Thai Basil Chicken

Rich with the aromatic, peppery flavor of Thai basil, this easy stir-fry recipe is a homemade version of a Thai restaurant favorite called Pad Krapao (or some spelling variant). A simple combination of meat, sweet bell pepper, onion and basil flavored with fish sauce, black pepper and a bit of sugar, the dish is the perfect blend of salty, sweet and spicy flavors. We used chicken as our protein, but tender cuts of pork, beef or even duck are equally good choices.

Thai Basil Chicken

Thai Basil Chicken

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This flavorful Thai chicken stir-fry is easy to make at home and has plenty of authentic flavor from fresh basil, garlic, black pepper and a little fish sauce.


  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (tenderloins removed)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable, or coconut oil
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 cup fresh Thai, or Italian basil leaves, loosely packed

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha, or more to taste


  • Prepare the sauce by whisking the fish sauce, soy sauce, water, sugar and Sriracha together in a small bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
  • Place the chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound them to an even thickness of about 1/2-inch. Transfer the breasts to a cutting board, slice them into thin strips and place the strips in a shallow bowl.
  • Whisk the cornstarch, fish sauce and water in a measuring cup until blended. Pour over the chicken and combine well. Season liberally with freshly ground black pepper, combine again and set aside for 10 minutes to marinate.
  • Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and stir fry until no longer pink on the outside, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and stir fry just until fragrant, 30 seconds, then add the onions and bell pepper and continue cooking until the onions soften slightly, about 1-1/2 minutes more.
  • Add the reserved sauce and basil leaves, toss to combine and cook until the sauce thickens slightly and the basil leaves wilt, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Serve over steamed jasmine rice, spooning sauce over each portion.
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