Pad Kaprao Nuea – Thai Beef Holy Basil

Minced beef with holy basil or Pad kaprao is another popular Thai dish.  This delicious, spicy stir-fried recipe is made with holy basil and commonly served with jasmine rice and a Thai style fried egg!

pad krapao nua

It is almost a sin to call Thai dishes fast food, but this dish is so easy and quick to make, it is served in street food restaurants, food courts or places where quick lunches and dinners are served. In Thailand, this dish replaces the sandwich, burger, or equivalent from the West.

Holy basil vs sweet basil

Holy basil, called ‘kaprao’ or ‘kaprow,’ and Thai sweet basil, named ‘horapa’ are different in a few ways.

They come from different basil plants and the flavour is not at all the same. Holy basil is rather spicy and slightly peppery. Thai sweet basil has a sweet flavour with light tones of anise. Although we swear by holy basil for this recipe, both are suitable. Italian basil is completely different and not a good choice for this recipe.

Kaffir lime leaves

These are used to make soups, curries, and stir-fried dishes. To release the maximum of aromatic flavour, we recommend bruising or chopping the leaves.  

cutting kaffir leaves

Does pad kaprao need a fried egg?

If you have been to Thailand, you will most likely have seen this dish being served with a Thai-style fried egg or ‘kai dao.’ The egg is cracked in the centre of a wok fried in a good amount of oil. A spatula is used to baste it with the hot oil and the egg fluffs instantly with the edge becoming crispy and golden-brown. It is then flipped over and cooked for another minute or served ‘sunny side up.’ The egg should be slightly runny to complement the spiciness of the dish.

pad kaprao nua

Pad Krapao Nuea – Thai Style Beef with Holy Basil

This delicious, spicy stir-fried recipe is made with holy basil and commonly served with jasmine rice and a Thai style fried egg!
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Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Meat & Poultry
Cuisine Thai
Servings 2 people
Calories 405 kcal

EQUIPMENT (click pictures for details)


For the seasoning

For the garnish


  • Mix to combine all seasoning ingredients and keep aside.
    kaprao nua 1 seasoning

Prepare the garnish

  • Fry the eggs Thai style.
    frying an egg thai style
  • Use the oil from the fried eggs, lower the temperature to medium low heat. Fry a small batch of the Thai sweet basil leaves at the time. Avoid splashing oil by making sure the leaves are dry enough but not bruised.
    Cook for 2 minutes or until the leaves are translucent and crisp. Remove the deep-fried leaves with a spider and place on a kitchen towel.
    frying holy basil
  • Chop the garlic, slice the shallots, chop the chillies, and remove the centre vein from the lime leaves before cutting them very thinly.
    aromatic ingredients

Finish the dish

  • Heat 2 tbsp of oil over a medium high heat and fry the garlic shortly before adding the shallots.
    frying garlic and shallots
  • Add the beef and cook through.
    kaprao nua
  • Add the chillies and the seasoning mix. .
    kaprao nua
  • Finish with the sweet basil leaves at the end
    kaprao nua


  • If you find the taste too salty or too spicy add a pinch of sugar.

Nutrition for 1 portion

Calories: 405kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 28gFat: 30gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 1558mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 9IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 41mgIron: 3mg
Keyword chilli, holy basil, mild spicy, minced beef, stir fried, wok
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was! #culinaryambition

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