Classic Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai)

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Calling all stir-fry lovers! Craving a delicious, quick, and easy meal that bursts with flavor? Look no further than Thai Basil Chicken. This iconic Thai dish, also known as Pad Kra Pow Gai, is a symphony of savory, spicy, and garlicky goodness that’s sure to tantalize your taste buds.

The best part? You only need a handful of ingredients and about 30 minutes to whip up this culinary masterpiece. It’s perfect for busy weeknights or whenever you’re in the mood for a taste of Thailand.

Thai Basil Chicken
Thai Basil Chicken


The Aromatics:

  • 8 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 4-5 red bird’s eye chilies, thinly sliced (adjust for spice preference)
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • The Protein:
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • The Sauces:
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce (optional)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar, or palm sugar (to taste)
  • The Star of the Show:
  • 1 large bunch Thai holy basil leaves, roughly chopped (around 2 cups)
  • Optional Garnish:
  • Fried egg (per serving)
  • Chopped roasted peanuts
  • Steamed white rice or jasmine rice

  • Directions:

    1. Prep Time:

  • Start by prepping your ingredients. Smash the garlic cloves with the back of your knife. Thinly slice the shallots and red chilies. Roughly chop the Thai holy basil leaves, keeping some whole leaves for garnish. Cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces.

  • 2. Get the Wok Smokin’ Hot:

  • Heat your wok or large frying pan over high heat. Add the vegetable oil and let it shimmer.

  • 3. Release the Aromatics:

  • Once the oil is hot, toss in the shallots and fry for about 2 minutes until softened and fragrant.

  • 4. Spice Things Up:

  • Add the smashed garlic and sliced chilies to the wok. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, releasing all those amazing aromas. Be careful not to burn the garlic as it can turn bitter.

  • 5. Let the Chicken Shine:

  • Increase the heat slightly and add the chicken pieces to the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the chicken is cooked through and nicely browned.

  • 6. The Flavor Builders:

  • Pour in the light soy sauce, oyster sauce (if using), dark soy sauce, and brown sugar. Stir-fry for another minute, allowing the sauces to coat the chicken and caramelize slightly.

  • 7. The Grand Finale:

  • Finally, add the star of the show – the Thai holy basil leaves! Toss everything together until the basil is lightly wilted. Don’t overcook the basil as it loses its vibrant flavor quickly.

  • 8. Serve it Up!

  • Remove the wok from the heat and spoon the Thai Basil Chicken onto a bed of steamed white rice or jasmine rice. Garnish with a fried egg (optional), chopped roasted peanuts, and some extra whole basil leaves for a beautiful presentation.

  • Pro Tip: If you can’t find Thai holy basil, you can substitute with sweet basil in a pinch. However, the flavor will be slightly different.

    Nutrition Facts (per serving)

    This recipe yields approximately 4 servings. Here’s a rough estimate of the nutritional content per serving:

    Calories: 450-500

  • Protein: 30-35 grams
  • Fat: 20-25 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 30-35 grams
  • Sodium: 800-1000mg (depending on the soy sauce used)

  • Note: These are just estimates, and the actual nutritional content will vary depending on the ingredients you use and the portion size.


    Thai Basil Chicken is a delicious and versatile dish that’s sure to become a regular in your weeknight dinner rotation. With its simple ingredients and bold flavors, it’s a crowd-pleaser that’s guaranteed to satisfy. So next time you’re craving a quick and flavorful meal, give this Thai Basil Chicken recipe a try. You won’t be disappointed!


    1. Can I use chicken breast instead of chicken thighs?