There's nothing better than a bowl of Pad Kra Pao, a delicious Thai ground pork and basil stir fry. Basil ground pork stir fry is one of the most classic stir fry dishes from Thailand. The ingredient that gives it its signature flavor is the Thai Holy Basil. Pad Kra Pao is a really recognizable dish from Thai cuisine. It is equally popular in restaurants and Thai households. The nuances that exist in this recipe are to find actual Thai holy basil for the cooking.
If you want to learn how to make this delicious, savory, and flavorful dish at home, read on to find the easiest and most foolproof recipe out there. You will be surprised by how simple yet delicious it is.
All About Thai Basil Ground Pork Stir Fry - Pad Kra Pao
Stir fry basil with pork is everything that makes your meal complete. It is an amazing combination of garlicky and savory flavors that have a spicy kick. The dish is a combination of different textures as well.
The dish has a very popular blend of soy sauce, fish sauce, and a little bit of sugar. These three ingredients together can do wonders for the flavor profile of the dish. Getting the flavors right in any fish if you are cooking it for the first time can be tricky. However, this stir fry is so quick and easy that it is difficult to mess up.
Thai Basil vs Holy Basil
This dish uses Thai Holy Basil. To say the least, the difference between Thai basil and holy basil is the flavor. Their distinct and unique flavors work differently when you add them to dishes. While it may not be common knowledge, especially in the States, there are quite a few varieties of basils around the world.
When it comes to structural and visual differences, Thai basil has a more narrow leaf physical apperance and have a serrated edge to them. The purple stems of the Thai basil are also a unique trait that can help you identify them. This can be differentiated with Italian sweet basil, which is a more commonly used herb. Italian basil has round-shaped leaves with a shinier finish. The leaves are also quite floppy and delicate. Thai basil has more of a sweet anise taste with a licorice smell. If you try to notice, there's also a slightly spicy note to it.
However, holy basil has a much more pronounced spicy and peppery flavor. Holy basil is sometimes called Thai holy basil, which can be confusing to differentiate. It has more of a warm and clove-like flavor as compared with Thai basil.
For this dish, you can use either Thai Basil or Holy Basil, but either is fine. Italian basil is different and gives a different flavor profile for this dish, but can indeed be used as a substitute.
Regional Alternatives for Basil Ground Pork
A regional variation of this dish is Pad Krapaw Gai. It is a spicy Thai basil chicken stir fry. It has similar flavors and ingredients, except it uses chicken as protein. The type of basil used can vary from region to region, but the overall textures and flavors are quite similar.
If you are unable to get your hands on Thai basil or don't have any pork at home, go ahead and put your own twist to the dish by using a different kind of basil with chicken or ground beef. As long as you are familiar with the flavors, there is a chance that you will end up with a really delicious regional spin to this dish.
Asian Grocery Store List
Asian ingredients are crucial when it comes to cooking a dish that has distinct Asian flavors. The great thing about this dish is that other than one ingredient, everything else is readily available at any local Asian grocery store. Try not to substitute any of the ingredients with other stuff. Each element serves a specific purpose and benefits the dish in terms of flavor.
Here are some of the key ingredients that you may want to go grab at the Asian store.
Italian basils or other commonly available basils can be found at most grocery stores. But herbs such as holy basil and Thai basil are quite uncommon even at Asian stores. But if there's anywhere you can get your hands on some, it's there.
Even if you don't find any Thai basil, you can use sweet Italian basil instead. Even though they don't have the same flavors, it would be a shame to miss out on this dish. Try to buy whichever herb you find in bulk, as they offer really inexpensive prices. The best thing is that you can buy them in large bundles and preserve them for later use.
Thai Birds Eye Chilies
Thai bird's eye chilies are infamous for their heat. A little goes a long way, but you have the freedom to adjust the heat to your likeness. Although heat is the most recognizable factor about these chilies, they do have a distinct flavor.
Thai bird's eye chilies can be found at any Asian grocery store at any time. You can store them in your freezer if you buy them in bulk and thaw them whenever you need some.
Fish sauce is used in various ways in Southeast Asian cuisine. You will see the use of fish sauce in curries, soups, marinades, and even as a condiment on the table in dips. This is why you can blindly trust Asian Grocery stores to carry it.
While there are many different brands available, make sure that you get your hands on to the squid brand one. It is of the highest quality of them all and provides the perfect finishing touch, making a huge difference.
How to Make Thai Basil Ground Pork Stir Fry
This quick and easy recipe adds an aromatic element to any dinner table. It is really simple to make once you have gathered all the correct ingredients. Even if this is your first attempt at a stir fry, all you need to know is that you need to cook in high heat and remember that everything happens quite quickly.
- 1 pound of ground pork
- 2 cups of Holy Basil
- 1-4 Thai birds eye chilies, minced (optional)
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
- ¼ of water
- 2 tablespooons of vegetable oil
- In a skillet, add in vegetable oil. Add in garlic and birds eye chiles, cook until golden.
- Add in ground pork and stir. Break up and brown for 5-7 minutes.
- Add in the sugar and fish sauce. Stir well.
- Add in holy basil. Turn down to low. Cover with lid for 1 minute.
- Serve immedilatey with a bed of rice
Nutrition Information:Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 284Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 531mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 20g
Serving Thai Basil Ground Pork
Stir fry basil ground pork is a perfect pairing with sticky rice or jasmine rice. The salty, spicy flavors of the delicious meat and fragrant basil with the rice to give you a burst of umami in your mouth. Just two of these dishes can act as a complete meal. If you are preparing a Thai dinner table and have rice on the menu, do add stir fry basil with pork to the list.
This stir fry is also often served with a fried egg on top of it. The crispy fried egg is a delicious touch bit of tradition. And who doesn't like a fried egg in an Asian meal?
Summary About Thai Basil Ground Pork Stir Fry
And that's it! Thai Basil ground pork stir fry is one of the simple yet one of the top staples in Thai cuisine. A Thai spread is almost incomplete without it. It is so easy and tasty that once you try it, you won't be able to resist making it over and over again.
The ingredients might require a trip or two to the Asian grocery store, but it is definitely worth it if you're a fan of exploring Southeast Asian and other Asian cuisines. The ingredients are really versatile and can add a lot of value to lots of different dishes. So go ahead and give this dish a try.
Other Thai Recipes to Inspire You
Here are some other delicious Thai recipes you might love.
- Thai Spicy Lemongrass Ground Pork Stir Fry
- Thai Naem Khao Coconut Rice Salad
- Pad Thai Using Pre-Made Sauce
- Spicy Thai Squid Salad
- Sticky Rice with Mango Recipe