A tangy, spicy, salty and subtly sweet stir fry with holy basil and chilies and minced thigh fillets were used in this Thai basil chicken (pad krapow gai or phat kaphrao gai) recipe.
What is pad krapow? It’s a stir fried Thai dish. The meat can be pork, beef or chicken. Or dispense with the meat and use shrimps instead.
What cannot be excluded are the holy basil and chilies. Without these two, the stir fry is not pad krapow.
In this recipe, minced chicken thigh fillets were used. No, not chicken breast. With the mincing and the high heat, chicken breast meat will turn dry before the dish is done.
You can substitute ground chicken thigh meat if that is more convenient but you get better control with the size of the chicken pieces if you do the mincing yourself. It’s not that hard. Just cut the chicken fillets into thin strips, cut across the strips then use a heavy knife to chop until you get the size that you like.
Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai)
- 6 to 8 chicken thigh fillets
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 bird’s eye chilies
- 1 one-inch knob ginger
- 2 shallots or 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- fish sauce to taste
- large handful holy basil leaves
- 3 eggs, fried sunny side up to serve
- rice to serve
- Pat the chicken fillets dry with paper towels. Mince the chicken to the size that you prefer.
- Mince the garlic.
- Finely slice the chilies.
- Peel and mince the ginger.
- Thinly slice (or roughly chop) the shallots or onion.
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan. Saute the garlic, chilies, ginger and shallots or onion.
- Add the minced chicken. Stir fry until the meat changes color. Pour in the soy sauce and half of the lime juice. Add the sugar. Stir and pour in enough fish sauce to create the sweet-tangy-salty-spicy balance that you like. If you’re aiming for authenticity, the flavor should be more tangy and spicy than sweet and salty.
- Stir fry the chicken for three to four minutes. Add the holy basil leaves. Stir fry for another two to three minutes.
- Taste the chicken pad krapow. Adjust the seasonings, as needed, before serving with fried egg and rice