Neua Pad Bai GraPhrao (เนื้อผัดกระเพรา)
Stir Fried Minced Beef With Chilli and Holy Basil

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Recipe courtesy of Thai Food by David Thompson

3 garlic cloves, peeled
large pinch of salt
2 long red or green chillies
4 bird’s eye chillies (scuds)
1 tbs oil or rendered pork fat
100 g (3 oz) minced beef, chicken or pork
3 tbs stock or water
large pinch of white sugar
1 tbs light soy sauce
1 tbs dark soy sauce
large handful of holy basil leaves

This dish makes use of one of the three types of basil used in Thai cooking. This one is known as Bai Graphrao (ใบกระเพรา) – Holy Basil. The other two types are known as Bai Horapha (ใบโหระพา), better known as your normal Thai Basil and Bai Maenglak (ใบแมงลัก), or Lemon Basil.

Holy Basil can often be difficult to find outside of SE Asia, but there really is no substitute for its wonderful pepperiness. It comes in 2 colours, green stem and purple stem and If you are unable to obtain it, then of course, use normal Thai Basil.

Serve this rustic stir fry with plenty of Khao Suay (ข้าวสวย) – steamed rice and a bowl of Prik Nam Pla (พริกน้ำปลา) – fish sauce with finely sliced chillies, garlic and a squeeze of lime juice. Often this dish is topped with Kai Dao (ไข่ดาว) – a fried egg.

Pound garlic, salt and both kinds of chillies into a rustic paste. If you like it smooth and refined, then keep pounding; if you like it with a bit more texture, then leave it a bit rougher.

Heat a wok over a very high heat. Add oil or rendered pork fat, then fry the paste for a minute. Add minced meat and continue to stir fry for a minute. Add stock, sugar and both kinds of soy sauce. Sprinkle over the holy basil and serve.

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