This pad kra pao udon noodles recipe makes a deliciously inauthentic noodle dish of Japanese udon noodles stir-fried with Thai pad kra pao, a popular Thai street food dish of stir-fried ground meat and holy basil, typically topped with a fried egg and served with steamed rice. A breakfast staple in Thailand, our pad kra pao with udon makes a fantastic all-day dish.
If you’re a lover of Thai pad kra pao – transliterated more correctly as pad ka phrao, but popularly written as pad krapow and pad grapao – you’ll enjoy this pad kra pao udon noodles recipe, as well as Terence’s recipe for pad kra pao Scotch eggs and our original Thai pad krapow omelette rice bowl recipe, which makes our idea of a Thai style donburi or Japanese rice bowl.
You’ll especially enjoy this udon pad kra pao if you’re a lover of Japanese udon noodles, those delightfully thick, dense, chewy wheat noodles used to make yaki udon, the classic Japanese noodle dish of stir-fried udon with vegetables in a soy-based sauce. Udon lovers should also see our breakfast yaki udon with bacon and eggs.
This pad kra pao udon noodles recipe makes a spicy all-day noodle dish that comes together quickly and is perfect for a casual weekend breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. It’s a Thai-Japanese fusion dish that I concocted from leftovers that is a completely inauthentic yet incredibly delicious: I love the way the soft egg yolk clings to the noodles.
My pad kra pao udon noodles recipe is our latest edition of Weekend Eggs, our 14 year-old series on eggs dishes from around the world – both egg recipes made with eggs, and recipes with eggs, such as these dishes that are even better with a fried egg on top. If you’re not a fan of fried eggs, you could pop some jammy soft boiled eggs on top.
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Pad Kra Pao Udon Noodles Recipe for a Deliciously Inauthentic Noodle Dish
Our pad kra pao udon noodles recipe will make you a spicy all-day noodle dish that comes together quickly and is perfect for a casual weekend breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. It’s a Thai-Japanese fusion dish that I concocted from leftovers that is a completely inauthentic yet incredibly delicious: I love the way the pork mince and soft egg yolk cling to the noodles.
This pad kra pao udon noodles recipe is one of my what-can-I-do-with-these-leftovers inventions that I end up turning into recipes. But that doesn’t mean that I’m assuming that you’re like us and eat pad kra pao every week.
Thai pad kra pao is one of our easy weeknight dishes that we have on repeat, but rarely do we ever have pad kra pao leftovers – so for your convenience, as much as our own, I’ve provided a pad kra pao recipe within this recipe. Just a few tips to making this pad kra pao udon noodles recipe.
Tips to Making This Pad Kra Pao Udon Noodles Recipe
One of my first tips to making this pad kra pao udon noodles recipe is to first prepare the prik nam pla, a classic dipping sauce from Thailand, found all over Southeast Asia. Prik nam pla is a mix of fish sauce, lime juice, chopped bird’s eye chillies, and garlic, and if you make it first, it gives the flavours time to meld together.
If you don’t have any Thai pad kra pao leftovers in the fridge, then I recommend next making this classic Thai street food dish of stir-fried holy basil with ground meat – minced beef, chicken or pork can be used, but we prefer minced pork.
There are two stages to making a classic pad kra pao or three stages if you’re sliding a fried egg on top. First you’ll prepare the pad kra pao sauce, which is simply a mix of oyster sauce, soy sauce (I’ve left the kind of soy sauce up to you, but Terence likes to use a mix of light soy sauce and dark soy sauce), fish sauce, and a little stock.
While some Thai pad kra pao recipes also call for ingredients such as long beans or onions, it’s really up to the cook what they include, but holy basil is absolutely essential. The name of this dish is stir-fried holy basil, after all. There’s actually no ground meat in the title of this street food classic.
We like to include long beans, also called snake beans, but if you can’t source them, you could use French beans, or skip the beans entirely. Holy basil is a must, but again, if you can’t get hold of any, you could use Thai basil. Just don’t tell your Thai friends!
When it comes to stir-frying the pad kra pao, we use this round flat bottomed wok, which is non-stick and light-weight for stir-frying most things, as we can’t get high enough heat for a carbon-steel wok.
When made by Thai street food cooks, after the holy basil is stirred through the noodles, the optional fried egg is cooked over high heat and plopped on top.
In the case of our pad kra pao udon noodles recipe, before you fry your eggs, you’ll need to prep your udon noodles, stir-fry the noodles with the pad kra pao, and plate the noodles before frying your eggs and sliding a fried egg on top of each plate of noodles.
To prep the udon noodles, follow the instructions on the packet. Some instructions will advise boiling the noodles first, however, for fried udon noodle dishes such as this, they typically suggest frying the udon noodles directly from their packet.
If the noodles are hard, you could fill a large bowl with warm water and soak the brick of udon noodles to loosen the noodle strands so that they easily untangle. If vacuum-packed, the udon should easily separate in a few minutes. If frozen, the noodles will take longer to thaw so that they can easily be pulled apart. Make sure to drain the noodles well.
We use fresh udon noodles, which we can easily buy locally thanks to a significant population of Japanese and Korean expats. If the noodles are soft, I’ll empty them straight into the wok and stir-fry them gently until the noodles separate easily before adding the pad kra pao.
When it comes to the eggs, Terence prefers the Thai-style crispy fried eggs, pictured, and he’ll share a recipe for those soon. I love just-cooked fried eggs, with whites cooked and yolks soft.
If, like me, you also prefer your fried eggs to be perfectly round, try this cute little single non-stick egg frying pan. If you’re going for boiled eggs instead of fried eggs, see Terence’s guide for boiling eggs perfectly every time.
Pad Kra Pao Udon Noodles Recipe
Prik Nam Pla
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 lime - juiced
- 2 bird's eye chillies - sliced
- 1 garlic clove - peeled, pounded and chopped into small pieces
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp fish sauce - to taste
- 2 tbsp stock - or water
Pad Kra Pao
- 2 long red chillies
- 4 bird's eye chillies
- 5 garlic cloves - peeled
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil or rendered pork fat
- 300 g minced pork or chicken or beef
- ½ cup long beans - cut into 4 cm (1 1/2 inch) pieces
- 1 handful fresh holy basil leaves
- 400 g udon noodles
- 2 eggs
- More fresh basil leaves
- First make the prik nam pla: to a small dish, add two tablespoons of fish sauce, the juice of one lime, two sliced bird's eye chillies, and the chopped garlic, stir to combine, then set aside so the flavours can meld together.
- Next make the sauce: to a small bowl, add one tablespoon of oyster sauce, one tablespoon of soy sauce, two teaspoons of fish sauce (or to taste) and two tablespoons of stock or water, stir the ingredients together well then set aside.
- In a mortar and pestle, pound the chillies into a paste, add the garlic and continue to pound, incorporating it well, then set aside.
- To a well-seasoned wok over medium-high, add the oil and heat, then add the chilli and garlic paste you just made, and stir fry until aromatic, taking care not to let the garlic burn.
- Add the long bean pieces, stir-fry, then add the pork mince and stir-fry until cooked through, breaking up any clumps with a stiff wire whisk. Add the sauce and stir to combine well until the whole mixture starts to thicken. Taste for seasoning and add extra fish sauce if needed. Remove from the heat and add half the holy basil leaves.
- To a large bowl of warm water, add the brick of fresh udon noodles and soak to loosen the strands of noodles so they can easily be untangled. If vacuum-packed, the noodles should easily separate in 2-3 minutes. Drain the noodles.
- Transfer the udon noodles to the wok, return the wok to the heat, gently stir to well-combine the noodles with the saucy minced pork and basil, then remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a separate pan, fry the eggs to your liking. While the eggs are cooking, mix the rest of the basil through the saucy pork mince, saving a couple of basil leaves for garnishing.
- Divide the pad kra pao udon noodles between two serving plates or bowls. Slide a fried egg onto each, spoon some prik nam pla onto the eggs and noodles, garnish with fresh basil leaves, and serve with a dish on prik nam pla, red Thai chillies, and fresh basil.
Please do let us know in the comments below if you make our pad kra pao udon noodles recipe, as we’d love to hear how the dish turns out for you.