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Holy Basil Chicken Fried Rice with Fried Egg

Holy Basil Chicken Fried Rice with Fried Egg (Kao Pad Gaprao Gai Kai Dao) - The predecessor of this dish, pad gaprao, is a stir-fry of holy basil and ground meat served over rice and usually with a fried egg on top—unquestionably one of the most popular lunch items in Thailand. I discovered one day that some restaurants, instead of serving the rice beside the stir-fry, threw it all into a fine fried rice! I was hooked, and I’m pretty sure you will be, too. If you’re tempted to skip the fried egg, please reconsider; I promise it’ll be worth your time. You don’t have to fry the egg Thai-style if you want to conserve some oil—a sunny-side-up or an over-easy egg will do.

Serves: 2
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Do-ahead Tips: Pull the eggs from the fridge the night before so they come to room temperature, or soak them in warm tap water while you prep.
Kao = Rice; Pad = Stir-fry; Gaprao = Holy basil; Gai = Chicken; Kai dao = Fried egg
Holy Basil Chicken Fried Rice with Fried Egg Recipe

Ingredients

  • 6 oz Chicken, ground, or other ground meats
  • 1 tsp Soy sauce
  • As needed Oil for frying eggs
  • 2 Eggs, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 2–3 cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 2–5 Thai chilies, finely chopped
  • 5 Long beans, ½-inch pieces on a bias
  • ⅓ cup Onion, small diced
  • 1 Spur chili or ¼ red bell pepper, short julienned
  • 1½ cups Cooked rice
  • 1 tsp Sugar, granulated
  • 1 cup Holy basil, Thai basil, or regular basil
  • Condiment Prik nam pla (optional)

THE SAUCE
  • 1 Tbsp Oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Fish sauce
  • 1 tsp Seasoning sauce, such as Golden Mountain or Maggi
  • 1 tsp Black soy sauce

How to make Kao Pad Gaprao Gai Kai Dao

  1. Combine the ground chicken and 1 tsp of soy sauce in a bowl and mix thoroughly; let sit in the fridge while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. For the Thai-style fried eggs: In a wok or a small frying pan, add about ½ inch of oil. Heat over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Crack an egg into the centre of the pan; the egg white should bubble excitedly right away. If you like a medium to well-done yolk, lower the heat so the white doesn’t brown too quickly. As the egg cooks, baste the top of it with the hot oil. Once the edges of the egg white are browned and crispy, and the yolk done to your liking, remove and drain on paper towel. Repeat with the remaining egg. Note: The egg should be floating on top of the oil; if parts of it stick to the pan, let it cook for a minute before gently nudging it off with a spatula.
  3. Grease a small bowl generously with cooking oil, then add all the sauce ingredients to the bowl. Note: Greasing the bowl helps the thick sauce slide out more easily.
  4. Heat the 2 Tbsp oil in a wok or a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and Thai chilies; stir until the garlic starts to turn golden brown. Add the chicken and cook until it is 70% done. Add the long beans, onion, and spur chili; toss to mix well. Add the rice, followed by the sauce mixture and sugar. Toss until the rice is evenly coated in the sauce, pressing down on rice lumps to break them apart. When the sauce has been absorbed completely (the rice should look dry), turn off the heat and stir in the basil just until it is incorporated. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  5. Transfer onto a plate, top with one fried egg per portion, and serve with prik nam pla on the side. I like to use prik nam pla to season the egg, but it’s also great on the rice if you feel it needs extra seasoning.

THIS LOOKS LIKE … DRUNKEN NOODLES?
Kao pad gaprao is essentially the rice version of the wildly popular pad kee mao, also known as “drunken noodles.” They both use holy basil and similar sauces, and the only main differences are the vegetables and the egg. So, if you love one, you will certainly love the other.
THE BREAKDOWN
The Style Hybrid
The Aromatic Garlic, holy basil, Thai chilies
The Nuggets Rice, long beans, onion, spur chili
The Sauce Oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, seasoning sauce, black soy sauce, sugar
Flavour Profile Salty and spicy, balanced by subtle sweetness.

Tip for Success: Mushy or clumpy fried rice is the most common fried-rice issue. Using cold rice helps, but the most important factor is that the rice is not cooked with too much water. Please refer to my Pineapple Fried Rice video for more tips on making good rice for fried rice (QR code below).