Disclaimer: there seems to be a lot of talk on blogs about the authentic or traditional way of making a recipe when that recipe is outside of your cultural or ethnic “home”. This recipe has been constructed based on my own experiences in Thailand and nothing more. Despite the fact that the dish is named after Thai holy basil (bai kaprao), it can also be made with Thai sweet basil (bai horapa) which I experienced myself in Thailand, as it is very difficult to find Thai holy basil. Either way, this dish is full of amazing flavors and easy for first-timers to make!
So, which type of Thai basil do you have?
Now…moving on to the recipe! This was the very first dish we ate in Thailand. We had just traveled for 33 hours with very little sleep. After 3 flight changes, a 3 hour bus ride, and a short taxi ride, we arrived at our hotel ready to just sleep. So, we settled for eating at our hotel, which was really outside of my idea of a culturally immersive trip. However, sleep deprivation and hunger will certainly cause you to adjust your plans 😉 Luckily, our hotel had a fantastic chef who cooked authentic Thai cuisine (minus the peanut satay pizza lol.) They served the meals family-style, and we ordered three small dishes to share. I only remember two of them: the Thai larb salad, which inspired my own recipe, and the Pad Kaprao.
-1lb ground meat (I prefer pork or chicken)
-7-9 cloves of garlic, chopped
-7-9 Thai chilies, sliced at an angle
-1 large shallot or 1/4 red onion, fine chopped
-1 cup (about 20-30 whole leaves) of Thai basil
-3 tbsp soy sauce
-2 tbsp oyster sauce
-2 tbsp fish sauce
-3 tbsp peanut oil
-1 egg for each person
- Cook rice according to directions and set aside.
- Add 3 tbsp of peanut oil to wok or skillet (less if using fatty meat like pork or beef) and heat to medium. Add garlic, chilies and shallot; stir fry for 2 minutes. Add ground meat; crumble and stir fry until no longer pink.
- Add soy sauce, oyster sauce & fish sauce; stir fry for another 2 minutes. Add basil and stir fry for another minute, until leaves are barely wilted. Keep warm while you fry or poach an egg for each person. The most important thing about cooking the egg is that its yoke should remain runny.
- Serve the pad kaprao by placing a mound of rice on a plate. Top the rice with the egg. Spoon the pad kaprao beside the rice and egg.