I might be blowing my own trumpet here but if you’re like me and like Thai food and want something easy and very delicious then, I guarantee you’ll L-O-V-E this pasta dish inspired by the Pad Kra Prow variations in Bangkok. It is exceptionally easy to put together, very difficult to screw up and absolutely scrumptious! I made it thrice just to be sure that I wasn’t hallucinating but the truth was that I loved it every time I made it, I kept thinking about it the next day and so I made another plate! The idea for this weeknight meal came to me when I was browsing through a new cookbook Rosa’s Thai Cafe Cookbook and her recipe for Pad Kra Prow caught my eye. Later at noon, I wondered how this Thai street food staple would be like with pasta and made myself a bowl. To say I was pleasantly surprised would understating it as it was easy to make and easier to eat. The actual Pad Kra Prow requires you to use holy basil leaves. But as this herb is almost impossible to find outside of South East Asia (unless you grow it) most restaurants use sweet basil instead. The flavour of holy basil is sharp while sweet basil is more mild flavoured. Very different flavour profiles. However, as this dish is inspired by Pad Kra Prow, I’ve used sweet Thai basil, coriander and sweet basil as these were what was available at the market. I’d think that spring onions would also make a nice addition. The green herbs add a freshness to the meaty/saucy pasta. The fried pork rinds give the dish an added texture but can be omitted. However, the crispy fried egg is not optional. The runny yolk makes the dish much more delectable than it already is.
Thai-Style Minced Meat Spaghetti
Inspired by and adapted from Rosa’s Thai Cafe, The Cookbook, pg.32
- 2-3 long red chillies, sliced
- 4 medium garlic cloves, sliced
- vegetable oil, enough to cover the base of your sauté pan
- 300 g, minced chicken/pork/beef
- 2 makrut lime leaves, thinly sliced
- 1 lemongrass, thinly sliced
- 1 heaped tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 -2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp kicap manis/ 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce + 1/2 tsp brown sugar
- 3/4 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 chinese long beans (snake beans) or small handful of french beans, cut into 1 inch
- 1/2 large yellow onion, sliced
- 1-2 long red chillies, diagonally sliced
- handful of Thai basil, sweet basil, coriander leaves
- spaghetti, enough for 2-3 persons, about a 1.5 inch diameter coin size handful of spaghetti per person
- fried eggs – 1 per person
Optional (but highly recommended)
- fried pork rinds (can be found in Thai or Asian supermarkets)– this adds a crispy yummy edge to the pasta. Crispy chicken skin would also be awesome.
- radish sprouts (for more texture and colour)
1. Pound the sliced chillies and garlic using a mortar and pestle until they resemble a rough paste.
2. Place a medium-large wok on high heat and add vegetable oil when its hot. When the oil just starts to smoke, add in pounded chilli-garlic mix. Stir fry with ladle until you can smell the aroma.Don’t brown the garlic.
3. In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil and add spaghetti and cook for 1 minute lesser than packet instructions while you stir fry the minced meat.
4. In the wok, add minced meat and stir fry for about 1 minute. Break up any meat lumps and keep stirring meat in the wok.
5. Add the lime leaves, lemongrass, oyster sauce, light soy sauce, kicap manis/dark soy+sugar, fish sauce. Stir fry for a 10 seconds.
6. Add long beans, sliced onions, diagonally sliced chilli and stir fry till minced meat is browned.
7. Move the pasta pot closer to wok and direct scoop spaghetti into wok with a pasta server. Add 1/2 – 1 cup of pasta cooking water into wok to loosen sauce and scrap of browned bits from the inside of the wok. The amount of pasta cooking water you add will depend on how wet you want your dish to be. Not too much water though as you’d thin out the meat sauce.
8. Taste for seasoning and add fish sauce if more salt is needed.
9. Stir in the basil and coriander leaves and remove wok from heat immediately.
10. Serve immediately. Top of roughly torn fried pork rinds, radish sprouts and fried runny yolk egg. (I hope you know how to fry an egg!)