Pork & Holy Basil Stir-Fry


Holy basil is a significant ingredient in this pad kra pao (pork and holy basil-stir-fry)! It’s a match made in heaven with jasmine rice. In addition, it is easy to prepare and takes no more than a few minutes.

The Thai Basil vs. the Holy Basil

This is where things get serious about basil.

Thai basil has been used in several of our dishes here on the site. Our local Asian grocery store sells a kind of cinnamon basil called “Thai Basil,” which we utilized in the aforementioned recipes. This variety of basil is also widely found at Thai restaurants in the United States, where I assume it is utilized as a seasoning.

However, commenters on those recipes felt strongly about our use of basil and suggested—we add holy basil to them. Since “Pad Kra Pao” translates to “holy basil stir-fry,” you can’t make it without it (technically).

However, finding it is a difficult task. When we searched the local Asian stores for holy basil, we came up empty-handed. In the end, we decided to see what the fuss was about by attempting our last resort course of action. We ordered a packet of seeds on the Internet, planted them in our backyard, and waited.

The little holy basil plants began to emerge from the earth after a few weeks.

Because our holy basil plant flourished during the summer, we now have an impressive patch of the herb in our yard, which we use to cook many dishes of Thai holy basil stir-fry.

Using it in this Pork Pad Kra Pao stir-fry recipe suddenly made sense to me once I started cooking with it. It’s got a distinct taste. It has a licorice or fennel-like flavor.

My opinion was the same whatever. It’s fine to use cinnamon basil or even standard sweet basil if you don’t want to produce your own rare basil, but if you don’t have access to it, don’t despair!

Now for the recipe for pad kra pao stir fry. 🙂


  • 450g of ground pork
  • 7 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 3 de-seeded and thinly sliced Thai bird or holland chilies
  • 2 thinly sliced shallots
  • ⅓ cup of low sodium chicken broth or water
  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of thin/light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • holy basil leaves


  1. Cook oil, garlic, and shallots in a wok for 3 minutes over medium heat. For one more minute, add the chiles. Add the ground pork, breaking it up into small pieces, and turn the heat to high, allowing it to crisp up.
  2. Fish sauce, soy sauce, black soy sauce, and oyster sauce should all be added. Stir with broth or water after a minute. The liquid should evaporate quickly because your pan is heated to a high temperature. Stir-fry the basil until wilted after adding it. Serving with rice.
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