Phat kaphrao
A plate of phat kaphrao mu krop with rice
TypeRice dish
Courseentree or main
Place of originThailand
Associated cuisineThai
Serving temperaturehot
Main ingredients

Phat kaphrao (Thai: ผัดกะเพรา, pronounced [pʰàt kā.pʰrāw]; transl. stir-fried holy basil), also spelled pad kaprow, pad kaprao, or pad gaprao, is one of the most popular Thai dishes in Thailand.[1] This dish has garnered a reputation for its appetising appearance and flavour.


According to the 1687 records of La Loubère, holy basil leaves are recognized as a type of vegetable that carries a pleasant aroma due to its ties to the holy basil plant.[2] The protein derived from the holy basil plant is believed to have been entrusted directly to the Brahmin, who served as a priest and had the power to verify it. In later texts, it is noted that certain vegetables can vary in size and purpose. Based on the herbs size some are used for cooking and some are used for medicinal purposes.

It is speculated[by whom?] that phat kaphrao was first introduced to Thailand during the reign of King Rama VII when Chinese immigrants carried the spice to be sold in Thailand local market. Eventually, stir-fried basil likely gained popularity around 1957, having been adapted from Chinese cuisine. To prepare this dish, black soybean was stir-fried with garlic, followed by minced meat or chicken. It is seasoned with fish sauce and dark soy sauce, and, according to general belief, it is thought to be an adaptation of stir-fried beef with cumin leaves.

Phat kaphrao was included in cookbooks as early as the late 1970s.[citation needed] Stir-fried basil with beef is prepared using fish sauce and monosodium glutamate only; following the stir-frying of the beef, rice is stir-fried to make fried rice. Asparagus beans, specifically the inner portion, and alcoholic snacks are paired with this dish. According to the book Mae Khrua Ek (แม่ครัวเอก) in 1998, minced meat should be marinated in alcohol first, and later fish sauce and palm sugar should be used as the only seasoning.


Phat kaphrao mu sap with rice and a fried egg

Phat kaphrao consists of meat such as pork, chicken, beef, and seafood stir fried with Thai holy basil and garlic. It is served with rice and topped up (optional) with fried eggs or khai dao (ไข่ดาว). The main seasonings are soy sauce, Thai fish sauce, oyster sauce (optional), cane sugar, and bird's eye chili.

Over time, phat kaphrao has evolved with the addition of other ingredients such as Chinese century eggs and Thai local vegetables, namely asparagus beans, baby corns, onions, carrots, banana peppers, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and coconut shoots. However, adding vegetables in phat kaphrao is also seen as an effort to reduce the cost of meat and increase profit margins on the part of food vendors.[3][4]

Common variants:



According to Associate Professor Dr. Ratchanee, phat kaphrao is a popular menu choice among Thai individuals in 2020 due to its deliciousness and the allure of the basil scent that wafts through the air while it is being stir-fried. The dish is also not particularly expensive, easy to prepare, and can be quickly consumed. Furthermore, it provides numerous nutritional benefits and is considered a "healthy menu". It is recommended to eat the dish with rice in appropriate quantities, as well as including a variety of other nutritious vegetables, such as cucumbers, yardlong beans, and leafy greens. Doing so will provide greater nutritional value, with enhanced levels of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibre.

In the event of individuals with elevated blood fat levels, it is acceptable to consume phat kaphrao, although reducing the quantity of seafood may be required.[5]


According to Apiradee Tantraporn, Minister of Commerce, Thai cuisine has ascended to the list of top 15 international food choices, with a specific emphasis on Japanese consumers. One of the most favored dishes for Japanese individuals to make at home is phat kaphrao, as well as khao man kai (ข้าวมันไก่), and to further elevate the recognition and consumption of Thai cuisine, plans are in motion to increase its availability to Japanese consumers via restaurants, as well as other channels, to bolster support for the broader Thai food industry. Additionally, aside from the export of raw ingredients and partially prepared Thai dishes, the development of convenient food formats is emphasized. These ready-to-eat products should be easy to prepare and consume, suitable for Japanese homemakers who desire a seamless cooking experience. Such an approach may ultimately stimulate sales and encourage individuals to purchase these readily accessible dishes.[6]


In Taiwan, the dish is usually made with pork and referred to as 打拋豬 (Dǎ pāo zhū). The popularity of the recipe for phat kaphrao in various regions also rely on the ease of obtaining the necessary ingredients. Considering that holy basil is common in Southeast Asia and challenging to cultivate in other climates, the adoption of vegetables that are more readily available in the target area is not surprising. However, in Taiwan, a distinct recipe for stir-fried basil utilizing Thai basil and tomatoes has emerged, which presents a distinct flavor contrast to the traditional phat kaphrao. Many Thai restaurants in Taiwan choose to add tomatoes as the primary ingredient alongside Thai basil, due to the difficulty of sourcing the holy basil leaves used in the original dish. When asked for their main ingredient, many Taiwanese individuals agreed that phat kaphrao must contain tomatoes. Emphasising the colorful appearance of tomatoes, enhanced flavor, and their ability to be utilized to enhance the color instead of chilies, considering that many Taiwanese individuals do not enjoy overly spicy cuisine.[7]

Nutritional values

Phat kaphrao consists of essential ingredients from the five food groups, which are the main source of body's nutrition. Specifically, it has 16.3 grams of protein and contains 21.2 grams of fat, which is within the recommended daily intake level and constitutes 33 percent of it. Additionally, there are 74.3 grams of carbohydrates, making up 67 percent of the suggested serving. The nutritional profile of phat kaphrao demonstrates a well-balanced blend of nutrients and minerals necessary for optimal bodily functioning and a healthy lifestyle.

The quantity of food involved in a serving of phat kaphrao is suggested that one plate of chicken accompanied by basil over a base of rice typically weighs around 300 grams. Furthermore, it provides a total of 554 kilocalories of energy, representing 28 percent of the recommended daily energy intake.

Stir-frying holy basil with pork and various seasonings results in a dish that is rich in protein and minerals. Chilli peppers possess capsaicin, which has antioxidant properties. Garlic contains organosulfur, which serves as a natural antibiotic that effectively combats the growth of cancerous bacteria.[8]

See also


  1. ^ Thuan, Willy. "Thuan, W. (n.d.). Top 10 Thai Food - Most Popular Thai Foods".
  2. ^ "ต้นกำเนิดความเป็นมาผัดกะเพรา".
  3. ^ Rao, Tejal (25 January 2018). "A Garlicky Stir-Fry With Basil Leaves From Bangkok". The New York Times.
  4. ^ "Why Phat Kaphrao needs cowpea". 30 March 2016.
  5. ^ "ตำนาน "ผัดกะเพรา" เฉลยที่มาเมนูสิ้นคิด". 18 December 2020.
  6. ^ "'ผัดกระเพรา-ข้าวมันไก่' เมนูฮิตแดนอาทิตย์อุทัย". 12 May 2017.
  7. ^ "'ผัดกะเพรามะเขือเทศ' และการเดินทางของกองพล 93". 19 February 2023.
  8. ^ "คุณค่าทางอาหารของข้าวผัดกะเพรา". 14 March 2022.