Holy Basil Stir-Fry
Serves 4 | Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 20 mins | Total Time: 35 mins
One of the biggest challenges of cooking food from a distant land is finding authentic ingredients. In Thai cuisine, basil is an essential flavor. But there are many varieties of basil, most of which are not readily available in North America. This flavorful and popular dish’s name in Thai (Pad Ka-Prao) literally means “holy basil stir-fry”, so we have to use holy basil instead of Thai basil or the European basil (aka sweet basil) most common in America.
Since finding fresh holy basil is next to impossible, we’re sending you the next best thing: a packet of dried holy basil. Holy basil gets its name from the more than 5000 years of use of the plant in Asia (especially Ayurvedic healing in India) for spiritual, medicinal, and culinary purposes. Holy basil has a subtle peppery bite along with basil and mint flavors. While nothing beats fresh basil, we reconstitute the holy basil by soaking it in warm water for about 10 mins before adding to the pan. Also, try serving with a fried egg!
- 1 lb ground pork (or beef or chicken or tofu cubes)
- 3 tbsp Piquant Post Holy Basil blend
- 1/3 cup water
- 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp canola (or vegetable) oil
- 1 tbsp Piquant Post Thai Chili blend (optional) [note: use less / no chili if sensitive to spicy heat]
- 1 tsp Piquant Post Kaffir Lime powder
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce (optional)
- 1/4 cup fresh Thai basil leaves (or regular basil)
- 4 eggs, fried sunny side up (optional)
- 1 head of lettuce, pull complete leaves (optional)
- salt & pepper to taste
- Oyster sauce is a bottled Asian condiment often used in creating stir-fry dishes. There is no need to use a lot as it tends to be briny and oystery. But when this sauce use in a stir-fry, subtly sweet, almost caramel notes emerge. Quite delish! You can find this in a lot of big supermarket chains now and certainly on Amazon.
- We note in the recipe that Thai chilis are very spicy. For most people the amount we suggest in this recipe will work fine. But for those that are sensitive to spicy heat, you should either add it by the pinch (and sample) until you reach the desired heat, or omit and provide to guests on the side for them sprinkle on their own plate.
- Also, you can find fish sauce in most supermarket chains in the ethnic food aisle(s). Fish sauce is very salty so measure the amount you put in the dish.
- Optional ingredients add a little character and flavor but don’t sweat it if you don’t have them.
2 Add garlic, shallot, and chilis to pan and stir-fry for 2 mins. Add meat to the pan and use a spatula to break up the meat into small pieces. Cook 5 mins, stirring occasionally.
Alternatives & Substitutions
- While the true Pad Ka-Prao recipe uses ground pork, feel free to substitute in ground chicken, beef, lamb or your favorite vegan alternative (chopped portabello mushrooms or diced tofu come to mind).
- If you cannot find Thai basil at the market, you can substitute in regular (European) basil as a garnish.
- Also, if you dont have fish or oyster sauce, you can sub in soy sauce.
- Don’t forget to leave comments and feedback on your meals and experiments in the comments for others to read.
- Post pictures of your masterpiece meal on social media and tag us. We repost!