Thursday, March 4, 2010

Attempt #1 at Thai Food

I awoke Tuesday morning CRAVING Thai. Like, I had been dreaming about it and then it was all I could think about. Mmmm, Thai food. I had some extra lean ground turkey in the fridge and I thought it could potentially make some kick ass gai pad gra pow.
I found a couple of recipes that inspired me, and ruminated for a couple of days, and finally, tonight (Thursday), I went for it. It was okay, but it tasted NOTHING like the pad grapow you'll get at a Thai joint. Not even a little bit. It was probably way healthier, but. . . . I think if I hadn't been thinking about and craving the real deal, I may have been able to appreciate it a little more.
Did I need more fish sauce? More Tamari? I don't think I needed more oil, I used way more than I normally do. Do I need to go sit at the counter at Bang San and watch those ladies make it?
In any case, if you have some ground bird meat and some basil, and you're craving something spicy, give this a whirl, but don't expect it to replace your favorite takeout - deal?

Spicy Basil Chicken
4 - 5 tbsp oil; I wanted to use peanut oil but only had veg
7-8 cloves of garlic
2 shallots
6 peppers (I used 2 jalapenos, 2 serranos, and 2 uh, red ones) - if you can find Thai chilies I'd go for those though you'll probably need several more (the first recipe calls for 12-20!)
1 lb of bird meat - either finely chopped or ground
A generous drizzling of Tamari (maybe 2-3 tbsp)
Fish sauce to taste (and I have no idea what the correct amount is; I used maybe 1 tbsp)
1 cup of basil (again, go for Thai basil if you can find it, or holy basil if you're lucky enough to run across it - this is, after all the gra pow this dish is named for!)
brown rice
Gewurztraminer or other sweet white (Riesling or maybe a Pinot Gris if you don't like your wine quite as sweet)

Get your mise en place ready to go -
pulverize your peppers with your garlic (we tried the mortar and pestle route and failed, so it went into the food processor or got smashed on the cutting board) and set aside. Finely chop your shallots and set aside. Prep your basil (wash and remove stems). Get out your bird meat.

Heat a large pan or wok until it's smoking hot, then get ready to move quickly. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan and heat the oil quickly. Stir in the garlic and pepper mix just long enough to get it coated and spread around and then add the shallots. Stir for 10-15 seconds to combine and then add the chicken. Stir fry (breaking up the larger slab if you dumped a container of ground meat into your pan like I did) until the meat is "browned" on the outside. I say "browned" because it doesn't really go brown so much as it goes. . . I dunno, less pink.

Sprinkle 1 tbsp or so of Tamari and stir in. Season "to taste" with fish sauce. I have no idea what this means even for my own tastebuds as this was my first time being brave enough to deal with fish sauce on my own because, hello, ew. I suppose it was about a tbsp.

Add in the basil and keep stirring and cooking until the basil is wilted. Give the meat a taste - add more Tamari or fish sauce as needed. We added another tbsp or 2 of Tamari.

Serve over brown rice if you're trying to be healthy. Taste before dousing in Sriracha - your chilies might be plenty hot. Maybe a squeeze of lime juice over the top would be lovely as well.

Drink with a nice cold, sweet white wine. Enjoy the fact that your entire house smells amazing (way better than dinner tasted if you ask me) for the rest of the evening. I really wish I had a fan/vent in my kitchen.

This would serve four if you were serving with other dishes or apps (or all skinny chicks watching their waistlines); or maybe three if it was the only course or you're sharing with boys.

1 comment:

Quinn said...

We never made Thai food together? Are you sure? Let's go watch the ladies at Bang San anyway. I love that place!