Thai Chicken Basil (Pad Ga Pow)
About a year and a half ago, The Boy and I met my brother at our favorite Thai restaurant in the city. This place is authentically Thai and was given an unofficial stamp of approval by one of my Thai friends. The food tastes like it came out of a Thai mother’s kitchen. The flavors are bold, yet comforting. Familiar, yet exciting. It’s guaranteed that we’ll leave with a smile on our faces. So when we arranged to meet my brother there, The Boy & I were pretty excited.
When we got there, I was halfway parked into a spot right in front of the restaurant when I heard a car honk at me. I looked across the street at the car facing toward me. The driver opened her window and yelled, “I was waiting for that spot.” I looked at her stunned. For one thing, she was going in the opposite direction and she waited to honk when I was halfway into the spot! She was blowing smoke out of her a**. But I was going to to give her the spot because I didn’t want to come out from dinner and find my car vandalized (you never know in the city). So I gave her the spot, but not before I yelled out, “Then you should have taken it sooner, you dumb b*tch.” I felt better, but I was still fuming when we parked 2 blocks away. We came into the restaurant and told my brother what happened. I was getting louder and louder when The Boy looked behind him and saw that the lady was coming in with her husband. “Shhh,” he said to me. I probably would have listened to him, but I was feeling emotional about the situation and it didn’t help that she & her husband were seated behind us. Naturally, I spoke louder. “She should totally hear that I’m mad and that she sucks big time,” I said (I would have made a great bully in those after-school specials). A second later, I saw the owner approach the lady’s table and realized quickly that she was friends with the owner of the restaurant. And damnit, the owner kept glaring at me. I realized then that I had lost my Thai restaurant.
But like a dumped girl, we returned to our former love for the first time last month. The owner seemed not to remember who I was. Whew. But when I asked him what was in the Thai dippping sauce, he got a little cold. In addition, The Boy and I had ordered so much food that we had to take home leftovers. Now, I don’t know if the owner did it on purpose or not, but he didn’t pack the Chicken Thai Basil that we had plenty left of. Sigh.
So I’ve decided to learn how to make the dishes we love so much from this Thai restaurant, as I’m not sure I’m wanted back there again. (The Boy is pretty much convinced that we’ve inadvertently burned our bridges.) So I start with Thai Chicken Basil, which they do well (and authentically!). Ordering this dish from other Thai restaurants is a heartbreak, as I often see this dish contaminated with chunks of (not ground) meat, green peppers and a gravy sauce. Not really what I had in mind.
THIS is what I have in mind.
The Boy’s Reaction: “Ohmigosh, this is exactly like [name of Thai restaurant]!!! Delicious!!!!”
Chicken Basil Thai Pad Ga Pow
2 T olive oil
3 cloves of garlic,minced
1/2 lb of ground chicken (or whatever meat you’d like to use)
black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup of water
1 T chili-garlic sauce
3 T fish sauce
1-1/2 to 2 T sugar (try with 1-1/2 and then add the rest if you think you’ll need more)
basil leaves (loosely fit into 1/2 cup), whole
1 cup of baby spinach (optional -I just added to get some vegetable element into this dish)
Add oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is heated, add garlic and cook until golden brown. Add ground chicken. Cook thoroughly. Add water, chili-garlic sauce, fish sauce and sugar. Mix together and cook until water thickens (about 5-7 minutes). Add basil and if you’d like, the spinach. The dish is done when the basil and spinach are completely shriveled.
Serve over rice. Add more chili-garlic sauce if you want more of a kick.
That’s it! Enjoy!
P.S. One dish down and six more to go!
- Chicken with basil
- Sticky rice (yup, just straight up sticky rice)
- Fried/sun dried beef
- Chicken satay with peanut sauce
- Thai chili (fish) sauce
- Pad see-ew
- Pad Thai (I might be the last person to learn how to make this dish)