Saturday, March 7, 2009

Gai Pad Krapow

- serves 2 -
Ideally, this dish should be made with holy basil, which is not to be confused with sweet basil or even the purple-stemmed Thai basil. You'll know it by its scalloped edges and clove-like aroma, but you may have a hard time tracking it down. Regular sweet basil tastes just as good in this dish, if not quite so "authentic."
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Chilis, finely chopped (use 2-3 serrano peppers for a very mild heat; 2-3 bird's eye chilis for a medium heat)
1 large shallot, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 pound green beans, trimmed, chopped in 1¼-inch lengths
1/2 pound ground chicken
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 bunch basil, leaves only
To serve:
Boiled rice
Fried eggs, 1 per person (optional)
Nam pla prik (recipe follows) or fresh lime wedges
1. Heat the oil over high heat in a wok or large frying pan. When you can see waves forming in the hot oil, add the chilis, shallots, and garlic and stir-fry until golden, about 30 seconds.

2. Add the green beans and stir-fry until cooked but still crunchy, 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Add the ground chicken, using a wooden spoon or spatula to break up the meat into small pieces. Stir-fry until chicken is cooked through.

4. Add the fish sauce and sugar to the pan, and stir to distribute. Taste, and add more fish sauce or sugar if desired.

5. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the basil leaves and stir-fry until completely wilted. Remove from heat.
6. Serve with boiled rice, fried egg (optional), and nam pla prik or lime wedges.

Nam Pla Prik (Chili Fish Sauce)

No Thai table is complete without this all-purpose condiment. Drizzle it over rice and noodles, pour it over grilled meats and seafood, or use it in place of plain fish sauce in recipes.
Fish sauce
Fresh lime juice
Chilis, finely chopped
Shallots, finely sliced
Mix fish sauce and lime juice to taste (a typical ratio is 3-4 parts fish sauce to 1 part lime juice) and pour over chilis and shallots. Consume immediately, or pour into a clean jar and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.

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