Pad Gra Prow

This is Chef Joshna Maharaj’s student-friendly recipe for Pad Gra Prow, a classic Thai dish, with options to make it accessible for vegetarians and/or cash-strapped students

Pad Gra Prow stir fry with rice in a bowl

This is Chef Joshna Maharaj’s student-friendly version of a classic Thai dish. Pad Gra Prow which translates to Thai basil beef (“prow”) is an easy, flavourful and satisfying stir fry. She’s giving some substitution options in this Pad Gra Prow recipe to make it more accessible for time  and cash-strapped students. “This dish is simple and delicious,” says Chef Joshna, “and the stir fry is a great cooking technique to learn. Try it out for yourself, and make a version of Pad Gra Prow that you love!”

Cookware, Tools and Utensils

This is the kitchen equipment that you’ll need to make this recipe

  • Chef knife
  • Spatula or wooden spoon
  • Mixing bowl–small
  • Cutting board
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoon(s)
  • Mortar and pestle (or heavy object for bashing)
  • Sauté pan–large (or Wok)
  • Non-stick frying pan (aka skillet)–small
  • Rice cooker or pot–medium


Serves 3

5-10 Thai chilies, or to taste (or chili paste)

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 bell pepper, cut into short pieces

½ small onion, diced

1lb ground beef (or pork, chicken, plant-based meat, finely chopped mushrooms)

1 Tbsp oyster sauce or hoisin sauce

1 Tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp fish sauce (or tamari sauce, or Bragg’s liquid amino)

2 Tbsp water

1½ tsp sugar or honey

1½ cup basil or coriander leaves, loosely packed, plus more for garnish

Vegetable oil, as needed 

3 eggs (1 per person)

Jasmine rice for serving

Chef’s Tip: For a vegetarian version, substitute plant-based meat or finely chopped mushrooms for the ground meat, and tamari sauce or Bragg’s liquid amino for the fish sauce.


1. Pound or process Thai chilies and garlic into a fine paste (using a chili garlic sauce will work too!). Combine oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, water and sugar; stir to dissolve the sugar/honey.

2. In a wok or a large sauté pan, saute the garlic-chilli paste in a little vegetable oil over medium-high heat until the garlic starts to turn golden.

3. Add meat/mushrooms and toss until they’re no longer in big clumps. Add the sauce and continue tossing until the meat/mushrooms are almost done. Add onions and bell pepper and toss until the meat/mushrooms are done. Remove from heat and stir in the basil or coriander. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

4. Heat about 1 cm of vegetable oil in a small non-stick pan or a wok over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot (you want the oil very hot, especially if you like runny yolk), crack the egg directly into the pan and let it fry until the edges are browned and bubbly.

5. Serve the stir-fry over rice and top it with the fried egg. Garnish with some fresh basil or coriander and serve.

What do your tastebuds think about this Pad Gra Prow recipe? Which version did you make? Is it a make again or maybe not…why?

Let us know using the hashtag #WholesomeEating and mention @JoshnaMaharaj @CommunalLunch on Instagram.

(Header image: Allrecipes)

Joshna is a chef, author & activist who cares a lot about people's relationship with food. She works to rebuild food systems in public institutions putting hospitality and sustainability as a top priority.