We enjoyed a wonderful three weeks in Thailand last year, and since then we’ve been more interested in Thai cuisine than ever. Recently published cookbook, Baan: Recipes and Stories from my Thai Home by Kay Plunkett-Hogge, is making us salivate for all the delicious Thai recipes. Read my review of the book here.
With permission from publisher Pavilion Books, we are so excited to share three recipes extracted from the book. We’ve already shared the first, a delicious party snack called Ma Hor (Galloping Horses).
Today’s recipe is one of our absolute favourite Thai dishes, Pad Krapow Moo (Pork Stir-fried with Holy Basil).
Pad Krapow Moo (Pork Stir-fried with Holy Basil)
This is one of my favourite things to eat in the world, especially when served lart khao kai dao, as a one-dish meal over rice with a deep-fried egg to top it off. It is one of the first Thai recipes I learned to cook. Even so, I wasn’t surprised to receive a text from David Thompson when he read my version, that said: ‘Beans?! Beans!! If you were here now…’
This is something of a running joke between us, because – like many chefs – David is a purist, and rightly revered for his knowledge of Thai food. He was referring to a version of pad krapow made solely with nam pla. No soy and certainly no green beans. And he is both right and wrong.
There are no Larousse-like standard recipe texts in Thai cooking. Instead, as with Italian food, there’s enormous variation not only regionally but from cook to cook. And nowhere is this better demonstrated than with pad krapow.
I picked up the offending version from a road-side cook in Kanchanaburi. I like the deep savoury qualities given by the soy and the texture of the green beans. I also like the ‘pure’ fish sauce version David and I like to argue about.
I most frequently make this with pork, but you can use beef, chicken, prawns (shrimp), duck, tofu, mushrooms, you name it. You can even use the Moo Grop (pork belly).
And, while you really should finely chop up the meat yourself, when I make this for my lunch, I just buy minced (ground) pork from the supermarket!
- 4-6 Thai bird’s eye chillies
- 1 large red chilli, cut into chunks
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- a pinch of sea salt
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- a pinch of caster (superfine) sugar
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 300 g / 10 1⁄2 oz pork, minced (ground)
- 100 g / 3 1⁄2 oz green beans, topped, tailed and cut into 1-cm / 1⁄2-inch pieces
- a very large handful of holy basil leaves – the more the merrier (see Recipe Notes)
If you can’t find holy basil (bai krapow), you can use Thai sweet basil instead. Worst-case scenario, I have even made this with regular basil – but it isn’t quite the same. If you do, just don’t call it Pad Krapow.
[Kavita] The second version of the recipe replaces the two soy sauces with 3 tbsp of fish sauce (nam pla), and omits the green beans. Having made the recipe several times, we now make a hybrid version with both soy sauce and fish sauce.
In a pestle and mortar, pound the chillies, garlic and salt to a rough paste. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix the soy sauces and 2 tbsp water, and stir in the sugar.
Heat a wok until its really hot, then add the oil. 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, then add the green beans.
Add the liquid and stir through, allowing it to bubble up before adding nearly all the basil and letting it wilt into the dish.
Serve over steamed jasmine rice, with Kai Dao (Deep-fried Eggs), as pictured, and the remaining basil leaves scattered on top.
Kavey Eats received a review copy of Baan: Recipes and Stories from my Thai Home. Published by Pavilion Books, RRP £20. Image credit: Louise Haggar.