If you’re looking for the closest thing to Thai comfort food, it’s pad krapow moo. Not all are made equal though. Talk to anyone from Thailand and they’ll always tell you their favourite place to have this plate of stir-fried pork (or chicken) cooked with fistfuls of holy basil.
A good krapow should be generously spiked with chilli and slightly smoky from a well-used wok. The holy basil should be thrown in right at the end so it’s slightly wilted but not destroyed. Then there’s the deep-fried egg, a revelation that makes it hard to return to the normal western-style fried egg. Steamy, fragrant jasmine rice counters the stir-fries strong flavour. Normal long-grained rice just doesn’t cut it.
8 cloves of garlic
4 birds-eye chillies (more if you can handle the heat)
500g minced pork (or chicken)
10 tablespoons of sunflower oil
4 tablespoons of oyster sauce
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 teaspoons of fish sauce
1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
2 handfuls of Thai holy basil
300g jasmine rice
Cook your jasmine rice in a rice cooker or saucepan.
Throw your chillies and garlic into a stone pestle and mortar and grind until both ingredients are broken up but haven’t yet formed a paste.
Add 3 tablespoons oil to your wok and heat up a high heat until it starts to smoke. Add the garlic and chilli mix and stir continuously ensuring that it doesn’t burn. Throw in your pork or chicken mix and continue to stir for 3-4 minutes. Lower the heat and place a lid over to keep warm.
Grab another wok and add the remaining oil. Heat until smoky, then crack the eggs in. They should bubble and spit, so be careful. Use a large spoon to baste the top of the eggs. Cook until the whites are golden and crispy, but the yolk is still a little runny. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen paper to mob up the grease.
Back with your stir-fry. Add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, white pepper and the holy basil and stir together until the leaves have wilted slightly. Remove from the heat.
Plate a generous pile of rice, some stir-fry and top with one of the deep-fried eggs. Serve immediately.
Photo: Ryan Snyder