Gai Phat Bai Graphraw (ไก่ผัดใบกระเพรา)

Stir-fried Chicken with Holy Basil Leaves

This is a very common one-dish meal of stir-fried chicken with holy basil leaves.  It’s very spicy, eaten with plenty of plain steamed rice and (often) a fried egg on top.


500 g skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced, then cut into smaller pieces
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 birds eye chillies, chopped
1 T fish sauce
2 T oyster sauce
vegetable oil (for deep frying)
2 bunches of holy basil, leaves stripped from the stems
2 T water
1/2 t sugar
1 medium onion, chopped

  1. Start by making a marinade for the chicken.  In a small bowl combine the garlic, chilli, fish sauce and oyster sauce.  Add the chopped chicken.  Stir to mix, then leave to marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. Whilst the chicken is marinating, heat a couple of cm of oil in a wok until very hot.  (A holy basil leaf should immediately sizzle when dropped in.)  In small batches fry 3/4 of the holy basil leaves for about a minute until crispy.  Drain the leaves on kitchen paper.  Be careful! The oil will boil up when you add the leaves.  Discard the oil.
  3. Put 2 T of oil into a wok over a high heat.  Stir-fry the chicken for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Now add the sugar, water and onion to the wok and stir-fry for a further 2 minutes.
  5. Add the remaining fresh basil leaves and stir until they wilt.
  6. Serve on a bed of rice, topped with the crispy fried basil leaves.

The taste should be spicy, then sweet and salty

Holy BasilHoly Basil FryingCrispy Fried Holy Basil

  1. This stir-fry can be made with other meats such as beef or pork.
  2. The original recipe included a red pepper (capsicum), diced and added at stage 4.  This doesn’t appear to be authentic.  Sometimes this dish includes sliced yard long beans; I’ve never encountered it with red pepper.
  3. Serves 2 as a main dish.

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