Stir Fried Pork with Holy Basil

Pad Ga-prao (Pad Ga-praw) is one of the most common dishes in Thailand. It’s usually served as a one-dish meal, a quick meal eaten over rice, and is usually topped with a fried egg. This recipe is for a ‘one-dish meal’ sized portion. If you plan on making this as a dish to serve with others for a shared meal, double the recipe. Unfortunately, it’s hard to get Holy Basil outside of Thailand, so most restaurants in the West substitute with Thai Basil, which isn’t as good in this dish. Pad Ga-prao can be made with ground or sliced chicken, beef or pork using this same recipe. You can even use pre-fried tofu. Serve with a sliced chili in a bowl with a teaspoon of fish sauce.



  1. Smash chilies with a stone mortar and pestle if you have one, or use the side or back of a knife. Smash garlic, and set aside with the chilies.
  2. Clean basil by picking off the leaves and flowers, and discarding the stems. Rinse and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan until very hot on high heat. Throw in the chilies & garlic, and stir until browned. You should sneeze from the chili. (You may want to open a window.)
  4. When the garlic is ready, add the pork. Break it up in the pan with your spatula, to make sure it cooks evenly. Fry until no longer red.
  5. Add sugar, soy sauce & fish sauce. Stir and let absorb.
  6. When dry, add the water and the basil leaves. Stir until basil is wilted, and serve on rice.
  7. If you want to top with a fried egg, add a bit more oil in the pan, and allow the oil to get very hot. Crack an egg in the middle. If it’s hot enough the egg will bubble up and sizzle. When browned on the edges, flip and wait until browned on the other side. Remove and place on top of the rice.


Fry the garlic & chilies until light brown


Add the ground pork and stir

Sugar, Fish & Soy Sauces, Then Basil

Add the sugar, sauces, then the basil


Fry the egg on very high heat

22 thoughts on “Stir Fried Pork with Holy Basil

  1. Delicious recipe! I was lucky enough to find the Holy Basil and I loved the flavor. And you’re not kidding about sneezing from the chiles : )

  2. Great recipe. Almost as good as the ones I would eat in Pattaya. I have become a Holy Basil addict.

  3. Hey! I wanted to cook something to impress my northeastern bf and I tried this one, first try and he said it was “sell-able” hahaha, awesome detailed recipe you have here, thanks! And include more Northeastern dishes if you can, I’d like to try and make them!!

    Jasmine =D

  4. Thanks so much for the recipe. Tried it today for lunch and it was amazing even though I bought the wrong basil (used the Thai basil instead of holy. Oops!)Will try all your other recipes soon!!

  5. Just made this dish and it was lovely! Added Thai basil and Holy basil as I had both in and used more minced pork, but worked out lovely! Thankyou!

  6. Good recipe, I made this a lot when I was living in Thailand…although many thai chefs will slice the chile and garlic in fine slices instead of mortar/pestel. I was called lazy by a good thai friend who is a chef when I did this. Also you can use oyster sauce instead of soy sauce, has a better flavor.

  7. reminded me of a dish my mum used to make in suburban australia in the 70’s.she would add a stick of celery and crunchy noodles for the crunch.Us kids loved it although we always put way too much soy in which just doesnt happen in our health conscience times today

  8. I recently flew back home after spending half a year in Asia. In Thailand, this was by far my favorite dish. I can’t cook at all, but miss Asian food so much that I want to give it a try. The only problem for me is that there are no vegetables in it. In Thailand I often ate it with morning glory but we don’t seem to have it here. Does anyone have suggestions for other vegetables that would go well with this dish?

  9. I also noticed while in Thailand that it is common for there to be green beans (long beans) in the dish. I feel like it isn’t complete unless those are included along with some onion.

    1. Hi Brad,
      That’s a few variations of this dish. I’ve had long beans added often, and onion added sometimes. I prefer to leave them out, but feel free to add them if you prefer it.

  10. This is one of my favorite dishes to cook. I have a holy basil plant, so when the leaves get plentiful, I always resort to this dish. Also, I like mine with slivered kaffir lime leaves. Those are even harder to come by than holy basil, which is why I had to get a tree.

  11. This is better.

    1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    4 cloves garlic
    6-8 small thai chilies to taste (8 will be very spicy)
    1/2 cup (100g) ground pork (or chicken/beef)
    1 tablespoon fish sauce
    1 teaspoon black soy sauce
    1 tablespoon oyster sauce
    2 tablespoons water
    1/2 cup holy basil leaves and flowers

    you do not need extra sugar as black soy sauce is sweet enough

  12. Thanks for this – We’ve just grown a great smelling pot full of Thai basil and were looking for a recipe to do it justice

    1. Hi Steve
      Enjoy its a classic dish…just be carefull with the Chillis if this is your first attempt..4-5 is usually ample…but obviously its according to how spicey you want..because they can be fiery little blighters..enjoy

      1. forgot to add !!!lucky you on the Basil,especially if its the Holy..which is the best for this dish…I cant get it anywhere,tried growing it and nah!!! dont want to know..

  13. I’m going to try this recipe today. I loved thai basil chicken when i visited bangkok and phuket. It looks simple to cook too! As for the 2-30+ thai small chillies, i think it’s a typo. I guess its meant to be 2-3+ chillies!

    1. Not a typo! I put in about 6-7 chilies – many of my friends put in more. It depends on how spicy your chilies are and how much you like the heat. I changed it to 2-10+, but you can really go as high as you want if you like spice!

Comments are closed.