From Wok to Plate: Demystifying Pad Krapow Preparation and Cooking”

Pad Krapow

In Thailand, food is important, so important that it is part of politics! So when Prime Minister Plaek Phibunsongkhram declared Pad Thai to be Thailand’s national dish, it was far from unconventional.
If a national dish is defined by what is served the most and eaten by the most Thais, then Pad Krapow (Pad Gaprao) would win by a horse’s length.

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Exploring the history behind a dish can be just as exciting as savoring the flavors it offers. It gives us a deeper understanding of its origins, traditions and evolution. As we take a look at the history behind Pad Krapow, a wonderfully flavorful Thai dish, we get an insight into its popularity and importance in Thai cuisine.

The origin of Pad Krapow

Pad Krapow, also known as Pad Kra Pao, is a Thai dish often described as “fast food” in Thailand. It’s a rustic and spicy stir-fry dish that used to be a popular choice for quick and easy lunches. The name Pad Krapow can have several English spellings, such as Pad Kra Pao, Pad Ka Prao or Pad Ka Pow, but they all refer to the same delicious dish.

Rosa’s, a Thai restaurant chain, describes Pad Krapow as “something of a national dish” and says it’s the perfect choice when you don’t know what to order. The dish is so good that you don’t even have to think about it. It is a dish that is easy to prepare and eat, making it a popular choice among people in Thailand.

A classic Thai dish

Pad Krapow is a dish that is often served with rice and a fried egg on top. It is a complete meal in itself and is as quick to prepare as it is to eat. Cooking this dish is easy, and it doesn’t take much to create the distinctive flavor and aroma of Pad Krapow.

Traditionally chicken is used in Pad Krapow, but there are many variations where different protein sources can be used. It can be pork, beef, seafood or even vegetarian options with tofu and mushrooms. Minced chicken is the most classic way to prepare Pad Krapow and it gives an authentic and “street food” feel to the dish.

Spices and flavors in Pad Krapow

One of the main flavors in Pad Krapow comes from holy basil, also known as tulsi or bai kra-pao in Thai. Holy basil has a distinct aroma and flavor that is peppery and slightly citrusy. It is an important ingredient in Pad Krapow and gives the dish its characteristic flavor profile.

In addition to holy basil, other ingredients such as garlic, chili and soy sauce are also used to give the dish extra flavor and spiciness. Some recipes also include oyster sauce and fish sauce to provide an umami-rich flavor. It is important to balance these flavors to bring out the perfect combination of sweetness, saltiness and spiciness in Pad Krapow.

A journey through the history of Pad Krapow

The history behind Pad Krapow is not well documented, but there are some interesting theories about its origins. One theory is that the dish originated in Chinese cuisine and that the Thai version is an adaptation of the popular Chinese dish “Moo Shu Pork”. Over the years, Pad Krapow has been adapted and refined to suit the Thai taste palette and ingredients.

Pad Krapow also has a connection to Thai culture and tradition. Holy basil, which is an important ingredient in the dish, has a special place in Thai folklore and is used in religious ceremonies and rituals. Using holy basil in cooking is considered a tribute to Thai culture and traditions.


Cooking Perfect Homemade Pad Krapow

Making Perfect Homemade Pad Krapow requires a few basic ingredients and simple steps. Here is a basic guide to cooking this delicious Thai dish:


  • 4-8 Bird eye chilies , finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large mild red chili, sliced
  • 100g green beans, chopped (optional)
  • Neutral oil to fry in
  • 2 eggs (optional)
  • 200g minced meat of any protein (chicken, pork or beef)
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 pinch of granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (optional)
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 tbsp kecap manis or dark soy sauce (optional)
  • A handful of holy basil
  • Cooked rice, to serve


  1. Heat oil in a wok over high heat. Fry the eggs if you choose to include them in the dish and set them aside on a warm plate.
  2. Fry finely chopped chillies and garlic in the wok for a few seconds until they smell aromatic.
  3. Add the protein (chicken, pork or beef) to the wok and fry for about a minute until cooked through.
  4. Add fish sauce, sugar and any other sauces you choose to use. Stir and add the green beans and sliced ​​chilies. Continue to fry for about a minute until the liquid begins to boil.
  5. Stir in holy basil until slightly wilted. Divide the dish between two plates, place an egg on each portion and serve with rice.

Fry/Fry eggs Thai-style

You can eat Pad Krapaow on its own with rice, but the most popular way is to eat the dish with a fried egg. This classic combination is called “kao pad gaprao gai kai dao”, which simply means rice with holy basil chicken and a fried egg. Thai fried eggs are fried in a LOT of oil (usually in a wok ) because the most important feature you want is the bubbly brown edges of the egg whites.


Put cooked jasmine rice on a plate, spoon pad kra pao over half of the rice and top it all with the fried egg. You can then drizzle prik nam pla on top of the egg when it is ready to eat.


The story behind Perfect Homemade Pad Krapow gives us a deeper understanding of this delicious Thai dish. The origin of Pad Krapow is not entirely clear, but it is clear that the dish has become a favorite among people in Thailand and around the world. Preparing Perfect Homemade Pad Krapow requires a few simple ingredients and steps, but the reward is a flavorful and authentic Thai dining experience. So give yourself the chance to explore this amazing dish and enjoy the flavors of Thai food culture.

Frequently Asked Questions about Pad Krapow

What can I use as a substitute for holy basil?

If you can’t find holy basil, you can use regular Italian basil or Thai basil as a substitute. Italian basil has a similar flavor profile to holy basil and works well in the dish.

What protein alternatives can I use in Pad Krapow?

Pad Krapow can be prepared with different protein sources. You can use chicken, pork, beef, seafood or vegetarian options such as tofu and mushrooms. Customize the dish according to your preferences and dietary needs.

Can I make the Pad Krapow less spicy?

If you cannot tolerate spicy food, you can reduce the amount of chili in the recipe or use milder varieties of chili. You can also remove the seeds from the chilies to reduce the spiciness.

Can I cook Pad Krapow in advance?

Pad Krapow is best when served fresh, but you can prepare the ingredients ahead of time and quickly prepare the dish when it’s time to eat. Prepare the vegetables and protein and store them separately in the refrigerator until you are ready to prepare the dish.

Spicy Thai Basil Tofu-Pad-Krapow

“Original” Pad Kra Pao (Pad Gaprao)

Thai Holy Basil Stir Fry with Beef
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 3 pers
Calories 769 kcal


1 Wok


Pad Kra Pao

  • 6 gaps Garlic
  • 3 st Thai chilies (or other hot chili, e.g. Habanero. Remember to adapt to your level of chili tolerance)
  • 60 ml Mild red chili (sliced)
  • 80 ml Mild red chili (finely chopped)
  • 340 g Minced meat (usually ground beef in Thailand, but ground beef also works)
  • 25 ml Fish sauce
  • 30 ml Oil
  • 15 ml Palm sugar
  • 120 ml Broth (meat or chicken broth)
  • 30 g Holy Basilica (all Thai Basil)
  • 2,5 ml Black pepper (finely ground)


  • Jasmine rice
  • 3 st Eggs
  • Prik nam pla


Pad Kra Pao

  • Pound Thai chili in a mortar to a fine paste. Add the garlic and the chopped mild chili and pulse to a rough dough.
    6 gaps Garlic, 3 st Thai chilies, 60 ml Mild red chili
  • Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat, add about 1 tablespoon of the oil if your beef is lean. When the wok is very hot, add the beef and spread it out. Brown the meat without moving it until the underside is browned. Flip (or toss if you have the skill) the beef and notice how the beef will begin to release a lot of liquid – keep stirring until all this liquid has evaporated, and the beef begins to sizzle in its own fat. When the beef is sizzling, let it cook without stirring for 15-20 seconds to brown the beef further and develop flavor, then stir and repeat the browning 1-2 more times.
    340 g Minced meat, 30 ml Oil
  • Lower the heat to medium, push the beef to one side of the pan and if there isn’t a lot of fat in the pan add a little more oil just enough to saute the garlic. Add the garlic and chilli paste and fry in the oil for 30 seconds until aromatic and the garlic starts to turn golden, then mix it with the beef.
  • Turn the heat up to high and add about half of the stock or water, fish sauce, sugar and black pepper; toss to mix well. Add the mild chili and stir for 30 seconds; if it looks too dry, add more of the stock or water.
    80 ml Mild red chili, 25 ml Fish sauce, 15 ml Palm sugar, 120 ml Broth, 2,5 ml Black pepper
  • Turn off heat, add basil and toss just until wilted. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more sugar or fish sauce as needed, and add a little more water or stock if it feels too dry. Set this aside while you fry the eggs.
    30 g Holy Basilica

Fried egg (Thai style)

  • To fry the eggs Thai style, I recommend frying them 1 at a time to prevent them from sticking to each other. There are 2 options for frying eggs:
    3 st Eggs

For crispy whites and semi-hard yolk:

  • Add about ¼ inch of frying oil to a small nonstick skillet and place over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the egg and allow the egg white to bubble. Use a spoon to occasionally drizzle the top of the egg with oil to cook the yolk. When the whites are crisp and browned around the edges and the yolk has set to your liking, you can remove it from the pan.

For eggs with crispy whites and loose (runny) yolks

  • Separate the egg white and yolk. Add about ¼ inch of frying oil to a small nonstick skillet and place over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the egg white and let it sizzle until the edges start to brown. Use your spatula to press down the center of the white to make an indentation for the yolk to sit in. Once the egg white has colored around the edges, carefully place the yolk in the well and use a spoon to brush a little oil around the edges of the yolk so that it sticks to the egg white. Remove from pan and drain.


Mild red chilies are for color and flavor, while Thai chilies are for heat.
Traditionally we use spur chilies (prik chee fa) for the mild peppers, but red anaheim or mini peppers will work. Regular red pepper flesh is a bit thicker and is more watery than ideal, but it’s also fine if that’s all you have!
Italian basil is my preferred substitute if holy basil is not available. Thai basil can also be used, and the dish will be just as good, but I find that the taste of regular Italian basil is closer to that of holy basil.


Calories: 769kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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