Kay Plunkett-Hogge grew up in Thailand and is an expert Thai Chef. Therefore this recipe from her can be counted on for its authenticity and deliciousness. Kay is a real cook. You know, one of those people who can cook in a pinny with a glass of wine in her hand and carry on multiple conversations at the same time without breaking a sweat. You can find out more about her and more great recipes at her website.
Pad Krapow Moo
Pork stir-fried with holy basil
This is one of my favourites, a real Bangkok staple, and my ultimate comfort food whenever I find I’m missing Thailand. I like to serve it as a single meal over a plate of plain rice, with a Thai-style fried egg on top, just waiting to ooze out its yolk. It provides a creamy counter-balance to the salty-spiciness of the dish.
I’m using pork here, but really you can use anything: prawns, duck, beef, chicken, tofu, and so on. I’m also mincing it just to speed up the cooking a little, but you’ll find this made with the meat finely chopped, sliced — you name it. It’s all a question of texture, and what you prefer.
Finally, if you cannot find Thai holy basil, you can substitute it with bai horapha (or sweet basil), or whatever basil you can find locally.
The recipe here serves two as a single dish, and should make enough for four as a part of a larger meal.
6 garlic cloves, peeled
4–6 bird’s eye chillies
1 large red chilli, cut into chunks
a pinch of sea salt
200–300g pork, minced by hand
100g green beans, topped, tailed and cut into 1cm pieces
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon nam pla
a good pinch of sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
a large handful of picked bai krapow, or holy basil leaves — the more the merrier
2 eggs ( optional)
extra vegetable oil, for deep frying eggs ( optional)
In a pestle and mortar, pound the chillies, garlic and salt together into a rough paste, and set aside.
Now mix the soy sauces, nam pla and water together in a small bowl, and stir in the sugar. (This is a short cut to speed things up at the wok. Properly, you should add them individually, but I don’t really think it makes much of a difference.)
Heat the oil in a wok until its really hot. Throw in the chilli-garlic paste and stir-fry for a few seconds — until you can really smell everything in the pan, but not long enough to colour the garlic. Now add the pork and stir-fry until it’s cooked through.
Now add the liquid and stir through, allowing it to bubble up before adding the basil and wilting into the dish.
Serve over steamed jasmine rice.
For that extra Thai touch, heat about 2cm’s depth of vegetable oil in another wok and, when it’s super-hot, crack in an egg. Fry until the white is crispy on the outside, and the yolk running within — it should take about a minute. Drain, and serve on top of your pad krapow and rice.