14.223 Pad Gaprao Moo

Cycle 14 – Item 223

16 (Wed) August 2023

Pad Gaprao Moo


by me

at home

-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-


The YouTube channel Hot Thai Kitchen offers 2 different versions of the dish, each seemingly at odds with itself: i) the “modern day” version (January 2016), shot in Thailand, featuring Thai holy basil + oyster sauce + fish sauce + dark soy sauce (see Thai Holy Basil Stir-Fry Recipe (Pad Kra Pao); ii) the “old school” version (October 2022), shot in Canada, featuring Italian basil + fish sauce only (see The “Original” Thai Basil Stir-Fry Recipe (Pad Kra Pao)).

So glad that Thai basil remains available at E-Mart (see most recently 14.185 Stir-Fried Potatoes & Fishcakes with Thai Basil) – but just in case, I harvested just enough leaves to make the dish, then potted the rest of the plant in hopes of growing it for an on-going supply.

Technically, pad gaprao is made with Thai holy basil (gaprao = holy basil), which is different than Thai basil.  Though Chef Pai concedes that most Thai restaurants, at least in Northern America, probably use Thai basil in pad gaprao.  She feels that Thai holy basil is actually closer in flavor to Italian sweet basil.  It’s a miracle that Thai basil is now sold at a mainstream supermarket in Korea, so I’m grateful.  Maybe Thai holy basil is on its way.

Pak Boong Fai Daeng (3.5): happy to report that morning glory remains available for sale at E-Mart (see most recently 11.248 Stir-Fried Morning Glory).

My rendition, made with ground pork, comprises the modernized sauce and Thai basil (not Thai holy basil).

Added peas at the last minute.

DID YOU KNOW: according to Chef Pai, the proper Thai pronunciation of the dish is closer to “gaprao,” but the dish is often spelled in English as “krapao/grapao/krapow/grapow” (the “r” on the left side of the “p”) (see for example 6.131 Gung Grapao), because even Thais themselves sometimes mispronounce it as such; Chef Pai admits to using the “kra pao” spelling on her platforms because that’s how most people would search for it (see for example The “Original” Thai Holy Basil Stir Fry with Beef (Pad Kra Pao)).

Served over steamed jasmine rice.

Pretty good.  Although I’ve had the dish in Thailand, presumably with actual Thai holy basil (see for example 5.261 Phad Kra Phrao Pla Meuk – the spelling includes an “r” on both side of the “p”!; 6.069 Spicy Stir-Fried Shrimp & Seafood with Basil), I don’t recall the basil tasting much different.  Anyway, with my now (hopefully) infinite supply of Thai basil, I look forward to making the dish frequently, even if it’s not technically correct.


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