Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Thai Stir Fry Beef with Basil.

If people were to ask me to name my favourite Thai dish, Pad Krapow (stir fry with holy basil) would be it. Not only is it quick and easy to make but it also tastes great. What's best about Pad Krapow is that you can make it with any kind of meat you have in hand be it chicken, beef and even seafood like prawns and scallops.

The type of basil used is mentioned in the name itself, which is holy basil (Bai Krapow). If you, like me, have difficulty getting hold of this herb, then you can substitute it with Thai sweet basil (Bai Horapa), though if this is the case, then what you'll be making is in essence, Pad Horapa (stir fry with Thai sweet basil). A Thai friend once told me that if you're going to utilize a different type of basil than the one called for in the recipe,then the name of the dish should be changed too following the kind of basil used, as each bears a taste, which is distinct from the rest. This might not be obvious to us, but trust me, the Thais can tell.

While they may come from the same family, Thai holy basil has a more pronounced taste when used in cooking compared to Thai sweet basil. That said, Pad Horapa is equally delicious, though less intense in flavour.

To make this stir fry dish for 2, what you need to do first is heat about 5 tablespoons of oil in a wok over medium heat. Once hot, throw in about 8 cloves of garlic (chopped finely) and some bird's eye chillies. The amount of chillies used depends on how hot you want this dish to be. I would usually throw about 5 thinly sliced chillies in mine.

Once fragrant, put in the meat of your choice (about 300 grams). I used minced beef for mine. Alternatively, you can use sliced beef if you want. I've always preferred minced beef. Makes it easier on the chewing.

Stir until the beef is cooked (it should be brown in colour), before adding some oyster sauce and fish sauce (about 2 tablespoons each), a teaspoon of sugar and a splash or two of soy sauce for a little colour. At this stage, you can also add some chicken stock if you want. There's no point in telling you how much to use as chicken stock comes in many forms, each with its own direction. Start with a little stock, add more if necessary. Lastly, turn off the heat before throwing in a handful of basil. Stir, then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Serve it on top of a bowl/plate of steaming jasmine rice alongside a slice of lime and a fried egg, sunny side up preferably the egg yolk still runny (this is a must if you want to experience the delicious effect of the whole dish)


  1. looks really yummy. my friend made something like this but with ''rebung''. Don't know what rebung is in English. Btw, what is holy basil in bahasa?

  2. rebung- bamboo shoot.

    Thai sweet basil- daun selasih.

    Holy basil- kemangi.

  3. Love this simple stir fry dish! Yours look perfect with the fried egg.

  4. your photos make me wanna drool. loving the end product. now i think i'll make that for the weekend too!!!!

    congratulations on the baby btw!

  5. nak..kak julie msak la bnyk2 kami dtg nnt huhu..

  6. mcm nak rase..
    kak juli masak weekend niee kami dtg..