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Thai Pad Ga Prao: (version #1)

First added: 2013-01-23; Last edited: 2013-01-27

Michael's "Pad Ga Prao".

Author: Michael A (GS&AS-E&AS).


Pad ga prao is one of the most popular Thai stir fry dishes traditionally made with minced pork and holy basil, topped with a sunny side up egg.  In this recipe, we add vegetables to make it more healthy, omit the egg, and substitute holy basil with Italian sweet basil as it is more commonly available, while having the most similar taste to holy basil.   

Essential Supplies & Ingredients: 

 1 pound of pork, previously frozen (My personal favorites for this is pork shoulder or pork belly, something that will render sufficient fat)
 2 handfuls each of green bell pepper, red bell pepper, bamboo shoots, sweet onions, mushrooms, diced into bite sized pieces

 1-2 slightly compressed handful of basil leaves
 3 cloves of garlic
 3 Thai chiles (or chile de arbol)

Sauce Ingredients

 1 tbsp Thai light soy sauce
 1 tbsp Thai sweet dark soy sauce
 1 tbsp Thai fish sauce
 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
 2 tbsp water


 Prepare Ingredients: 

1) Dice all the vegetables into bite sized pieces until you get around 2 handfuls of each and set aside.

2) Mince finely the garlic and slice thinly the Thai chiles, set aside.

3) Take the frozen pork and defrost it in the microwave on low power until it just starts to melt.  It should still be mostly firm.  This is so that it is easy to dice into fine pieces.  Using a sharp knife, cut the pork across the grain into thin slices (as thin as you can get).  Take the resulting slices and thinly cut them into thin matchsticks.  Once this is done, finally take the thin matchsticks and further slice them finely into a mince.  If some pieces are too big, work your knife around the meat and mince further.

4) Pluck basil leaves from the stems and set aside.

5) Mix all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

 Stir Fry: 

6) Heat a wok over high heat.  The wok should at least be hot enough so that a small drop of water placed on the wok evaporates in 1 sec.  For a seasoned wok, you should heat it until it is just starting to smoke.

7)  Add around 1-2 tbsp of oil.  Swirl it around to coat the wok, and immediately add the minced pork.  Initially leave the pork to cook for around 15 sec, and then constantly stir it around until the color changes from pink to brown.  This should only take a minute or two.  Make sure the entire time it is frying on high heat, not steaming or braising.  If a lot of water forms in the wok, you may be able to save it by immediately taking out the water, frying the meat, and add the water back as you fry, adding back only so much at a time that it evaporates completely.  Once done, remove the pork and set aside.

8) In the now empty wok, heat it up to smoke point again, and add more oil if necessary (should have around 2 tbsp of oil in the wok).  Add the garlic and chiles, and quickly move it around until they are on the verge of browning and burning, and explosively fragrant.  Breath from your mouth to avoid chile burn in your sinus.  Immediately add the vegetables and stir it around constantly for around 1-2 minutes or until cooked but still crunchy and firm.  

9) Add back the cooked minced pork, and stir for a few seconds to incorporate.  Finally, add the sauce ingredients and stir around to incorporate.  Immediately dish out the stir fry.  

10) Once dished out, check for seasoning, and add more sauce ingredients as needed to balance flavor.  When I did the demo, I did not add enough seasoning, so I just added more at the end, and it turned out perfectly.  


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