Our original Thai pad krapow omelette rice bowl recipe makes our idea of a Thai style donburi – donburi means ‘rice bowl’ and the popular dish consists of a generous topping, often an omelette, on a bed of rice in a bowl. Like pad krapow or pad kra pao, stir-fried basil and ground meat served with rice and a fried egg, it’s an affordable workers fast-food meal.
Our long-running series Weekend Eggs, on egg dishes from around the world, is back after a brief hiatus and our first recipe of the new series is our original Thai pad krapow omelette rice bowl recipe, which will make you what we’re calling a Thai style donburi.
In Japanese, donburi means ‘rice bowl’ and Japanese rice bowls consist of a generous topping on a bed of rice in a bowl. Eggs are usually involved – typically served soft-scrambled atop the rice – as they are with Thai pad krapow, where a fried egg is often plopped on top of the dish.
Thai pad krapow, also written as pad kra pao, is a Thai street food dish of stir-fried basil with ground pork, chicken or beef, that’s served alongside steamed rice. While the egg is optional, it’s a popular choice and a must as far as we’re concerned.
Now if you’ve arrived here for the first time, we started Weekend Eggs back in 2010 when we launched Grantourismo with a yearlong global grand tour aimed at promoting slow, local and experiential travel, more sustainable, ethical, engaging, and immersive forms of travel.
On that 12-month trip we spent two weeks in each destination, staying in apartment rentals and holiday homes to get an insight into how locals lived, and in each place we settled, we explored the local food, connected with local cooks, and learnt to make local specialties which we shared in two series called The Dish and Weekend Eggs.
If you’re an eggs lover and particularly a lover of breakfast eggs dishes, we encourage you to dig into our Weekend Eggs archive (link above) for inspiration and ideas. Or browse some of our Weekend Eggs collections, such as these 23 Weekend Eggs dishes from around the world to cook in 2023, our 22 most popular egg recipes from Weekend Eggs in 2022, and our best Asian omelette recipes seeing that’s what we’ve got you making this weekend.
Now before I tell you more about our original Thai pad krapow omelette rice bowl recipe for a Thai donburi, we have a favour to ask. Grantourismo is reader-supported. If you’ve cooked our recipes and enjoyed them, please consider supporting Grantourismo by supporting our epic Cambodian cuisine history and cookbook on Patreon, which you can do for as little as the price of a coffee.
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Now let me tell you more about our Thai pad krapow omelette rice bowl recipe for what we’ve called a Thai donburi.
Pad Krapow Omelette Rice Bowl Recipe for a Thai Style Donburi
Our Thai pad krapow omelette rice bowl recipe makes what Lara and I have called a Thai style donburi. We adore Japanese rice bowls, as regular readers would know. We also love Thai pad krapow or pad kra pao, stir-fried basil and ground pork (or chicken or beef) served with rice and a fried egg, which is a mid-week meal we have on repeat.
Both Japanese donburi and Thai pad krapow are favourite dishes of workers looking for an affordable quick meal for breakfast, lunch or a snack, although they’re also comfort food dishes as much as fast food, and are also cooked at home.
Two of the most popular donburi are katsudon and oyakodon, both of which consist of eggs served atop a bowl of rice, and we have recipes for you for both dishes.
Oyakodon is called a ‘chicken and egg rice bowl’ as it consists of silky soft scrambled eggs with sweet spring onions and tender chicken simmered in dashi, served atop a bowlful of steamed Japanese rice.
Katsudon consists of crunchy tonkatsu, a Japanese pork cutlet, cooked in eggs and spring onions, served atop a bowl of rice and sprinkled with slices of scallions.
And we’ve got a link to a traditional Thai pad kra pao recipe below. Just a few tips to how to make our Thai pad krapow omelette rice bowl recipe for a Thai style donburi.
Tips to Making this Pad Krapow Omelette Rice Bowl Recipe for a Thai Style Donburi
I only have a few quick tips to making our Thai pad krapow omelette rice bowl recipe for what we’re calling a Thai style donburi, although no tips for making the pad krapow component as we have a full pad kra pao recipe here with helpful tips.
While the inspiration for our Thai donburi was the Japanese egg rice bowl dishes such as katsudon and oyakodon, where you have a soft Japanese omelette atop a bowl of rice, the omelette I’ve created for our pad krapow omelette rice bowl lies somewhere between that style of omelette and a thick Italian frittata or Spanish tortilla in terms of texture.
I use a small but high-sided non-stick pan for this Thai pad krapow omelette rice bowl recipe and this pan is essential to the success of the dish.
The pan has these dimensions: the rim is 20cm (8″) in diameter, the narrow base is 14cm (5.5″), and it’s 6cm (2.35″) deep.
We bought the pan here in Cambodia, and I couldn’t find the same brand on Amazon for you, but it looks like the small pan in this OXO Good Grips pan set.
Also this small egg nonstick frying pan looks like it would be good to use for this dish and other omelettes, as well as scrambled eggs.
Before starting to cook this recipe, note that there is a little trick to it. You need to flip the omelette, which I know scares the average weekend cook. Flipping the omelette onto a plate is risky, as the omelette will not be fully set when you flip it.
So I came up with the idea of placing a large noodle soup bowl over the pan – one that just fits snugly in the pan – and then inverting the pan and bowl (over the kitchen bench, not the stove!).
And that’s when Lara came up with the idea for our Thai pad krapow omelette rice bowl recipe. It was while watching me flip my thick omelette into a Japanese noodle soup bowl, just as I would if I was making a Japanese donburi – only that evening I was cooking my Thai pad kra pao recipe.
With the omelette now in the bowl, it’s just a matter of sliding it back into the pan and back on the heat for a couple minutes to finish it off. The steamed rice then goes into the bowl, and the omelette goes on top of that, followed by a few scoops of Thai pad krapow and some garnish.
While you’ll often see two bowls in our Japanese donburi recipes, this is a very filling dish and one bowl can easily feed two people.
Pad Krapow Omelette Rice Bowl Recipe for a Thai Style Donburi
- 2 cups jasmine rice steamed
- 300 g minced pork or chicken or beef
- 5 garlic cloves peeled
- 2 long red chillies
- 4 bird's eye chillies
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil or rendered pork fat
- 100 g long beans cut into 4 cm (1 1/2 inch) pieces
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp fish sauce more to taste
- 1 handful holy basil leaves
- 8 large eggs
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp Prik Nam Pla (recipe below)
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 whole lime juiced
- 2 bird's eye chillies sliced
- 1 garlic clove peeled and crushed into small pieces
- In a mortar and pestle, pound the chillis into a paste. Add the garlic and incorporate well.
- Make the sauce by combining all the ingredients well.
- Mix the prik nam pla sauce in a serving bowl.
- In a well-seasoned wok over medium-high heat, add the oil and the chilli and garlic paste and stir fry until aromatic – do not let the garlic burn. Add the long bean pieces.
- Add the mince and stir-fry until cooked through, breaking up any clumps with a stiff wire whisk.
- Add the sauce and mix well until the sauce starts to thicken. Check for seasoning and add extra fish sauce as needed. Take off the heat and a few basil leaves.
- As the mix cools a little, mix through the rest of the basil.
Thai Style Omelette
- Heat the oil in a small but deep saucepan (see recipe tips for details).
- Break the eggs into a bowl and stir in a tablespoon of the prik nam pla dressing until well incorporated.
- When the oil is almost at smoking point over medium-high heat, carefully add the egg mixture. Leave the eggs to settle until they start to set on the sides of the pan.
- Using a silicone spatula, lift a side of the omelette away from the pan and tilt the pan to let the runny egg mixture go from the top of the omelette to fill in the base of the omelette. Continue to do this around the rim of the omelette until there is no runny mixture left on top the omelette.
- When the omelette starts to sizzle, that means it's beginning to brown on the bottom and the omelette is now set enough to flip over. Take the omelette off the heat and over a bench and using a noodle soup bowl (see the tips) on top of the pan, flip the pan over so the omelette is now in the bowl.
- Slide the omelette back into the pan and and back on the heat for a couple minutes to finish it off.
- Add the rice to a large bowl and keep the pad krapow warm.
- Remove the omelette from the pan and slice into six pieces.
- Using a fish slice, place the omelette pieces into the bowl with the rice. Spoon over the pad krapow and garnish with a few extra basil leaves.
- Serve with the prik nam pla and some Sriracha sauce.
Please do let us know in the comments below if you make our Thai pad krapow omelette rice bowl recipe for a Thai donburi as we’d love to know how it turns out for you.
Peter P says
Wow! What a great idea. A combo of two of my favourite things. Made it for brunch this morning. That omelette idea is killer. And we have pad grapow leftovers!
Lara Dunston says
Hi Peter, thank you, and so pleased to hear this! And thanks for dropping by to let us know!