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Pad Prik Haeng Recipe (Thai Spicy Crispy Chicken)

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This gai pad prik haeng recipe creates a delicious Thai spicy crispy chicken stir-fry that’s perfect as a weeknight dinner for those who love fresh and spicy flavors. It’s a quick and easy Thai dish with fried chicken, dried chilies, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, all coated in a sweet and hot sauce stir-fry sauce.

Pad prik haeng, a Thai crispy chicken stir-fry, served with steamed jasmine rice.

This is one of my favorite Thai chicken recipes, and if you love spicy chicken, you’re going to want it on repeat. You can pair this dish with a serving of steamed jasmine rice, these spicy fried chicken drumsticks, or enjoy a fresh spicy Thai chicken salad during the summer!

What is pad prik haeng

Pad prik haeng is a spicy Thai stir-fry dish with dried chilies and a protein like chicken or pork. It’s often enhanced with aromatics like lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, making it a staple in Thai cuisine.


In Thai, pad means stir-fry, and prik haeng refers to dried chilies. Since this recipe is made with fried chicken, you can also call it pad prik heng gai tod, with gai tod referring to the fried chicken.

Another name for this Thai spicy chicken recipe is pad prik gai, where pad means stir-fry, prik means chili, and gai means chicken.

Pad prik chicken recipe

Everyone knows the classic chicken pad Thai, but this Thai spicy chicken stir-fry might be one you’ve never tried or even heard of. It’s not a dish you’ll easily find at street food markets in Thailand or even in Thai restaurants.

If it’s such a delicious and easy chicken stir-fry, why isn’t it available everywhere?

Well, it’s because it’s not as quick to prepare as some Thai street food dishes like pad krapow chicken and Thai garlic pepper chicken. The first step involves frying the dried chilies, lemongrass, and chicken. But the extra cooking time is absolutely worth it, trust me!

Close-up of Thai spicy crispy chicken, or pad prik gai.

This protein-rich crispy Thai chicken gets a golden brown crust while remaining juicy and tender on the inside. Everything is cooked in the most delicious sweet and spicy sauce that’s also full of tasty aromatic herbs.

If you’re enjoying this pad prik gai stir-fry with children, you can easily reduce the spiciness by adjusting the chilies to your liking. You can also tweak the other flavors while cooking. Be sure to taste the stir-fry sauce and feel free to adjust the flavors as needed – that’s what cooking Thai food is all about!

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Ingredients for pad prik haeng: soy sauce, dried chilies, sugar, chicken, water, salt, crispy flour, chilies, garlic, and kaffir lime leaves.
  • Chicken – Skin-on chicken filet or chicken thighs are my preferred choice for stir-fried spicy chicken.
  • Crispy flour – The chicken pieces are coated in a crispy flour (e.g. tempura flour, rice flour, and cornstarch) to give it a crispy layer.
  • Palm sugarPalm sugar, a popular natural sweetener in Thai cuisine, adds a caramel-like sweetness that’s different from white and brown sugar.
  • Oyster sauceOyster sauce is a thick, savory sauce made from oyster extracts, perfect for adding a rich, umami depth to stir-fries and marinades.
  • Light soy sauce – This type of Thai soy sauce adds a salty flavor to the stir-fry sauce.
  • Kaffir lime leaves – These are also known as makrut lime leaves. Any leftovers of these citrus flavored leaves can be frozen.
  • Thai chili flakes – Red pepper flakes are easy-to-make at home by crushing dried chilies with a granite mortar and pestle.
  • Dried chilies – Add chilies to taste according to your spice level.
  • Garlic
  • Water
  • Salt

Short recipe video

@hungryinthailand.com

Delicious Thai kai pad prik haeng recipe! So tasty, so delicious and the best of all is the amazing sauce, mmm! 🇹🇭🌶️🥰 #thaifoodlover #thairecipe #spicyfood #thailand

♬ love nwantinti (ah ah ah) – CKay

How to make pad prik heng

  1. Step 1: In a large bowl, mix the chicken with salt and your preferred crispy flour (e.g. tempura flour). Use your hands to coat the chicken.

  2. Step 2: Quickly fry the dried chilies in a wok with hot oil for about 10 seconds, then remove them using a spider strainer.

  3. Step 3: Fry the kaffir lime leaves in the same oil for 10 seconds.

  4. Step 4: Fry the coated chicken pieces until they are golden and crisp. Keep them separated while frying to avoid sticking, and allow excess oil to drain off before adding them to the stir-fry later.

  5. Step 5: In a separate wok, heat a tablespoon of oil and sauté the garlic and dried chili flakes until golden.

  6. Step 6: Add water, oyster sauce, light soy sauce, and palm sugar to the wok. Stir continuously until the sugar dissolves and the spicy sauce thickens into a sticky, bubbly consistency.

  7. Step 7: Add the fried chilies, kaffir lime leaves, and fried chicken pieces to the sauce. Stir well to coat everything evenly, and serve immediately.

Kitchen tools

  1. Measuring spoons and cups
  2. Thai mortar and pestle (optional, for making chili flakes)
  3. Cutting board and a sharp knife
  4. Large bowl
  5. Deep frying pan
  6. Spider strainer
  7. Non-stick wok or cast-iron skillet
  8. Spatula or stirring spoon

Tips for the best crispy Thai chicken

  • Maintain the ideal oil temperature: For deep-frying chicken, the ideal oil temperature is between 350°F to 375°F (175°C to 190°C). If needed, use a kitchen thermometer. Use a neutral oil with high smoke point, like vegetable oil or canola oil.
  • Avoid overcrowding the pan: If needed, deep-fry and stir-fry in batches.
  • Protein variations: You can swap Thai fried chicken for pork, beef, tofu, or any seafood or protein if you wish.
  • Safety: When frying chilies and lime leaves, the oil might splash. Maintain a distance and use a lid to protect yourself if needed.

How to serve pad prik gai

To best enjoy this stir fried spicy chicken, serve it immediately to ensure the chicken remains crispy and spicy. Pair it with jasmine rice or Thai sticky rice for a complete meal. Finish with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro or green onions and toasted sesame seeds to add freshness and a nutty crunch.

Storing and reheating tips

Storing: Gai pad prik haeng stir-fry is best enjoyed immediately to enjoy the spicy crispy chicken while it’s still crisp. If you have leftovers, let them cool to room temperature and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where they will be good for up to two days.

Reheating: To reheat, warm your Thai spicy crispy chicken on the stove over medium heat. You might want to add a tablespoon of oil to help restore some crispiness.

Tip: For a completely new chicken dinner, toss the reheated Thai crispy chicken with fresh vegetables or noodles to create a different meal.

Authentic Thai chicken recipes

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Pad Prik Haeng Recipe (Thai Spicy Crispy Chicken)

Pad prik haeng, a Thai crispy chicken stir-fry, served with steamed jasmine rice.
This quick and easy pad prik haeng recipe delivers a delicious Thai spicy crispy chicken stir-fry, ideal for a spicy chicken dinner any night of the week.
Praew
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Course
Serving Size 2 people

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon oil plus extra for deep-frying
  • 500 g chicken cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup crispy flour e.g. tempura flour, cornstarch
  • 0.5 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup dried chilies to taste
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves center vein removed
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 0.5 teaspoon dried chili flakes to taste
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1.5 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup palm sugar

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, mix the chicken with salt and your preferred crispy flour (e.g. tempura flour). Use your hands to coat the chicken.
  • Quickly fry the dried chilies in a wok with hot oil for about 10 seconds, then remove them using a spider strainer.
  • Fry the kaffir lime leaves in the same oil for 10 seconds.
  • Fry the coated chicken pieces until they are golden and crisp. Keep them separated while frying to avoid sticking, and allow excess oil to drain off before adding them to the stir-fry later.
  • In a separate wok, heat a tablespoon of oil and sauté the garlic and dried chili flakes until golden.
  • Add water, oyster sauce, light soy sauce, and palm sugar to the wok. Stir continuously until the sugar dissolves and the spicy sauce thickens into a sticky, bubbly consistency.
  • Add the fried chilies, kaffir lime leaves, and fried chicken pieces to the sauce. Stir well to coat everything evenly, and serve immediately.

Video

@hungryinthailand.com

Delicious Thai kai pad prik haeng recipe! So tasty, so delicious and the best of all is the amazing sauce, mmm! 🇹🇭🌶️🥰 #thaifoodlover #thairecipe #spicyfood #thailand

♬ love nwantinti (ah ah ah) - CKay

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline. 
  • This recipe works with any protein - chicken, beef, pork, tofu, you name it!
  • Adjust dried chilies and red chili flakes to your personal spice-level.
  • Use a neutral oil with high smoke point.

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