This classic Thai dish has to be the world’s sexiest fast food, and so easy, healthy and versatile. Plus it tastes amazing.
Pad ga pao (or ka prao as it is also known) is a five minute meal, guaranteed, and usually served with steamed rice and a fried egg on top. It is also one of the most commonly eaten, widely loved dishes in the Thai food repertoire. Everybody eats it across Thailand all the time.
The beauty of it is the total lack of fat and dramas – it’s also inexpensive, easy to cook, and so full of flavour.
It’s commonly made with chicken or pork (minced or finely chopped) – but you can use anything. Beef, seafood, tofu, vegetables – even weird stuff.
The name ‘pad ga pao’ simply translates as ‘fried with basil leaves’ – the basil being ‘hot basil’, Thai basil’, ‘holy basil’, or ‘bai ga pao’ in Thai.
The basil leaves come in red (purple actually) or green – but the more common variety are green. They grow easily – so plant some in a pot. They look a bit hairy and unappetising, just like me – but they leave fond memories and a desire for more
Ingredients: (to serve 2)
220g Lean chopped or ground meat (it can be chicken, pork, beef, etc, or even fresh mixed seafood)
1 tbsp Fresh chopped garlic
Chillies, cut in half, or on an angle (amount & variety up to your heat tolerance)
1 cup Holy basil leaves, fresh
1 tbsp/ 20ml Oil for frying
1 tbsp/20ml Soy sauce (Thai ‘golden mountain’ or ‘healthy boy’ is great)
1 tbsp/20ml Oyster sauce (Thai Maekrua is awesome!)
*Steamed rice for serving
*Fried egg (to put on top of the rice)
How to make your dream come true:
1/. Heat a little oil in a frying pan, wok or sauteuse
2/. Fry garlic until golden over medium heat
3/. Add chopped/minced meat or seafood
4/. Stir-fry a minute or two until almost cooked.
5/. Add oyster sauce, soy sauce, basil leaves and chilli
6/. Fry the egg
7/. Serve on a plate with steamed rice. Put the fried egg on top of the rice.
8/. Enjoy your awesome authentic Thai dish, and get used to cooking it frequently because anyone who tries it is going to ask for more.
More information and cooking tips:
The ‘main’ ingredient can be anything. Experiment.
The sauces can be varied to taste. Some use sweet soy, kecap manis, dark soy (see eiw dum) – which can be an acquired taste. If you like it, go for your life.
The ‘kai dao’ (star egg) is fried egg – but in Thailand it is normally fried in quite a bit of oil in a hot wok, so the top is almost cooked and the bottom light brown and a bit crunchy. Your standard fried egg is fine.
The egg is optional. Most people have it in Thailand – some people don’t. Without the egg, ask for ‘pad ga pao’ – with egg, ask for ‘pad ga pao kai dao’ Some other generic Thai that is useful to know when ordering food: Moo = pork (shouldn’t it be “oink”?)
Neua = beef
Gai = chicken
Pla = fish
Goong = prawn
Talay = seafood
Kai – egg
Kai Gai = chicken egg
Kai neua = a weird stare – because cows don’t lay eggs. But as a euphemism……………Phew! NORMALLY – you serve “pad ga pao” with FRESHLY cut cucumber sticks and ripe tomato. So fast and easy!
Now get cracking and make some fast food that your friends and family will worship you for.
To ask questions, see photos, get more tips, or leave feedback, visit me at my website and I’ll help if I can.