KHAI PAD GAPRAO
Chicken With Holy Basil
This is a quick and easy dish to make. The holy basil has a "hot peppery" taste, but if you can't get it then the standard European basil is a reasonable substitute, though you should add a little freshly ground black pepper in this case. Prik chi fa - called the Thai jalapeno is the best chili to use, but if you can't get it standard Mexican jalapenos will do very well as a substitute. Canned jalapenos are comparatively bland however.
2 tbl chopped garlic
2 tbl chopped shallots
2 tbl chopped mixed red & green jalapenos (prik chi fa)
1 tsp green peppercorns, whole
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tbl palm sugar
1 cup coarsely chopped holy basil leaves (bai gaprao)
1 med. onion, quartered and sliced (optional)
1 lb. ground or minced chicken
The garlic, shallots, peppers and peppercorns are ground together in a mortar & pestle or a food processor. In a hot wok, with a little cooking oil, briefly stir fry this paste to bring out the flavour and aroma. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to stir until the chicken is cooked through.
For luncheon pad bai gaprao can be served over plain rice, or over a fried egg or egg crepe, placed on the rice. For dinner it goes well with the hot and sour tom yum soups, as well as curries and other Thai food. Add the usual Thai condiments (chilis in fish sauce (prik nam pla), ground chillis (prik phom) and sugar), as well, perhaps as ground black pepper.
Variants It can be made with chopped pork, or even a chopped beef base, though of course the flavours are quite different. You can also experiment with replacing the meat with hard tofu marinated in a mixture of sweet soy, fish sauce and ground ginger, say, or a vegetable mix of your choice (I like to mix broccoli and cauliflower florets, with julienned carrots and wing beans), to make a vegetarian pad bai-gaprao.