There isn’t a shortage of delicious food in Austin (see, for example, here and here) but one can only eat out so much. My life here in Austin is the eternal struggle of wanting to hit up my favorite foods spots while simultaneously fulfilling my need and love for cooking in my own kitchen.
After many, many, many visits to DeeDee, a delicious little Thai food truck that’s making waves in the media here for their killer food, I decided it was time to try to recreate Pad Ka Prao, my favorite DeeDee dish, at home. I have such fond memories of this spot, having spent many hot summer nights sitting at picnic tables as the sun set, swatting at Texas-sized mosquitos, slurping down some La Croix (and sneaking sips of my husbands’ Thai iced tea) and all the while drooling as I watch the other diners collect their food as their number was called. I always leave the place with my mouth a bit numb, but craving more; DeeDee knows the true meaning of “hurts so good!”— and how to use their chilies. (Make sure to stop by, if you’re ever nearby.)
After a little Googling, I learned that Pad Ka Prao (I’ve also seen krapow & kapow), our favorite dish there, is basically just a garlicky spiced pork or chicken dish (albeit with a badass name) and basil. I had some delicious pastured ground sausage from a friend’s farm, and all the other ingredients I needed to make it at home.
This dish is an umami flavor bomb. It’s sweet, sour, salty, spicy—all in one. The pork has a tiny hint of fish sauce, rounded out nicely by the sweet addition of the aminos, then comes the spice punch from the chilies, depending on how much you use. It’s basically a big party in my mouth, and I’ll keep eating it as often as I can.
PALEO PAD KA PRAO RECIPE
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 2 pastured eggs
- ghee or oil for cooking
- 1-2 tsp fish sauce
- 2 tsp coconut aminos
- 2-3 tsp chili paste or minced Thai chilis
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced fine
- cauliflower rice, prepared
- 6-8 leaves of Thai basil, or regular basil if Thai isn’t available
- Cucumber slices to garnish
- Salt, to taste
- Start by heating your skillet and coating with oil or ghee of choice. Once hot, add basil leaves and slightly fry until crisping up. Remove and set aside to finish crisping.
- Add in the finely minced garlic, cooking on medium, carefully not to burn. After a few moments, add in the pork. Stir and chop with your utensil, breaking into crumbles as it cooks. If you need to, drain some of the fat to help the pork cook. When pork is nearly cooked through, drain most of the fat, leaving just enough to coat the bottom of the pan, then add in coconut aminos, fish sauce, and chili paste. Mix well. Salt as needed. Turn heat to low and let simmer. You can begin heating up your cauliflower rice now.
- Meanwhile, heat another skillet to medium-high heat, coat with oil or ghee, then crack in two eggs, carefully not to break the yolks. Cook eggs until desired firmness, sunny side up. I like them crispy on the bottom, a bit runny on top.
- Once all components are complete, add cauliflower rice to a bowl, top with the pork, a fried egg, a few cucumber slices, and finish with a sprinkle of fried basil leaves.
There you have it, folks: A delicious, umami bomb of a dish that you can make at home in less than thirty minutes, one that will transport you across the world. I’ve not yet made it to Thailand, but I’ll give you three guesses on what my first dish there will be. Now, to perfect that sticky mango rice for dessert…
A few more dinner recipes to try this week:
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