Thai Chicken and Basil (Gai Pad Grapow)
1 tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil
3 to 4 bird’s eye chiles, finely chopped (for medium heat, adjust as desired, can substitute 1 serrano pepper)
3 large shallots, thinly sliced (or substitute 1 medium sweet onion)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound green beans, trimmed, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1-1/2 pounds ground chicken (I grind my own!)
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
2 handfuls Thai basil leaves, chopped
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 chiles, shallots, and garlic. Stir fry until golden, no more than a minute. Add the green beans and stir-fry until cooked but still crunchy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the ground chicken, using a wooden spoon or spatula to break up the meat into small chunks. Stir-fry until chicken is cooked through.
Add the fish sauce and sugar to the pan and stir to distribute. Taste, and add more fish sauce or sugar if desired. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the basil leaves and stir-fry until completely wilted. Remove from heat.
Serve over jasmine rice with more sliced chiles in fish sauce or chile flakes on the side, as desired.
To say that I love Thai food is a bit of an understatement. I think I may have actually been born in the wrong country. I only started eating it a couple of years ago, but in that short time I’ve probably tried a few dozen dishes, all of which I’ve liked or loved.
If you’ve never made Thai food, perhaps because you think it’s difficult to replicate in your own kitchen, may I suggest starting with this recipe? It’s simple simple and so astonishingly delicious, it has given me all the confidence I need to try more of my favorite cuisine at home. Yeah baby.