Pad Kapow (Spicy Thai Basil Stir-Fry)

Pad Krapow, Pad Kapow, Pad Gra Pow, Phat Kaphrao or how-ever the hell you want to spell it, is just minced meat, sometimes fish, fried with basil garlic and chillies. Super simple and super easy, a great way to start off your Thai cooking journey.

Whenever I'd come home I'd always get my mother to cook me this dish, with rice and a fried egg it always made me, young chubs thing JP so happy. What more can you ask for? Meaty, spicy and fragrant. I'm not good at explaining these things sorry, so I'll just go straight to the recipe.


(This will most likely serve 2 people.)

Minced Meat/ Ground Meat- About 500g should be okay, any mince is fine I like using Pork, Beef and Chicken are both fine too even Lamb if you vibe the smell and flavour, you could even use fish apparently but I've never done that.

Lots of Garlic- Probably a whole head if that's what it's called.

Chillis I always use Birds Eye chillis- Use as many as you like. You know what you can handle, but don't go around thinking you're a Bangkok Bad Boy and throwing in like 20 chillis then acting all surprised when your body starts rejecting the culture at 2 in the morning, there's nothing worse, trust me I've been there.

Lemongrass- About 1 or 2 sticks will do depending on how much you like it.

Holy or Thai Basil- If you can find it fresh then use probably a handful of leaves, it's hard to gauge. If you can't find it fresh then use the frozen cubes that can be found in most Asian supermarkets, use 2 cubes. If you cant find Holy basil or Thai basil at all you can just use any other basil it's no biggie but it just won't be the same :(

Dark Soy Sauce- 1tbsp

Sugar- 1tbsp

Oil- 2tbsp

Light Soy Sauce- 2tbsp


1. Start by peeling the head garlic. It's an annoying job and what I usually just do is crush it then the skin comes straight off, it doesn't really matter that we're crushing it because we're going to chop it anyway.

2. Cut the stem off the chillis and roughing chop them up but not too finely.

3. Cut the lemongrass in half and roughly chop that too.

4. Combine the lemongrass, chilli and garlic and start mincing them all together until they're all roughly the same size pieces, put it into a bowl and it's time to cook!

5. On medium heat pour your oil and add the mixture we minced earlier, don't fry too much just gently heat up until fragrant.

6. Before everything starts crisping up and browning add the meat, turn the heat up to mid/high and begin stir-frying until the minced pork has cooked.

7. Now it's time to add everything else, pour the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, a spoon of sugar and keep stir-frying.

8. Now depending on what kind of basil you bought this can go either way. If you bought the frozen basil put the cubes in and keep stir-frying until they've defrosted and you can smell the basil-y aroma. If you have fresh basil which I recommend getting then turn off the heat and add your basil leaves no stems they're way too firm and give it a little toss and you're done.

9. Serve with rice and a fried egg and you're done!