Holy Basil Chicken (gai pad graprow).

Game changer. For a little while now I have been foraying into non coconut milk based Thai dishes. Not that I do’t enjoy them, more because it seems that Northern Thai dishes pack more of a punch, and seem a little more exciting. This is a relatively “dry” dish, however the small amount of sauce packs a compensating punch. You can make your own Holy Basil sauce (detailed below), but those sachets from the Thai shop on Albert Road are off the chart.

1 egg
1 chicken breast (or any other cut of boneless chicken, about 200 grams)
3 cloves of garlic
4 Thai chilies
spring onions
1 red pepper
1 tablespoon oil for frying
1 teaspoon of oyster sauce
½ teaspoon light soy sauce
½ teaspoon sugar
1 splash of dark soy sauce
1 handful of Thai holy basil leaves
Optional, but recommended: Holy Basil paste.

First, fry the egg. Heat about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok or frying pan on high-medium heat. When the oil is hot and sizzling, drop in the egg. Let it sizzle and bubble up, and at the same time, splash some of the hot oil onto the top of the egg (don’t flip the egg, unless you really want to). After the egg looks about right to your cooked likeness (I like mine runny), take it out, drain the excess oil, and put it on a plate for later.

Cut the chicken into small bite sized pieces and heat your wok on high. When the oil is hot, add the chilies, garlic and Holy Basil paste. Stir fry them for about 20 seconds or so until they get really fragrant, but don’t let them burn or get too dry. Toss in your chicken and add the red pepper. Keep stir frying continuously. Add the Holy Basil paste. At this stage you want to continue to stir and cook your chicken until it’s just about fully cooked all the way through.

Add 1 teaspoon of oyster sauce, ½ teaspoon light soy sauce, ½ teaspoon sugar, and finally a splash of dark soy sauce. Keep stir frying for about another 30 seconds whilst adding the chopped spring onions. Grab a handful of holy basil, toss it into the pan, fold it into the chicken, and then immediately turn off the heat. The holy basil really only needs to cook for about 5 seconds, and it will continue to wilt and cook from the existing heat of the chicken.


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