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Pad Cha with Chicken

Discover spicy and delicious Thai gai pad cha with chicken. It combines fresh green beans, pickled krachai root, and aromatic spices tossed in a spicy sweet homemade sauce. Whip the meal together in no time for a fuss-free dinner you can tailor to your preferences.

A plate of pad cha with chicken served with steamed white rice.

What is Pad Cha?

Pad cha is a Thai stir-fried dish made with your choice of protein (usually chicken, beef, or shrimp), vegetables, and seasonings. The ingredients stir fry in a wok to make a popular dish in Thailand known for its bold flavors and aromatic spices. Our chicken and vegetable stir-fry is sure to please as a quick weeknight meal with the perfect pop of heat!

What You Need to Make this Recipe

  • Garlic: I suggest using four garlic cloves, but measure with your heart!
  • Chiles: Fresh bird’s eye chilies are best, but if you can’t find them, use rehydrated dried Arbol chilies.
  • Chicken Thighs: Thinly sliced boneless chicken thighs are the perfect protein for our pad cha recipe.
  • Peppercorns: Fresh young peppercorns are hard to find, so I use one teaspoon of dried green Sichuan peppercorns to flavor the dish. You can also find pickled peppercorns in Asian markets.
  • Vegetables: Fresh green beans are an excellent addition to the chicken.
  • Krachai Roots: Grachai, or krachai, is often called fingerroot in English; julienne fresh krachai root for the best results. Otherwise, purchase the brined krachai from a local Asian market. When measuring the store-bought krachai, pack them loosely into the measuring cup.
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves: These leaves add a unique flavor; scrunch the leaves in your palm before use to release more of the natural oils. And don’t worry about waste, kaffir lime leaves can be frozen after use. They change in color after freezing but retain all their flavor.
  • Stir Fry Sauce: Combine oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar for a spicy-sweet combination.

Additions and Substitutions

  • Protein: While our recipe calls for juicy chicken thighs, pad cha is often traditionally prepared as a mixed seafood stir fry with ingredients like squid, fish, shrimp, crab, or clam.
  • Vegetables: Replace or include other vegetables such as bell peppers, bamboo shoots, snap peas, and baby corn.

How to Make Pad Cha

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Add the garlic cloves and chilis to a mortar and pestle or food processor to create a paste. Set it aside.

Ingredients for the pad cha paste in a mortar and pestle.

Step 2: Warm the oil in a wok until smoking. Cook the chicken in batches for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken and set it aside.

Chicken searing in a wok with oil

Step 3: Add the paste, peppercorns, and more oil if needed.

Garlic and chilies cooking in a wok with oil.

Step 4: Then, add green beans and cook for one minute. Stir in the krachai roots and kaffir lime leaves; cook for another minute.

Krachai roots added to the other vegetables and chilies in a wok.

Step 5: Return the chicken to the pan and simmer for 4 minutes.

Chicken added back to the cooking vegetables in the wok.

Step 6: Combine the oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar in a small bowl and add it to the pan. Continue cooking for another 4-6 minutes.

Sauce cooking with the chicken and the other ingredients in the wok.

Expert Tips

  • Stir-frying requires a hot wok, so prepare the pan by warming it over high heat before adding the oil and other ingredients.
  • Add the vegetables in stages, starting with the harder ones and finishing with the softer ones.
  • Stir-fry the ingredients quickly to avoid overcooking them.

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A plate of pad cha with chicken served with steamed white rice.

Serving Suggestions

  • Jasmine Rice, Brown Rice
  • Pad Thai Noodles
  • Som Tam
  • Tom Yum
  • Spring Rolls

What to do With the Leftovers

  • Refrigerate  Store the leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
  • Freeze Once pad cha cools, transfer it to a freezer-safe container or bag for storage. It will freeze for up to 2-3 months.
  • Thaw  Defrost the stir fry in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Reheat  Reheat the leftovers in a wok or microwave.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Pad Cha mean?

The word ‘Pad’ refers to anything that is fried, and because of that, this word appears in the name of many popular Thai dishes. One of those meals is pad cha, which gets its name from the sound of sizzling ingredients when they hit a pan.

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A plate of pad cha with chicken served with steamed white rice.

Pad Cha with Chicken

Tressa Jamil
Thai Pad Cha with chicken features green beans, krachai roots, and a spicy sweet sauce. Customize this easy meal for a hassle-free dinner.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Thai
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 375 kcal
Ingredients
  
  • 2 bird's eye chilies, crushed
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 pound chicken thighs, thinly sliced at an angle
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, green
  • 1 cup green beans, cut at a bias
  • ¼ cup krachai roots
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
Instructions
 
  • Add the garlic cloves and chilis to a mortar and pestle or food processor to create a paste. Set it aside.
  • Warm the oil in a wok until smoking. Cook the chicken in batches for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken and set it aside.
  • Add the paste, peppercorns, and more oil if needed. Then, add green beans and cook for one minute. Stir in the krachai roots and kaffir lime leaves; cook for another minute.
  • Return the chicken to the pan and simmer for 4 minutes. Combine the oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar in a small bowl and add it to the pan. Continue cooking for another 4-6 minutes.
Notes
Cooking Tips: 
  • Stir-frying requires a hot wok, so prepare the pan by warming it over high heat before adding the oil and other ingredients.
  •  Add the vegetables in stages, starting with the harder ones and finishing with the softer ones.
  •  Stir-fry the ingredients quickly to avoid overcooking them.
 
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 1 Serving | Calories: 375 kcal | Carbohydrates: 23 g | Protein: 25 g | Fat: 20 g | Saturated Fat: 4 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9 g | Cholesterol: 195 mg | Sodium: 891 mg | Potassium: 462 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 4 g | Vitamin A: 7 IU | Vitamin C: 22 mg | Calcium: 9 mg | Iron: 15 mg
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
Recipe Rating




Benjamin Lee

Friday 26th of May 2023

This Pad Cha recipe is a game-changer! It was quick and easy, I loved the flavor combination.

Tressa Jamil

Friday 26th of May 2023

I make this recipe for my husband and I after the kids go to sleep since it's a bit too spicy for them, but I seriously crave it all the time.

Ethan Thompson

Friday 26th of May 2023

Pad Cha is a perfect balance of spicy and sweet. Loved every bite!

Tressa Jamil

Friday 26th of May 2023

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment; you've got to love a good sweet and spicy meal!