Flashback to 6.00 a.m. in Bangkok, I wait for a bus to go home, from a night about town. At the corner of my blurry eye – a push cart in front of the bus station. I keep my head low and wait patiently for the transport to arrive. Not today, I remind myself. An hour later I arrive at my destination, and there it is again, in the stalls around my building. I frantically ignore it and head to bed. Once awake, the urge for consumption leaves places to devour an entire giraffe.
Its 2p.m. I glance through my curtain and get enticed by the sweet aroma emitted from the stall below. That all so familiar taste of spice from the pad kra pao gai. Present Day: Just like that, in the sleepy by lanes of Goa, lies Deltin Suites with their hidden gem – The Emperor cooking up a scintillating, elaborate Thai inspired pan Asian cuisine to transport one to the bustling streets of Bangkok. This dish is a contender for the most popular, and the most beloved street food dish in ALL of Thai cuisine. In Thailand it’s available and eaten everywhere.
You know sometimes when you go to a restaurant and you have no idea what to order, or even what you want to eat? When that happens in Thailand, pad kra pao gai (with chicken), or any type of meat stir fried with Thai holy basil, is a dish that comes to the rescue. Flavors respond immediately as the dish reaches our table. The presentation is crisp with the fried sunny side up egg that accompanies their Thai basil chicken, better known in Thai as pad kra pao gai. Street food has only been popular since the 1960s when more Thais moved into cities to find work and eat out. This culture basically has folk eat most of the meals outside which resonates in the way this dish is presented. Crisp and compact. And that is something that the Emperor follows keeping it close to the authenticity of the dish.
Phad kra pao gai in a crunch basket served sunny side up. Pic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography
A Cooking Tip: Unlike mincing (which is usually done) try grinding, it really releases all the juices and oils of the chilies and garlic and it brings out an extra depth of flavor, which in return makes the entire dish of chicken basil more vibrant, garlicky and spicy.
So the next time you wish for some good street style prep make a beeline to meet the Emperor. I am sure he would approve.