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Thai Basil Pork

This Thai basil pork recipe is easy, slightly spicy, and made with ground pork, fish sauce, soy sauce, garlic, shallots, Thai chiles, and basil. A quick weeknight dinner that’s cheaper and better than takeout.

A wooden cutting board with a rectangular plate and spoon on top, the plate has a mound of rice on the back half. On the front half, there's a pile of ground pork, basil, and peppers.

Known in its native land as Pad Gkaprow Mu, Thai basil pork is a near-constant on the table in its native country, whether at breakfast or dinner. Once you experience the slightly spicy, salty, and sweet, and realize how easy it is to make, you’ll understand why it’s a classic.–Renee Schettler

Thai Pork

A wooden cutting board with a rectangular plate and spoon on top, the plate has a mound of rice on the back half. On the front half, there's a pile of ground pork, basil, and peppers.

This Thai basil pork recipe is easy and slightly spicy and made with ground pork, fish sauce, soy sauce, garlic, shallots, Thai chiles, and basil. A quick weeknight dinner that’s cheaper and better than takeout.

Patricia Tanumihardja

Prep 10 mins

Cook 5 mins

Total 15 mins

Entrees

Thai

4 to 6 servings

578 kcal

4.89 / 9 votes

  • Heat a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Carefully swirl in the oil and heat until it becomes runny and starts to shimmer but doesn’t begin to smoke. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic and shallots and cook, stirring, until the garlic is lightly golden and fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Increase the heat to medium-high and stir in the pork, using the edge of your spoon or spatula to break up the clumps. Stir and cook until the meat has just lost its blush of pink, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and toss in the chiles. Add the oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar and stir to coat the meat evenly. Stir in the basil and cook until the basil is wilted and the pork is cooked through, another 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Move to a serving dish and, if desired, sprinkle with a pinch of black pepper. Serve hot with freshly steamed rice.

*Buying basil

As the author explains, Thai basil pork is traditionally made with the jagged leaves of holy basil (bai gkaprow), which is native to Asia. However, Thai sweet basil (bai horapa) tends to be easier to find in Asian markets in the United States and makes a laudable stand-in. But if you can’t get your hands on either, no worries. You can always substitute any variety of basil you can get your hands on or, even better, a mix of basil and mint.

Thai Basil Pork variations

Instead of pork, you can opt for ground chicken or turkey or virtually any fresh seafood, including shrimp, scallops, mussels, or firm-flesh fish like halibut or salmon.

Serving: 1portionCalories: 578kcal (29%)Carbohydrates: 15g (5%)Protein: 32g (64%)Fat: 43g (66%)Saturated Fat: 19g (119%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 122mg (41%)Sodium: 1101mg (48%)Potassium: 889mg (25%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 7g (8%)Vitamin A: 1132IU (23%)Vitamin C: 104mg (126%)Calcium: 77mg (8%)Iron: 3mg (17%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Originally published December 1, 2009

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