Thai Basil Stir Fry (pad kra pao) is one of most popular Thai street foods. It's spicy and tangy with the intense aroma of Thai basil and lime. It's so delicious, and makes an ideal meal for lunch or dinner during summer.
Four years ago, I was living in Western Australia, Wanneroo, a northern suburb of Perth. There was a weekend Market where David and I always went to the food stall called “Authentic Thai,” run by three Thai ladies. I always orderd pad kra pao, and that was probably was the most authentic Thai food I’ve ever had since moving to Australia.
Pad kra pao means ” Thai Holy Basil stir-fry.” No matter how you spell it, they all point to this same delicious, aromatic stir-fry dish.
Thai Basil Stir Fry (Vegan Pad Kra Pao)
- 300 g firm tofu
- 50 g brown onion
- 200 g pearl oyster mushrooms
- 1 red chili
- 20 g ginger
- 2 tomatoes
- 200 ml water
- 1 bunch Thai basil or holy basil
- 1/2 lime, juice only
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 1/2 tbsp vegan oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- vegan fish sauce (optional)
1. Prepare a cotton cloth (cheesecloth) and a bowl.
2. Break firm tofu into crumbles using your hands.
3. Squeeze out as much water as possible.
4. Add your tofu crumble into a hot pan with oil and shallow fry it until has a golden crust.
5. Sauté diced onion, minced ginger, and red chili until it becomes aromatic. Red chili is essential for this dish. If you like mild, choose red cayenne chili. For spiace, choose birdseye chili.
6. Add diced tomatoes.
7. Add chopped pearl oyster mushrooms. (May also use king oyster or oyster mushrooms.)
8. Add fried tofu crumbles.
9. Add light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, vegan oyster sauce, and coconut sugar.
10. Add water.
11. Simmer the sauce until it’s reduced by half.
12. Squeeze in the juice of 1/2 lime.
13. Add Thai basil.
14. After the basil is wilted, it’s ready to serve with some jasmine rice on the side! You may also add some vegan fish sauce to taste.
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Photo: Shu-Chun Chuang