This Thai basil beef (Pad Gra Prow) is one of the popular Thai street foods and takes only 20 minutes to prepare. You can use steak beef or ground beef, and quickly stir fry with aromatic Thai basil. With this recipe, you can taste a classic Thai food easily at home.

Thai basil beef stir fry is served with rice on a plate.

Sometimes when people go to Thai restaurants they get lost in the menu and end up with no idea what to order. If that’s the case for you, look for this Thai basil beef dish.

In English spelling for Thai, it is often called Pad Gra Prow, Pad Krapow, or Pad Kra Pao.

The aromatic Thai basil with beef will never disappoint. 

Or, make it at home with this classic Thai basil beef recipe that’s easy, quick, and takes within 20 minutes. This is a beginner level of stir-fry. You can’t mess it up!

Thai basil beef is stir-fried in a wok.

Use any protein for this recipe

The best thing about this recipe is that you can use any protein of your choice. I like to use thinly sliced beef steak strips, but ground beef is widely used in Thailand.

Try with chicken (Pad Krapow Gai). You can also make it with shrimp, or even tofu and mushroom if you are vegetarian (in that case, use vegetarian fish sauce).

In Thailand, this dish is a popular lunch menu for street-side restaurants and food courts. I’ve seen pre-made basil beef (or chicken) in a big tray with people just scooping it up over rice in the street food court.

Not all Thai food is spicy. You can easily adjust the heat level according to your taste. This Thai beef with basil is so flavorful and delicious, once you taste it you will be absolutely hooked.

Holy basil vs Thai basil

If you want to make it a truly authentic Thai basil beef (or chicken), holy basil should be used. 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.

Fresh Thai basil has purple stems

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

Before you get started

A few quick notes;

  • This versatile Thai dish 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.
Ingredients for making Thai basil beef stir-fry

Ingredients for Thai basil beef stir-fry

  • 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 stir-fry

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. 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.

Serving suggestion

Serve Thai basil beef over rice immediately and enjoy while hot. Often a fried egg is added on top, but that’s optional.

Thai basil beef stir fry is served in a plate and placed on a napkin.

More Thai Recipes

Thai basil beef stir fry is served with rice on a plate.

Authenthic Thai Basil Beef Stir-Fry (Pad Gra Prow)

Thai basil beef is one of the popular Thai street foods and this recipe takes only 20 minutes to prepare. You can use steak beef or ground beef.
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Ingredients

  • 3-5 Thai bird's eye chilies, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic , finely chopped
  • 1 lb beef sirloin, striploin, or lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3/4 cup long beans or string beans, sliced
  • 2 handful Thai basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp oil

For stir-fry sauce

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

If you want this less spicy, use finger-long red chilies instead of Thai bird’s eye chilies
Calories: 335kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 0.03g, Cholesterol: 69mg, Sodium: 996mg, Potassium: 447mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 240IU, Vitamin C: 12mg, Calcium: 38mg, Iron: 3mg
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