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20 Baht Khaw Pad Gai | Thai Stir-Fried Rice Recipe


20 Baht Khaw Pad Gai | Thai Fried Rice Recipe

“Khaw pad gai,” Ja, my Thai friend I had met at UNC, said to me. I repeated it, hoping my tones were right, but as soon as I the words came out of my mouth, the Thai name for chicken fried rice escaped my memory as well.

Thankfully she wrote it on a slip of paper so I could look at it right before I ordered. Ja had guided me around Bangkok my first few days there, but now I was on my own.

I had walked by a street vendor near my apartment a few times, and quite a few people were always sitting in the red metal chairs to prove that this vendor was doing something right. I decided that this would be the spot where I would order my first Thai dish by speaking Thai, all by myself.

I quickly read the now crumpled piece of paper with the magic words before approaching the cute, skinny, older Thai cook. I said, “Khaw pad gai,” to her as clearly as a week-old ex-pat living in Bangkok could, and sat down.

I wasn’t too worried about maybe saying it wrong and getting the wrong dish, since I hadn’t found a Thai dish I didn’t like yet. But I wanted to feel like maybe I was fitting in to my new life by ordering lunch all by myself like a big girl.

After a few minutes, she brought me a white plastic flowered plate heaped with rice, chicken, tomatoes, green onion and egg bits all mixed together and held in a tight embrace with cilantro, lime, fish sauce, a bit of sugar and some Thai peppers I sprinkled on top. Cucumber slices decorated the edge along with a metal fork and spoon.

Just what I ordered.

I smiled with contentment and ate every spoonful very slowly just to savor my first score in Bangkok street food.

Then when I got up to leave I asked the woman, “How much?” I expected her to say 30 baht ($1-ish) because that was what I usually paid for street food.

“20 baht,” she said in broken English and gave me a huge smile like she thought I was the cutest, clueless foreigner ever and wanted to give me a break. I smiled back, dropped her the 20 baht and became a regular from that day on.

And today not only can I say khaw pad gai without thinking, but I can cook it too.

Khaw pad gai is simple, and perfect if you have leftover rice from the night before and want to revitalize it. I love to add some spice to it through naam plaa prick (read about it in the recipe), but you can have it spice free as well.

20 Baht Khaw Pad Gai | Thai Stir-Fried Rice Recipe

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Serving Size: 2-3

20 Baht Khaw Pad Gai | Thai Stir-Fried Rice Recipe

Need a simple, fun way to use your leftover rice? Thai Stir-Fried Rice is easy to make and easy to please.


  • 2 cups of day old, dry rice
  • 1/2 cup of diced onion
  • 4 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • 4 green onion stalks chopped into 1/4 in. pieces
  • 2 diced roma tomatoes (or whatever ones you prefer)
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts thinly chopped
  • 3 tsp. of fish sauce or Thai white soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp. of white pepper powder
  • 1 quartered lime,
  • 6 or so cucumber slices
  • handful of cilantro


  1. After chopping everything up, get out your wok and put some cooking oil in it.
  2. Throw in the onion and garlic and saute until brown and you smell a delicious aroma.
  3. Then add the chicken and stir until it's cooked through, but not too long that it gets tough.
  4. Add the rice and tomatoes. Once you get to this step you can see why cooking it in a wok is so much easier because it's harder to make a mess--- like I always do.
  5. Once it's all stirred up, make a crater in the center of the rice mixture. Crack your eggs in the hole and scramble them until done. Then mix the eggs in with the rice.
  6. Add your soy sauces and sugar to taste.
  7. Turn off the heat and mix in your green onion and dash some pepper powder in it as well.
  8. Then make it pretty by adding a sprinkle of cilantro on top, and two or so lime wedges and cucumber slices on the side of each plate.


Feel free to use any kind of meat or seafood you prefer. Or to make it vegetarian, leave out the meat and add in some tofu, or have it as is.

Sometimes I like to add Thai chili sauce or some put ketchup in the fried rice at the end to give it a little more color and spice, but that's up to you.

If you want to be truly authentic, serve it with naam pla prik--a mixture of fish sauce, and diced Thai chilis put in a small bowl for you to add more spice at your own pleasure.




  • Bryan

    Cool site. I have tried to cook Thai at home several times, but all were failed attempts. I even took a cooking class in Thailand!

    • Sherri Phengchard

      Thanks for reading Bryan! It is tricky to get the right flavors, but I hope this site can help you! If you have any questions about cooking Thai let me know!

  • Rochelle

    I made this to compliment your Ginger Chicken recipe, and man was this packed full of flavor! I used shrimp instead of chicken and it was perfect!

    • Sherri Phengchard

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it Rochelle! Shrimp is great in this recipe as well! Good choice!

  • Brittani Howell

    I love this recipe so much! It’s the closest I’ve found to tasting like the street food in the town I was stationed to teach in. Do you by any chance have a good pad ka pao recipe? (I’m probably spelling that wrong.) I’ve been trying to find a good one but I can’t quite get it right.

    • Sherri Pengjad

      Thanks for your sweet comment Brittani! I’m so glad the thai fried rice recipe brought you back to a special time! This is my Pad Krapaw Gai recipe and I hope it helps you make the dish you miss!