Basil Chicken (Pad Kaprow Gai)


This is the dish my mom always made me. She wasn't the best cook but this is the dish infamously served almost everyday. I wish I was kidding. You can sub the meat out for beef, chicken, pork... seafood, firm tofu, or mushrooms. 

The key to this dish is to fry the chicken until the excess moisture dries out, then add your soy sauce, a hit of sugar. Doing it this way allows the garlic and chilli to really become fragrant and not just boil. Then your aromatics - garlic and chilli and basil hit the oil instead of water. Also with letting the chicken dry out a little bit allows the soy sauce to caramelize a little. 

I did some research on other version of this dish and I feel like they over complicated an overly simple dish. You could add shallots, oyster sauce, chicken stock, fish sauce, AND soy sauce if you had it on hand, but I don't think its absolutely necessary. However, some people like their dish to be a little sweet so feel free to adjust the taste with a little bit of white sugar. Also, the flavor of this dish comes a lot from the chilli itself. In my own home, I have a big bag of frozen Thai bird chillis so that they are always on hand. If you see a big bag of red chillis the next time you are at the asian store, I highly recommend getting them. I am obviously very biased, but I think Thai chillis are the best. They're floral, spicy, and sweet. They are really spicy so one chilli per chicken breast (1/2 lb) in this dish is plenty. Fresnos, jalapenos, fingerlings all work very well. Just use any chilli you can get your hands on really but know that the flavor will.

This tutorial is also available via my Instagram. 

Basil Chicken (Pad Kaprow Gai)