Authentic Thai Basil Chicken Recipe
For the fried egg
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons of oil for frying
For the basil chicken
- 1 chicken breast (or any other cut of boneless chicken, about 200 grams)
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 4 – 10 Thai chillies – when you fry the chillies, they aren’t as spicy
- 1 tablespoon oil for frying
- 1 teaspoon of oyster sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce
- 1 splash of dark sweet soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 handful of Thai holy basil leaves
Time: About 30 minutes or less
Recipe size: 1 plate meal, and to be honest, it tastes best when cooked in a single portion. You could multiply this recipe a few times to make enough for a few people at once, or you could make individual portions.
Utensils: wok, frying pan
Flavours: Salty stir fry, complete meal deal, fragrant from the chillies, garlic, and holy basil
Eat it with: Pad kra pao gai (ผัดกระเพราไก่) is normally eaten on top of a pile of plain steamed jasmine rice with a fried egg on the side.
(First, fry the egg)
- Heat about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok or frying pan on high-medium heat.
- When the oil is hot and sizzling, drop in the egg. Let it sizzle and bubble up, and at the same time, splash some of the hot oil onto the top of the egg (don’t flip the egg, unless you really want to).
- After the egg looks about right to your cooked likeness (I like mine runny), take it out, drain the excess oil, and put it on a plate for later.
- Cut the chicken into small bite-sized pieces.
- Rinse and peel the garlic and chillies, and pound them in a mortar and pestle (alternatively, you can just mince them with a knife). They don’t need to be super fine, you just want to bring out the oils and flavours from the garlic and chillies.
- Pluck a good-sized handful of holy basil leaves off the stems.
- Now it’s time to start cooking. Heat your wok on high heat, and add about 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan.
- When the oil is hot, add the chillies and garlic. Stir fry them for about 20 seconds or so until they get really fragrant, but don’t let them burn or get too dry.
- Toss in your chicken. Keep stir-frying continuously. At this stage, you want to continue to stir and cook your chicken until it’s just about fully cooked all the way through (depending on the size pieces of chicken and how hot your fire is, it should take about 2 – 3 minutes). If it starts to get dry, add just a tiny splash of water.
- Add 1 teaspoon of oyster sauce, ½ teaspoon light soy sauce, ½ teaspoon sugar, and finally a splash of dark soy sauce. Keep stir-frying for about another 30 seconds.
- Grab a handful of holy basil, toss it into the pan, fold it into the chicken, and then immediately turn off the heat (if you’re using an electric stove, you’ll want to remove the pan from the burner). The holy basil really only needs to cook for about 5 seconds, and it will continue to wilt and cook from the existing heat of the chicken. This step is important because if you cook the basil for too long, it loses some of its glorious flavours and gets slightly chewy.
Make sure your rice is cooked and ready to be served before you start cooking… believe me on this one because there’s nothing more disappointing than finishing a pan of pad kra pao gai (ผัดกระเพราไก่) only to realize your rice isn’t cooked yet! Remember that the ingredients listed here are just a guide – they are the amounts I used – but you should really taste test all the Thai food you cook and make it according to the way you like it!