Thai Basil Chicken (“Pad Krapow Gai” or “Gai Pad Krapow”) is a classic Thai stir-fry where the amazing aroma of basil pairs so well with the savory sauce. Serve over steamed jasmine rice and top with a fried egg for the ultimate Thai comfort food; all ready in less than 20 minutes!
Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai or also known as Gai Pad Krapow) is a Thai street food that has gained popularity around the world. Diced or ground chicken is stir-fried in a delicious savory sauce, then basil is tossed into the wok at the last minute to infuse the dish with that unmistakable aroma. Perfect over a bowl of steamed jasmine rice, then topped with a fried egg with a slightly runny yolk, and sliced Thai bird chili for some spice. Thankfully, this dish is so quick and easy that you can have dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes!
The flavor and aroma of basil is what gives this dish its character. “Kra-pow” is actually a specific type of basil called holy basil. It can be quite difficult to find holy basil, so you can use the more common Thai sweet basil as a substitute.
The chicken for this dish is either diced into small pieces or ground. I prefer ground chicken in this recipe as it absorbs that yummy sauce and distributes it perfectly in the steamed jasmine rice. When I’m not able to find ground chicken at the grocery store, I make my own using a mixture of chicken breast and chicken thighs.
To me, this dish would not be complete without that fried egg on the top. The edges are crispy, and the yolk is slightly runny which adds even more flavor to the dish.
How to make Thai Basil Chicken
(scroll down for the printable recipe)
Prepare the sauce by combining 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce, 2 teaspoons of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of dark soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of palm sugar or brown sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of fish sauce. Don’t be intimidated by the fish sauce – it is very salty and yes, fishy, but will give this dish a very nice and well balanced depth of flavor.
Mince 3 cloves of garlic, and thinly slice one small shallot.
Heat 2 tablespoons of peanut oil (or your favorite cooking oil) in a wok over medium-high heat. Saute the minced garlic and sliced shallot until the garlic turns very slightly brown.
Add 1 pound of ground (or diced) chicken to the wok and stir-fry until fully cooked. Stir in the sauce and toss till well combined.
Add about 1 cup of holy basil or Thai basil to the wok. The basil leaves will turn a darker color once it touches the heat.
Stir-fry until the basil leaves have wilted.
To make the fried egg with the crispy edges: You can use either a wok or a small frying pan to fry the egg. I recommend using the small frying pan as you can use less oil, and the egg turns out flatter. Heat up the pan over medium-high heat and pour in about 2 tablespoons of oil. Move the pan around to distribute the oil evenly. When the pan starts to smoke just very slightly, you’ll know it’s ready. (Don’t let it get too hot, especially if it has a non-stick coating, so be prepared to work quickly). Crack the egg into the pan – I like to place it right in the middle of the oil. It should start sizzling right away (if it does not, the pan may not be hot enough). Allow the egg to cook, untouched, until the edges start to turn brown. Slide a wooden or silicone spatula under the egg to gently lift the egg from the pan. When the edges of the egg white are a nice golden brown, transfer the egg to a plate.
Enjoy Thai Basil Chicken over steamed jasmine rice. Top with a fried egg and thinly sliced Thai bird chili.