Thai Basil Chicken (Gai Pad Krapow)

July 23, 2010 by Ali

Every week that I’ve been at the market this summer and passed by the bunches of fresh, vivid, and wonderfully fragrant Thai basil…I crave this dish. YUM!

Basil chicken has long been a favorite of mine. (Which I must say is a little odd for me, since I’m not usually drawn to plain meat dishes.) But there’s something about the simplicity of the dish, highlighting its namesake ingredients, that I absolutely love. So flavorful, and so delicious!

The good news is that this dish is also super quick, simple, and affordable (my three favorite things!) to make at home. You can serve it however you’d like — with rice, or over noodles, or even in as lettuce wraps. It’s easily a 30-minute meal (or less!). And get ready — it makes your house smell amazing. :-)

So grab a bunch (ha…literally!) of Thai basil, and give it a go!!

Thai Basil Chicken (Gai Pad Krapow)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 2-3 servings


  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 “bird's eye” chilies, minced with seeds (use more/less to taste)
  • 2 shallots (or 1 small onion), diced
  • 10 oz. chicken (thigh or breast meat), ground or finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 big bunch Thai basil leaves, stems removed
  • 2 dashes ground white pepper


Heat a wok or a heavy skillet over medium high heat until very hot. Add the oil, garlic and chilies and stir fry until until the garlic is very fragrant. Add the shallots (or onions) and continue stir frying until the onions have wilted. Add the ground chicken and fry until the chicken is cooked.

Stir in the fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar and white pepper. (I'd add the white pepper in gradually - it can easily overpower if you add too much!) If your pan was hot enough you should not have any liquid at the bottom of the pan, but if you do, continue cooking until the liquid is gone. Add the basil and toss a couple of time until the leaves are wilted and bright green.

Serve immediately.

Ali’s tip:

Feel free to serve this with jasmine rice, noodles, or in iceberg lettuce leaves (for lettuce wraps).

filed in Chicken, Entrees

About Ali

Ali Ebright is a freelance recipe developer and food writer/photographer, and blogs at Gimme Some Oven and Gimme Some Life. She also loves all things music, traveling near and far, actually making things from Pinterest, cozying up with a good book and her sweet pup, Henry, and spending time with a wonderful group of friends. Come say hello and follow Ali on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ & Instagram.

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22 thoughts on “Thai Basil Chicken (Gai Pad Krapow)

  1. I tried this last night with tiger prawns and added green bell pepper and it was deeeeeeelicious!! I like some sauce with my food so I didn’t let it dry out. Thank you so much for sharing.

    - mickey

  2. Sounded fabulous until I read “add fish sauce”. Is there anyway around adding the fish sauce. Unfortunately I have such a mental block that I could never try it knowing that. What can I substitute it with … if anything?

    - Jennifer Crosby

    • I know it sounds gross but it tastes like a really light soy sauce and not fishy at all. I don’t think the dish would tase the same without it.

      - mickey

  3. This is what I ate nearly every day for lunch while in Thailand…love it

    - Graham

  4. I love to make this dish with bamboo shoots, carrots, and sweet onions.

    - Krystina

  5. Just made this. Turned out beautifully, tasted great. Used regular basil and instead of ground or chunked chicken, used very thinly sliced beef.

    - Moondog

  6. Thank you for your content. and i like thai chili

    - Wilma Tyron

  7. i almost threw up when i heard there was fish sauce in there because i hate fish, pretty much anything that lives under the water, but i still eat it because it’s absolutely delicious.

    - kayla

  8. oh forgot one..used anaheim peppers instead of birds eye–couldn’t find birds eye even at the “fancy” grocery store–where do you get them?

    - moe

  9. Made it tonight. So good. I’m trying to use whatever’s in my house and avoid the store so I ended up using oyster sauce instead of fish sauce, italian basil instead of thai, and black pepper instead of white. So probably didn’t taste as good as yours but it was still fantastic, and I will make it again for sure! Also, Toby referred to it as a “real man food”, which is a really good sign. ;) thanks!

    - moe

  10. Basil is one of my favorite herbs. I am sure I’d love this chicken… In fact, I’m craving it right now!

    - Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction

  11. mm. this is my kind of dish. i’m going to try it this week with the purple basil i got at the market today–not sure how that compares to thai basil but let’s go with it. Also can I substitute oyster or hoisin sauce for fish sauce?

    - moe

  12. This looks absolutely AMAZING. yum!

    I’ve bookmarked it, maybe I’ll treat the bf to this delicious dish sometime soon. :)

    - amie

  13. Oops! Thanks Heather & Nicole — forgot to mention that I did end up using chunks of chicken instead of ground. (The selection of ground at the store that week didn’t look so good!) Although, and you can’t totally tell by the picture, they’re actually cut up super small.

    Feel free to use whatever chicken you’d like!

    - ali

  14. That doesn’t look like ground chicken in the picture? Was there a typo?

    - Nicole

  15. This sounds so tasty and easy, perfect recipe to break in my wok. Looks like you used chunks of chicken instead of ground.. I think I’ll have tomtrynit that way, looks great that way!

    - Heather

  16. I have a ton of basil in my yard, more than I can keep up with, so this recipe would be perfect! Thanks.

    - fooddreamer

  17. Hey Becki!

    Sure – I think the dish would still be good, but it will be different. Thai basil is usually a little more sweet, and has a slight anise kick in it. But with the other seasonings in the dish, I’m sure it’ll still taste very similar. :)


    - ali

  18. Would this still taste good with regular basil?

    - Becki Sue

  19. Oh – this looks great. I have thai basil in my garden – I’m going with make this dish with it! thanks!

    - Christine