Pad Ka Prao Moo Recipe

I remember staying on Khao San Road, Bangkok years ago basically because that’s what you were supposed to do while backpacking in Thailand – I hated it. I survived a night in one of those grotty little hostel-like hotels before I had to insist that we move on to something a little …well..better (it wasn’t so much the noise as it was the smells and the communal bathing).

However, one thing that I found right there on that grimy stretch of vodka-infused tarmac was the delicious Pad Ka Prao – served up by some delightful little old lady in a white hat with bundles of grey hair poking from the rim. I’ve tried it all over Thailand – from north to south – east to west, on roadside cafes, beachside huts and in decent enough restaurants, but somehow none of them managed to live up to her Pad Ka Prao Moo. And so it was that each time I returned to Bangkok.

This is my recipe for the Thai Street food classic: Pad Ka Prao Moo – or putting it simply – minced pork with Thai basil, garlic and chillies. I have adjusted it over the last couple of years to to a mix that suits my preferences – it’s very spicy so be sure to adjust as you need. 

Some Tips Before You Start

In remembrance of the late great Keith Floyd I always try to cook with a glass of wine in hand – I suggest you do the same.

  • The perfect Pad Ka Prao Moo shuld be made with fresh Thai Holy Basil. Try your best to get it because it really makes a difference. If you can’t then subsititute with plenty of whichever Basil you can get – it’s also good but not quite the same.
  • It’s up to you how you serve this – if you don’t like very spicy food then tone down the amount of chillies. Coriander either on the top or on the side goes well if it’s a little bit on the spicier side.
  • This dish can be served with or without a fried egg on top which also helps to dull the heat from the chillies a little.

Ingredients (for 2):

  • One full bulb, or 8ish good sized cloves of garlic
  • 10 Thai chillies: 5 red & 5 green
  • 400-500gram of minced pork
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 tablespoons of Thai or Vietnamese Fish sauce (adjust to taste)
  • One teaspoon of soy sauce
  • Tablespoon of oil
  • One big bunch of fresh Thai Holy Basil
  • One tea spoon of sugar
  • Two eggs (optional)
  • Rice (for serving) 
  • Coriander (optional)


1. First – chop all of the garlic, shallot and chillies together – into very small pieces – this is going to run through the entirety of the dish so cut it as small as you can manage.

2. Heat the oil in a frying pan or wok and when it’s nice and hot throw in the chillies and garlic over a medium-high heat

3. When this mixture begins to get fragrant and you can see that the garlic is beginning to brown – add the meat and immediately mix it all up. If the meat is in slightly larger chunks then break it apart into small pieces with a spatula or similar.

4. When you see that the meat is beginning to cook – add the fish sauce, the sugar and all of the basil.

5. Let that come together for a minute or so and leave the basil on top at the time – it should begin to wilt almost immediately. Then stir it all up.Break up the pork into small bits as you fry the mixture together.

6. At this point – the meat should be caramelising slightly. Cook the meat through and serve immediately over white rice (Jasmine or plain is fine) with or without an egg on top. If you want – add a chilli to the top of the rice too – which I love to do – but then I really love chillies. See the top image for the finished dish!

Hope you enjoyed this travel-influenced Pad Kra Prao Moo recipe (minced pork with Thai basil, garlic and chillies).