This Thai pad kra pao recipe for stir fried pork and holy basil with fried egg is a breakfast staple of street food stalls all over Thailand. A paste of chilli and garlic is combined with ground pork, a rich sauce and holy basil. Topped with a fried egg and served with prik nam pla and jasmine rice, it’s a filling breakfast dish and a Thai street food favourite.
Our Thai stir-fried minced pork with holy basil recipe makes a staple of street food stalls in Thailand. A garlic and chilli paste is mixed with pork mince and a rich sauce before being served with fragrant and refreshing Thai holy basil and a fried egg. To top it off, a classic Thai condiment, prik nam pla, further enhances the flavour of this popular Thai street food dish when served with steamed jasmine rice.
This Thai pad kra pao recipe is very versatile. Thai holy basil is essential – that’s the ‘kra pao’ in the title, also written as ‘kra pow’ and ‘gaphrao’, while ‘pad’ or ‘phat’ is ‘stir-fried’ – however, you could easily use ground beef or chicken mince, and you can crank up the heat if you like things hot or serve a more gently spiced stir-fry if you prefer.
A Thai food favourite with locals and foreigners alike, our Thai pad kra pao recipe for stir fried pork and holy basil with fried egg is this weekend’s recipe in our Weekend Eggs series on recipes for quintessential breakfast eggs dishes around the world, which we launched with Grantourismo well over a decade ago and recently re-booted.
If you haven’t visited us in a while, recipes recently published in our rejuvenated breakfast eggs series include a classic Mexican huevos rancheros, a Mexican migas recipe with a twist for a ‘Migas tortilla’, fried eggs breakfast taco with chorizo, crunchy potatoes and spicy chorizo oil, scrambled eggs breakfast taco recipe with avocado and chorizo, Basque fried eggs with chorizo and potatoes recipe for ‘messy eggs’, Mexico City-inspired chorizo eggs, Thai fried egg salad recipe for yam khai dao, and pesto scrambled eggs, and a Japanese rolled omelette recipe for tamagoyaki.
We’ve also published recipes for scrambled eggs with sauteed mushrooms on sourdough, soft scrambled eggs with Chinese pork and chives, Indian egg bhurji, Chinese marbled tea eggs, corn fritter breakfast burgers, Russian devilled eggs, Turkish çılbır poached eggs and menemen scrambled eggs, Calabria’s take on ‘eggs in purgatory’ with ’nduja, Thai son-in-law eggs, Thai omelette kai jiaw, Cambodian steamed eggs, and Malaysia and Singapore’s half-boiled eggs with kaya jam and toast.
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Thai Pad Kra Pao Recipe for Stir Fried Ground Pork and Holy Basil with Fried Egg
A much-loved Thai food dish, pad kra pao is thought to be a recent addition to Thai cuisine, with this stir fried pork and holy basil with fried egg having only appeared on the streets of Thailand as recently as 50 years ago.
In its original form, this Thai pad kra pao recipe was made using beef mince, contained oyster sauce, and was cooked over a very hot seasoned wok, perhaps pointing to it being Chinese in origin.
These days, Thai pad kra pao is made with minced beef, pork or chicken depending on the vendor. We prefer ground pork because of the fat content, but if a stall uses freshly chopped chicken thighs, this can be fantastic as well.
If made with ground beef it’s best done with a fatty cut and best cut by hand at the stall with two cleavers.
While most Thai people like their pad kra pao hot – and heat it up by adding more bird’s eye chillies to the mortar and pestle – you can reduce the heat if you like, by either using just one bird’s eye chilli or using medium sized chillies, which carry less heat.
Although this Thai pork and holy basil stir-fry with fried egg is more of a breakfast or mid-morning snack, we were making pad kra pao at night during the recent hard lockdown here in Siem Reap, because we seemed to have an endless supply of frozen ground pork and chicken mince in the freezer, and it’s such an easy dinner dish.
We’d make a plate of pad kra pao and a Thai omelette and serve the pork and holy basil stir-fry with steamed rice and prik nam pla – the classic Thai condiment of fish sauce, chillies, lime juice, and garlic. Unbeatable.
Tips for Making this Pad Kra Pao Recipe for Stir Fried Pork with Holy Basil and Fried Egg
Just a few tips for making this Thai pad kra pao recipe for stir fried pork mince with holy basil and fried egg. Firstly, whichever kind of mince you use, you need a reasonable percentage of fat – at least 10% or so pork fat to cook the mince in. Most Thai stalls make their own mince but mince from a butcher is fine.
Secondly, a seasoned carbon steel wok is essential to get the mince a little smoky, which will help give your pad kra pao that authentic Thai flavour. You want the wok over pretty high heat for this. As this stir-fry cooks very quickly it’s best to mix your sauce and condiments beforehand and have your steamed rice ready to go.
Thirdly, when the pork mince has finished cooking, let it cool down a little before adding the basil leaves, as they don’t taste great if they’ve all turned black. We always fry off our eggs after the mince is done, before stirring in the basil just before plating up.
And a quick note: some recipes for this Thai food favourite don’t call for oyster sauce, instead using a dark soy sauce. We have tried making this stir-fry with all kinds of variations, but we prefer this Thai pad kra pao recipe with oyster sauce.
Thai Pad Kra Pao Recipe
- 300 g minced pork chicken or beef
- 5 garlic cloves peeled
- 2 long red chillies
- 4 bird's eye chillies
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil or rendered pork fat
- ½ cup long beans cut into 4 cm (1 1/2 inch) pieces
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp fish sauce to taste
- 2 tbsp stock or water
- 1 handful holy basil leaves
Prik Nam Pla
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 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.
- Fry the eggs to your liking, we like our yolks soft.
- As they cook, mix through the rest of the basil.
- Serve on plates with a good scoop of steamed jasmine rice. Place the mince mix on top and then the egg.
- Pour over some prik nam pla on the egg and serve.
Please do let us know in the comments below if you make this Thai pad kra pao recipe for stir fried pork and holy basil with fried egg as we’d love to know how it turns out for you.