basil leaves.

My Thai partner used to bring me to a Bangkok street stall to eat various dishes. Khun Virat used to say that if the chef is skinny, never eat his food. Though he told me this some 20 years ago, I find myself still judging a chef by his waistline to this day.

Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Kra Pao Gai)


  • 5 cloves Garlic minced
  • 4 Thai chilies thinly sliced (I removed the seeds)
  • 1 bunch fresh Sweet Basil leaves leaves only
  • 400 g Chicken Thighs boned, skinned and diced into 1.5cm x 1.5 cm
  • 1 Tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Palm sugar to balance if preferred
  • A squeeze of lime juice


  • Heat up a wok/pot with the cooking oil.
  • Add the minced garlic and chilies, and on low heat, stire till garlic is golden brown.
  • Add the chicken and when caramelized, add the fish sauce.
  • When chicken is 80% done, add the basil leaves and give it a quick stir.
  • Add the sugar if preferred, and adjust according to taste.
  • Serve with white, steamed rice and a fried egg. Egg must be fried over a high heat with 4 Tbsp of oil. I also like mine with a wedge of lime.

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