Friday, March 06, 2009

take-out takedown: gai pad krapow

One of my favorite lazy night take-out meals is the classic Thai dish Gai Pad Krapow, a chicken and basil stir-fry. My one complaint about my neighborhood Thai restaurants, however, is that this dish always seems to be swimming in grease. It doesn't stop us from eating it, but I was pretty thrilled to stumble upon a recipe for the dish recently on Serious Eats. It was far simpler than I even realized, and made at home I could completely control how greasy it got. Even better, the Serious Eats version threw in some extra added green with the string beans, so it could truly become a one-pan meal.

J-Cat exclaimed that it tasted really authentic to him, then got a mouthful of chili pepper and didn't say anything else for a while. Recipe after the jump:

Adapted from Serious Eats

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
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed, chopped in 1-inch lengths
1 pound ground chicken
4 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon 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)


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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