Pork Kra-POW!

Also known as Pad Ka-Prao, Ka-Prow, or Spicy Basil Pork, this spicy and sweet dish is equally at home in the dead of winter or the heat of summer. Thai Basil is the key ingredient here. Our preference is for the Tulsi or Holy Green Thai Basil. Unfortunately the green variety is very hard to find compared with the more common purple-stemmed variety. Some folks prefer the latter, so don’t be discouraged if that’s all you can find. It will still be delicious.

Because the green variety is very difficult to find in the grocery store as a fresh cut herb, we grow our own and keep it on-hand for this recipe. Note that this is an annual and mine have never survived a New England winter, even indoors.

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There are two online recipes for Kra Pow that I must provide credit to, and that were used as an inspiration for our own version. These recipes provide very helpful guidance that is not included on radmeal.

This recipe makes enough for 4 servings (dinner for two + lunch for two the next day).

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless pork cutlets (or chicken breasts) finely chopped with a cleaver – I have also used boneless skinless chicken thighs in a pinch
  • 10 thai hot red chiles, de-seeded (tip: retain some seeds for extra heat)
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 medium shallots, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into medium dice
  • 1 tbsp Indonesian sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
  • 1 tbsp Golden Mountain sauce (also known as the green cap sauce)
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce (we use a Japanese oyster sauce – see below)
  • 1 tbsp Red Boat fish sauce
  • 1 cup loosely packed Thai basil leaves, (use Thai Tulsi/Holy Basil if you can find it, there is a difference) stems removed and leaves rinsed then torn in half
  • safflower oil for cooking
  • cooked jasmine rice to serve
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From left to right: ABC Sweet Soy Sauce (kecap manis), Golden Mountain (green cap), oyster sauce (Japanese, available at H-Mart), Red Boat Fish Sauce

Directions

  1. Prepare jasmine rice per rice cooker instructions. Start cooking Kra-Pow when there are less than 10 minutes left on the rice cooker.
  2. Combine sauces in a dish (golden mountain, kecap manis, fish sauce, oyster sauce) and set aside.
  3. Mash chiles, garlic and shallots with a mortar and pestle until you get a rough paste.
  4. Heat 2 tbsp cooking oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. When the oil is glistening, add the chile-garlic-shallot mixture and saute about 3 minutes. Enjoy the fragrance.
  5. Add pork (or chicken, if using). Stir to cook through, another ~3-5 minutes.
  6. Add bell pepper, stir another minute.
  7. Add sauces and continue to stir until the sauce is slightly reduced and is coating the pork nicely.
  8. Turn off the heat, add the basil and stir through. The leaves will wilt.
  9. Serve immediately.

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