Stir-Fried Thai Chicken with Basil (Pad Gra Pow Gai)

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IngredientsStir-Fried Thai Chicken with Basil (Pad Gra Pow Gai)

  • 1 lb. boneless chicken thighs, coarsely chopped, or cut into small bite-size pieces
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2-3 shallots, thinly sliced (or substitute with 1/2 cup sliced onion)
  • 2-3 tbsp. peanut oil for stir-frying
  • 2 tsp black soy sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp. Thai fish sauce (nam bplah), to taste (Golden Boy brand is recommended)
  • 1 cup fresh Thai holy basil (bai gka-prow), or substitute with: 1/4 cup dried holy basil, soaked to soften plus 1/2 to 1 cup fresh Thai sweet basil (bai horapa)
  • 2 small kaffir lime leaves (bai ma-gkrood), very finely slivered (optional)
  • 5-10 Thai chilies (prik kee noo), chopped and pounded with a mortar and pestle; or 2-3 fresh jalapeno or Fresno peppers, cut into large slivers
  • Dash of ground white pepper


  1. Prepare the ingredients as indicated.
  2. Leave the fresh basil leaves whole; the flowers may also be used. The dried holy basil will soften when soaked in tap water for 10-15 minutes. Pull off and discard the hard stems. Drain.
  3. Heat a wok until the surface is smoking hot.
  4. Swirl in the oil to coat the wok surface. Wait a few seconds for the oil to heat.
  5. Stir in the garlic, followed a few seconds later with shallots. Stir another few seconds before adding the chicken.
  6. Stir-fry a minute or two, or until most of the chicken has started to change color on the outside and is no longer pink.
  7. Toss in the chilies, slivered kaffir lime leaves and reconstituted dried holy basil (if using). 20 seconds.
  8. Add fresh basil leaves and fish sauce to taste. Stir and mix well.
  9. Stir-fry another half a minute, or until the basil is wilted and the chicken is cooked through.

Sprinkle with white pepper. Stir and transfer to a serving dish, or spoon directly over individual plates of plain steamed rice.


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