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Wild Venison Thai Basil (Pad Kra Pao)

Spending some time living in Thailand I grew to love the food. The beautiful blend of sweet, sour, spicy, salty blew my mind and i can still remember the sound of the mortar and pestle pounding the chilli and garlic in the kitchen while the aromatic spicy smells fill my nostrils.

During my time there i was lucky enough to get to know the ladies in the kitchen where i worked. Pa Per (Pa meaning aunt in Thai used out of respect) showed me 6 of my favourate dishes the best being pad kra pao.

Pad kra pao you can eat any time of day and is very quick and easy to make. It is normally served with chicken, pork or beef but Ive added venison here as i think its robust flavour holds up perticularly well with the dish.


(recipe serves 2)

  • 400g of vension steak (lion is best but other cuts are fine) cut into thin strips against to grain

  • 5 large cloves of garlic, peeled

  • 4 bird’s eye chilies (or however many you can tolerate)

  • 1 small red pepper (or half a large one)

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or rice bran oil

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoons thin/light soy sauce or seasoning sauce

  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce

  • 1 cup holy basil leaves, packed (if you cant find this use sweet basil)

1 teaspoon of palm or brown suger (optional)


  1. If you have a mortar, pound together the garlic and chilli's together until you get a coarse paste (this releases the flavour). If no mortar, chop and crush them with your kitchen knife.

  2. In a wok or frying pan, heat up the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the paste to it and fry until fragrant.

  3. Add the meat to the wok brown for no longer then a minute.

  4. Add the remaining ingredients (except the basil leaves), correcting seasoning as needed. [I don't like sugar in my Pad Ka-Prao and if your using sweet basil there should be enougth sweetness already.

  5. Once the meat is cooked through but the peppers are still crisp, give a couple a stirs and take of the heat.

  6. once the wok is off the heat add the basil leaves to the mixture and give it a couple of stirs. We only want to wilt the basil with the residual heat that is still in the pan so as not to mute the fragrance of the fresh holy basil leaves.

  7. Serve over rice. A Thai-style crispy fried egg (kai dao meaning star egg cooked in medium-hot oil). Serve with basil and/or corriander garnish.


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