Pad Ka Prao

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Pad Ka Prao is a Thai dish usually made of minced or finely chopped meat cooked with Thai Basil and oyster sauce served with or over rice and topped with a fried egg. The yolk is still runny so when cut open it seeps into the meat. Very tasty.

I based mine off of this recipe.

I found the recipe straightforward and easy to follow. The only issue I had was the timing, getting the rice, meat and egg all ready at the same time. I used entirely beef for this and used whole grain wild rice.

I also ended up making some modifications. My home is Kosher so shellfish are a no-no, so I had to come up with a replacement oyster sauce. I looked around all the usual health food stored for a vegetarian/vegan replacement but no luck, and then found this recipe for a vegan oyster sauce. It uses shiitake mushrooms and soy sauce as a base and according to the comments, tastes like oyster sauce. Aside from crushing up the mushrooms (no food processor so I used a mortar and pestle) it was quite easy.

The other modification was replacing the Thai Basil with Spearmint.  Thai Basil apparently tastes quite different to the regular variety and is supposed to be sweeter, but is not available here. I got the idea of using spearmint from a place that I order lunch from at work (Mido, in Tel Aviv) which has a Ka Prao based dish using spearmint.

Cooking the dish was a bit of a hassle because I had to synchronise the rice, meat and egg, I got the rice going first, then did the meat. The recipe stresses that one should only add the basil after the meat has come off the heat, and just cook it with the residual heat in the pan, which I did with my spearmint. I got the girlfriend on the eggs while I was doing this so everything was ready together and piping hot.

It was really good, but lacked a little in flavour concentration in the meat. I think my error was using my replacement oyster sauce in the same quantity as the recipe called for, next time I’ll double it and see what happens.

Other than that the meal was tasty and overall quite healthy too. Will definitely tweak and make again.

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