Authentic Thai Basil Beef (Pad Gra Prow)
Authentic Thai Basil Beef recipe, also known as Pad Gra Prow or Pad Krapow, is a popular and beloved Thai dish that is a must-try for anyone who loves Thai cuisine. Made with thinly sliced beef, garlic, chili, and aromatic Thai basil, this flavorful stir-fry is quick and easy to make, yet incredibly satisfying.
“Fabulous dish. Super easy and delicious. I doubled the green beans cuz I love stir fried green beans. A winner.”Brushjl
Sometimes, when people go to Thai restaurants, they can get lost in the menu and end up having no idea what to order.
If you find yourself in this situation, look for the Thai basil beef dish, also known as Pad Gra Prow, Pad Krapow, or Pad Kra Pao in English spelling.
The aromatic blend of Thai basil and tender beef is sure to satisfy your taste buds. You can enjoy this versatile dish on its own or pair it with rice for a more filling meal.
You can easily make this authentic Thai dish at home using a beginner-level stir-fry recipe that takes only 20 minutes. Don’t worry, you can’t mess it up!
Protein Options for Thai Basil Beef
The great thing about this Pad Gra Prow is that you can use any protein of your choice. While I prefer thinly sliced beef steak strips, ground beef is a common choice in Thailand.
In Thailand, this dish is a popular lunch menu item for street-side restaurants and food courts. I’ve even seen pre-made basil beef (or chicken) in a big tray with people just scooping it up over rice in the street food court.
Contrary to popular belief, not all Thai food is spicy. You can easily adjust the heat level according to your taste. This Thai beef with basil recipe is incredibly flavorful and delicious, and once you try it, you’ll be absolutely hooked.
Holy basil vs Thai basil
If you want to make it a truly authentic Thai-style basil beef (or chicken), you should use holy basil. Holy basil is spicy and peppery. However, holy basil is hard to obtain in the U.S. (or any part of North America). Thai basil is a good substitute and you can find it easily in many Asian markets.
Thai basil has purple stems and has a licorice-anise flavor. If you don’t have an Asian market near you, substitute with regular sweet basil and some cilantro. It won’t bring the exact same aromatic flavor, but still makes it delicious on its own.
Check these recipes made with Thai basil
Recipe Tips and Notes
A few quick notes;
- This versatile Thai beef and basil stir-fry can be quite hot due to using small Thai chilies (aka bird’s eye chili peppers). You can adjust the amount of chili to fit to your heat tolerance level, or use milder red chilies like red finger chilis with the seeds removed instead.
- Thai basil beef is an aromatic, savory and garlicky dish. Which means lots of garlic is used! I use a mortar and pestle to smash the garlic and chili together. It only takes 10 seconds. I found it is easier and quicker than using a knife to chop them up.
- I added some long beans to make the dish hearty and nutritionally well-balanced. You can add french green beans and/or red pepper to make it even heartier.
- Beef: I used thinly sliced beef sirloin. You can use any of your favorite cut. Or use ground beef.
- Vegetable: I used long beans (aka snake beans). Try with green beans if long beans are not available. You can also use red pepper instead.
- Onion & garlic: For additional savory taste.
- Red chili: Thai red chili or finger chili. Use less and remove the seeds if you prefer a milder flavor.
- Thai basil: Aromatics.
- Oil: To stir fry.
For the sauce:
How to make Thai basil beef (Pad Gra Prow)
Smash garlic and ginger in a mortar and pestle until they are roughly chopped. Or use a knife to finely chop them. Mix sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Optional. Pound thin beef slices with a meat hammer to tenderize, and slice into desired sizes.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Stir-fry smashed chili and garlic for 30 seconds. Add beef and stir-fry for 2 minutes until browned. Transfer beef to a plate and set aside.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil, add onion, and stir fry for 30 seconds. Next, add long beans and continue to stir fry until beans are tender and crisp, about 1-2 minutes.
Return beef and the sauce mixture and stir to coat.
Add Thai basil leaves and stir to heat through.
Serve Pad Gra Prow over rice immediately and enjoy while it’s still hot. Additionally, you can also add a fried egg on top for extra flavor, but that’s optional.
5 Must-Try Thai Recipes
- All-Time Favorite Thai Pineapple Fried Rice – This dish is a perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors. It’s made with pineapple, shrimp, with a savory sauce. It is typically served in a pineapple shell for an extra touch of presentation.
- Classic Thai Papaya Salad (Som Tam) – A refreshing salad made with shredded green papaya, cherry tomatoes, green beans, peanuts, and a tangy dressing made from lime juice, fish sauce, and chili.
- Light Thai Glass Noodle Salad (Yum Woon Sen) – This light and healthy salad is made with glass noodles, ground pork, and fresh vegetables, all tossed in a spicy lime dressing.
- Beef Massaman Curry – A popular Thai curry made with beef, potatoes, peanuts, and a rich, creamy sauce that’s flavored with tamarind and cinnamon.
- Classic Thai Beef Salad (Yum Nua) – A flavorful salad made with grilled beef, cucumber, red onion, and fresh herbs, all tossed in a tangy lime dressing. Perfect as a light lunch or dinner option.
Authentic Thai Basil Beef (Pad Gra Prow)
- 3-5 Thai bird's eye chilies, finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic , finely chopped
- 1 lb (450 g) beef sirloin, striploin, or lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 3/4 cup (100 g) long beans or string beans, sliced
- 2 handful Thai basil leaves
- 2 tbsp oil
- Smash garlic and chili in a mortar and pestle until they are roughly chopped. Or use a knife to finely chop them; set aside.
- Mix stir-fry sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- Pound thin beef slices with a meat hammer to tenderize, and slice into desired sizes.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Stir-fry smashed chili and garlic for 30 seconds. Add beef and stir-fry for 2 minutes until browned. Transfer beef to a plate and set aside.
- Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil, add onion, and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add long beans and continue to stir fry until beans are tender and crisp, about 1-2 minutes.
- Return beef and the sauce mixture and stir to coat. Add Thai basil leaves and stir to heat through. Serve hot with rice. Note: Often a fried egg is added on top, but that’s optional.