Pad Krapow Kung: Thai Stir-Fried Shrimp With Basil

Updated on February 24, 2020
John D Lee profile image

John writes these articles to try to pass on any great recipes and tips that he's picked up during my culinary journeys.

Pad Krapow Kung is an easy meal that can be made in 10 minutes.
Pad Krapow Kung is an easy meal that can be made in 10 minutes. | Source

If I had to pick only one desert island Thai meal—this easy dish would probably win the honors, and it's one I eat with surprisingly regularity (always topped with a fried egg aside a bed of Jasmine rice) as a perfect midday meal.

Like most Thai dishes, this is quick and easy to make, and you can have this on the table about 10 minutes after getting started. This dish is often made with sweet basil in the west, although Krapow basil is the correct choice and is well worth searching out for an authentic taste.

Thai Stir Fried Shrimp With Basil (For 2)

  • ½ lb of peeled and deveined medium shrimp. Use whatever size you have, although there is little advantage in paying a premium for very large shrimp for this recipe.
  • 1 Tbls of vegetable oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 0 to 15 Thai bird chilies. Omit the chili if you don’t like spicy food, otherwise, choose a number of peppers based on your liking of mouth fire!
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 ½ Tbls of oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbls of soy sauce
  • Pinch of MSG (optional)
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp of fish sauce
  • A full handful of Thai krapow basil, roughly chopped (not sweet basil, which is known as horepa—See picture below)


  1. Smash the garlic and chili peppers in a mortar and pestle. (You can alternately cut them up finely, should you lack a kitchen mortar and pestle)
  2. Heat a wok of fry pan over high heat and when hot add in the vegetable oil and the garlic and chili. Stir fry for 20 seconds or so, or until it is all very fragrant.
  3. Toss in your shrimp, and stir fry for a minute or so, or until just coloring all over.
  4. Add in the sauces, the sugar and the MSG, if using, and continue to cook for another minute or two.
  5. Once the shrimp have all but cooked through, toss in the krapow basil, and stir fry for another 30 seconds or so, or until the basil has just wilted and the shrimp are just cooked through.
  6. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. If you have chosen to omit the MSG, you may want to add an extra bit of fish sauce to compensate.

Serve with steamed rice and a fried egg each for an easy meal for 2. Alternatively, serve this easy dish as one of many as a part of a larger Thai style meal.

First One Holy; Second One Sweet Basil

Click thumbnail to view full-size
This is what you want, holy basil this one, sweet basil
This is what you want, holy basil
This is what you want, holy basil
Not this one, sweet basil
Not this one, sweet basil


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    • profile image


      8 months ago

      Been living in Thailand for 2 decades. Never in my life have I encountered or cooked this dish with onions in it. Sweet Thai basil is NOT the same as Italian basil. Nobody chops up the krapao, just pick the leaves and put them in the dish whole. You add the sauces AFTER you put in the krapao, since this releases its best aroma when fried, NOT boiled in the oyster sauce. Sugar and MSG is the cheap street version and is not necessary when you use proper quality ingredients. 15 bird eye chillies for 1 plate??? Thai like their food spicy but I never seen that much in my life. Has this author ever been to Thailand????

    • profile image


      15 months ago

      That second picture is of Thai Basil, not sweet basil (aka Italian Basil).

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hi - when do you put in the onion?


    • Cassidella profile image


      10 years ago

      Hi John,

      Glad I saw this wonderful hub! I love Thai food, but don't get it often. The best I've had was at a place called Siam Square in the Bronx, NY. Now I can try some of your recipes at home. Thanks!


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