Recipe: Pad Gkaprow Mu or Thai Basil Pork

Thai Basil Pork

Basil could be our favorite herb ever! I'm not sure when I started my love affair with these sweet leaves. Definitely not when I was younger because my mom does not even know basil until I cooked a meal for her. Maybe it was with pesto pastas, even though I did not know then that the green stuff was basil.

Because we love this 'holy herb' so much and Hubs always craves for my Tomato Pasta with Basil, I decided at one point to buy a pot of plant to grow in our (non-existent) backyard. That way, we have fresh basil anytime of the day. That did not work out though. I got black-thumb. It died in less than a month. So we're back to buying bags of basil from the supermarket again.

I don't know why but I never saw a small bag of basil available nor an option to just get the amount you need and have it bagged and priced after. It's always prepacked in amounts good enough for at least 4 dishes, considering I cook for 4 or 5 people. As much as we like basil, we love variety too and didn't think we could eat this everyday. So if we cook basil-based dishes and skip days, it'll take us up to 10 days to consume it. By that time, the leaves are all wilted and soft and brown. Definitely not appetizing anymore.

Owner/Chef Mel Martinez of Cucina ni Bunso shared some tips on how to prolong the life of fresh basil. The easiest and simplest is to turn it into a pesto sauce. I know, it was quiet obvious. But I did not have the  food processor or even an electric blender to do this then. He also shared refreshing drinks to use basil with and will definitely try them out. Will share them with you soon. In the meantime, you can go to his restaurant and get the Bipolar Iced Tea. It's iced tea infused with Basil! Winner!

Back then, to consume the basil leaves in the fridge so as not to waste them, I try to search for new recipes online. My pasta can only go for so many days. We needed something new and I came across the Thai Basil Pork recipe from The Asian Grandmother's Cookbook. Simple and easy. Exactly what I need. I made some small adjustment on the recipe based on what I had on the pantry that time. I could not say though if it tastes anything like the authentic Thai dish since I haven't tried any. All I can say is that this is a keeper and had been cooking this regularly since.

Thai Basil Pork 


2-3 tbsp oil
1/2 kilo ground pork
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
8 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, sliced thinly
1/4 cup water (or beef stock)
2-3 pcs siling labuyo, chopped finely
2 red bell peppers, julienned
2 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1-2 tbsp calamansi juice


1. Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat and add 2-3 tbsp oil. When oil is hot enough, add garlic and onion. Stir-fry for about 30 seconds or until garlic is golden brown.

2. Add meat and continue stirring for 3 to 5 minutes until pork is slightly cooked. Add water or beef stock, just enough to cover the meat.

3. Cover the pan and let it simmer for 2-3minutes

4. When the liquid had almost dried up, add oyster sauce, soy sauce, and siling labuyo. Mix well.

5. Reduce heat and add basil leaves and bell peppers. Stir and continue cooking for 1 more minute.

6. Add a few drops of calamansi juice right before serving. You can add more if you think it's too salty, although this is best eaten with the saltiness and heat from the chili fighting on your palate.

7. Serve over hot warm rice. You can add a sunny side up egg if you want to.

Yield: 4-6 Servings


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