top of page

How To Make The Easiest Thai Basil Pork (Pad Ka Prao)

If you want a dish that’s fast, tasty, and packed with flavor, Pad Ka Prao is the way to go. This is the version I like to make, it’s really easy to replicate, and it leverages ingredients that are available at any standard grocery store (in the us at least). The meat is totally up to you, but I really like ground pork in this. You could use ground chicken and it’d be just as good. This is basically ready in the time it takes to cook a pot of rice, here’s how I make it.

1 lb pork

3 serrano chiles (4 if you like spicy) 5 thai chiles if you can find them

7 garlic cloves

Around 1 oz basil

5 oz green beans

5 tsp fish sauce

1 tsp dark soy

1 tsp light soy

1 tsp oyster sauce

1 tsp sugar

squeeze of lime at the end

We’ll start this dish with a paste made from chilis and garlic. Remove the stem from your chiles and add those to your food processor along with 7 cloves of garlic. Blend that until completely broken down, but still a little bit chunky.

lime so we have a little cheek to squeeze on at the end, and begin work on your green beans. Take a handful, around 5oz and cut them into bite size pieces. Put these in a microwave safe dish, cause I’m lazy and this saves us a ton of time. Pop your beans into the microwave for a minute and a half; this will keep the beans slightly crisp but cook them enough so they’re no longer raw. This dish would often be made in a wok, but I don’t own one, so cast iron it is. Because of the size difference, the cast iron isn’t going to get hot enough to brown the pork and stir fry the beans. If I microwave them till just cooked, I can mix them in right at the end.

The last thing we need to prep is our basil, this is going to follow the trend of unconventional ingredients. The ka proa part of this dish translates to Holy Basil, which is also impossible to find near me. Regular basil apparently simulates the flavor better than Thai basil, which is great because this dish is the perfect use of leftover basil after a big week of spaghetti sauces. Take a small clamshell of basil and remove the stems, then rough chop the leaves. No need to get fancy, these are going to wilt in the heat of the pan.

The seasoning for the dish is centered around fish sauce, which is basically the essence of salty anchovy. Mix together 5 tsp of fish sauce with 1 tsp of dark soy, 1 tsp light soy, 1 tsp oyster sauce, and 1 tsp of sugar. With all of our prep done, we can put some jasmine rice on to cook. As always wash your rice till it runs clear and cook in a rice cooker with a 1 to 1 ratio. Add a large pinch of salt and you’ll be balling with some fluffy rice in 15-20 minutes. Grab your 1 lb of ground pork from the fridge and we can head to the stove.

To make up for the fact that we don’t have a wok, I’m gonna get this cast iron ripping hot. Let it sit over medium high heat for long enough to get almost as hot as you would want to sear a nice steak. Add in a good squeeze of cooking oil and add in your chili garlic paste. Keep your vent on high so you don’t pepper spray yourself, and keep them moving around the pan to make sure they don’t burn. Once the garlic has taken on a little color, add in your ground pork and begin breaking it up with a stiff spatula. The pork is going to need to release it’s water before we can get full browning, so keep it moving over your medium high heat. It’ll go from pink to grey, then the meat will release the water, then the water will cook off and it will start to brown. As long as your heat is high enough, this shouldn’t take too long.

Once you’re pork is browned to your liking, turn the heat down to low and pour in your sauce mix. You can also add your cooked green beans here and be sure to completely coat them in the saucy pork mix. Turn the heat off and add in your basil. The last piece of the puzzle will be to squeeze in your lime we cut earlier, and this is ready to go.

If you’re frying an egg, keep the pan over the warm stove until we’re ready to serve, but you can also just dive in with no egg. For a crispy fried egg, get a small fry pan over medium heat and add in enough oil to coat the bottom and then some. Crack in your eggs and they should sizzle and bubble right away. I like to baste my whites with the hot oil so I don’t get any snotty whites. Season these with salt and remove them from the pan.

For our plate up, lay down a bed of the beautifully fluffy jasmine rice. Spoon on your pad ka prao and add your crispy fried egg with the runny yolk. The complexity of this dish is beaten only by it’s ease. It’s spicy, it’s salty, it’s fast, and it's my new favorite weeknight banger. All the prep is done in minutes, and the cook barely takes any longer.



Hey, I'm Cameron, and I'm glad you're here. I post new recipes every week, all intended to build your confidence in the kitchen, each one with video tutorials to help. Craving something specific? Drop me a note in my contact form! 

  • Youtube
  • TikTok
  • Instagram
  • Amazon
bottom of page