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Tofu with Holy Basil | Vegan Pad Gaprow | ผัดกะเพราเต้าหู้

Tofu with Holy Basil | Vegan Pad Gaprow | ผัดกะเพราเต้าหู้

Have you ever found something so good you just want to share it with the world?


Well, then you know exactly how I feel about pad gaprow.  This stir fried dish with holy basil amazes me.  It has such a unique taste, owing in large part to the distinctive peppery, almost licorice-like flavor of holy basil, but also to the spice from the Thai chilis and the subtle sweetness from the dark soy sauce.  Pad gaprow is unlike anything else I’ve tasted, and as such, I always feel compelled to share it with others.

My lovely coworkers bore the brunt of this food sharing last year.  They had never tasted holy basil before, so of course I had to initiate them!  I brought in gai pad gaprow with jasmine rice for everyone to sample over lunch.  One of my coworkers, though, was vegan and I couldn’t leave her out of the holy basil experience!  So the night before, I set out to adapt my gai pad gaprow recipe for her, using tofu instead of chicken and only thin and dark soy sauces for flavoring.

Tofu with Holy Basil | Vegan Pad Gaprow | ผัดกะเพราเต้าหู้

Tofu with Holy Basil | Vegan Pad Gaprow | ผัดกะเพราเต้าหู้

This vegan version of pad gaprow turned out well, but it wasn’t quite as addictive as the original chicken version.  So over the past year, I’ve played around with this recipe a little more.  I wound up pan frying the tofu in strips before chopping it into coarse pieces to give the dish some texture.  I also adjusted the amounts of the soy sauces so that the sweetness of the dark soy sauce comes through, but doesn’t overpower the saltiness of the thin soy sauce.

This weekend, using the last of my holy basil from the market, I made both the tofu and chicken versions of pad gaprow.  I served them side by side to the boyfriend.  Fortunately, they both got big thumbs up from him!  The tofu version isn’t quite as succulent as the meat version simply because of the nature of tofu, but I have to say, it’s still pretty awesome.  And if you’ve never had holy basil before, it’s something you absolutely must try!

Tofu with Holy Basil | Vegan Pad Gaprow | ผัดกะเพราเต้าหู้

Tofu with Holy Basil | Vegan Pad Gaprow | ผัดกะเพราเต้าหู้

Makes 2 servings

Tofu with Holy Basil | Vegan Pad Gaprow | ผัดกะเพราเต้าหู้


  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 red Thai chili pepper, chopped finely
  • 1 Tablespoon red jalapeno, cut into thin strips or slices
  • 1 cup firm tofu, pan fried and then chopped
  • 1/2 cup holy basil leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon thin soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce


  1. Slice approximately 8-10 ounces of tofu into thin slices. Blot dry with a paper towel and then pan fry in oil over medium-high heat. Once the tofu is golden brown on both sides, remove from pan and chop into coarse, bite-sized pieces. You should have approximately 1 cup.
  2. Chop the garlic and Thai chili finely.
  3. Heat a wok over high heat and then add some oil. Stir fry the garlic and chili until the garlic is golden brown.
  4. Add 1 cup of the chopped tofu, 1 Tablespoon of red jalapeno slices, and both soy sauces. Stir fry together until the tofu is well coated with the sauces and the jalapenos are cooked through.
  5. Add the holy basil leaves, mix into the dish, and quickly take the pan off the heat. Serve with jasmine rice and enjoy!


5 comments… add one
  • Phyllis Zboril July 12, 2013, 12:43 am

    This was wonderful! I’ve been a vegetarian for nearly a year, but I miss my kai gaprow. This was better than I imagined it could be. My Lao husband loved it, too. I look forward to trying some of your other recipes!

    • Rachel July 12, 2013, 1:03 am

      So glad you guys liked it, Phyllis!

  • Carla @ Gluten Free Recipe Box July 1, 2013, 8:16 am

    Looks yummy! – and I can make this gluten-free, as well.

    By the way, I see that you’re the Answers.com thai food expert. I’m the gluten free expert. Nice to meet you!

    • Rachel July 2, 2013, 4:45 am

      Nice to meet you too, Carla! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Eileen June 7, 2013, 5:49 pm

    Hooray for totally vegan Thai food! I am definitely going to have to try this one out. It looks like a trip to go get different kinds of soy sauces is in order… :)

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