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Poslfit Recipes: Pad Krapow Gai

a few T of high-temperature cooking oil
75 g minced shallots
25 g minced garlic
8 g minced bird's eye chili peppers
350~400 g ground chicken leg
1 T Japanese soy sauce
1 T Thai oyster sauce
1 T Thai fish sauce
1 t sugar
40 g holy basil leaves
(optional) 1 egg
My sons and I spent much of 2019 trying to recreate this dish, one of our favourites on our annual trips to Bangkok. This is as close as we could come, and we like it. Hard to say how many it serves: 1~3 depending on how many teenagers are involved. See notes below concerning substitutions and variations.
I have also adapted this recipe to use with leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Mince the cooked turkey quite finely, then marinate it in the four sauce ingredients (including sugar) while prepping the other ingredients. Because it's harder to get the flavours into the cooked meat, I usually halve the amount of meat and basil in the recipe, and double the sauce ingredients while keeping the three aromatic ingredients fixed. The cooking steps then reduce to sauteing the aromatics until well browned, then adding the meat and basil together and continuing to cook until the basil is wilted.
Get a wok as hot as you can, heat oil up until it's starting to smoke, then add the shallots, garlic, and chili peppers. Cook for one minute, until things start to brown. If you can't find good shallots, you can make do with purple cooking onions. Possibly even yellow ones, though the experience will end up being quite different. If you don't like onions, garlic and chili peppers, you shouldn't be making this dish. If you can't find bird's eye chili peppers, you should probably look harder, and when you find a good supply, freeze them and use them straight from frozen.
Add the chicken. Break it up and cook until starting to brown, stirring occasionally. If you don't like chicken, you can make this dish with any other kind of protein, including tofu (with as much moisture pressed out of it as you can). You can chop the chicken up instead of grinding it if you prefer, but a good butcher should offer to grind chicken to order. Do not add more than the given amount, or the wok will cool off too far and the dish won't brown or taste right. If you want more, cook it in multiple batches.
Mix together the soy sauce, sugar, oyster sauce and fish sauce, pour over the chicken, and mix it in. Continue stirring occasionally until chicken is mostly done. If you can find good sweet Thai soy sauce, you should use it instead of the Japanese soy sauce and sugar. If you can't find Thai oyster sauce, you can try Chinese oyster sauce, but it will taste different; likewise fish sauce.
Add the holy basil leaves, stir-fry until the leaves are cooked. If you can't find holy basil in a Thai or Indian store, you can substitute Thai (cinnamon) basil leaves (horapha) for a different flavour.
If you manage to use up all the liquid in your pan, well done. Add some water to deglaze. Serve immediately.
In Thailand, the dish would usually be served with a Thai-style shallow-fried egg. We like it over Japanese tamago no gohan (raw egg mixed into hot rice).