Tuesday, October 17, 2006

My first Thai dish

Attempting many firsts here. First time handling fresh herb, first time doing a (authentic) Thai dish, first time substituting key/base ingredients in this Thai dish. Oooooooh...
The fresh herb I'm talking about is basil. Well, I've used basil (dried) liberally in most pasta dishes. But I'm handling fresh basil for the first time now.


Hmmm...you can't keep fresh basil "fresh" for long*.

This was what became of my basil after 5 days. I better start using them before they end up in the garbage bin.



I have not even told you what Thai dish yet. It's Kai Pad Bai Kaprow (a.k.a Thai Basil chicken)! Next to Thai green curry, this is another common one you can find in most Thai menus. Most Kai Pad Bai Kaprow recipes calls for Holy basil (Thai basil), but I've used what can be bought more easily in the grocery, that's Sweet basil, which is usually used in Italian cooking.


Kai Pad Bai Kaprow (a.k.a Thai Basil chicken)
Ingredients:
-~1lb minced chicken (I substituted this with minced turkey)
-1/4 c fish sauce (do not have this either, so I used mixture of Wocestershire and dark soy sauce to marinade the meat)
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-4 shallots cloves, minced (you can use onions if you want to)
-4-6 thai chilli peppers, sliced (I did not have this, and used chilli pepper flakes instead)
-chicken broth or water
-1/2 green bell pepper; 1/2 red bell pepper
-1 cup basil leaves (most recipes call for Holy basil, I've used Sweet basil), rinsed before using

Method:
1.Mince turkey and marinate in sauce
2.Heat oil in large saute pan, and fry garlic, shallots and/or onions on med-hi
3.Add minced marinated turkey
4.If looks dry, add some chicken broth or water
5.If you added water, do a taste test here. Add dash of dark soy sauce if you find it too bland
6.Simmer utill the sauce is reduced
7.Add in bell peppers, fry 1 min
8.Stir in basil; ready to serve

Although I have substituted many ingredients and I should call it Sweet Basil Turkey, it still tasted like Kai Pad Bai Kaprow. I'm happy it worked !

*There are many basil storage tips you can find over the internet, including (a)layering fresh basil leaves in damp paper towels inside a plastic bag and refrigerated up to 4 days; (b)placing basil with stalks attached, in a glass of water and cover with a plastic bag secured to the glass, store in the refrigerator, changing water daily, and use within a week, not washing the leaves until you are ready to use them; (c)freezing, either whole or chopped-blanch whole leaves for 2 secs, plunge into ice water, pat dry and place in airtight bags in the freezer; or(d)put whole or chopped fresh leaves in an ice cube tray and cover with water before freezing and once frozen, pop the cubes out into an airtight bag. Sounds a whole lot sophisticated and complicated? I AGREE! I did not have the patience to go through any of these, so I just store my basil above 50°F, out in the open(3-4 days should be ok) and not in the refrigerator since when basil gets chilled, the leaves turn black.



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