Stir Fry Pork With Thai Basil Leaf (Pad Ka-Prao)

I have had stir fry pork with thai basil leaf numerous times and i can honestly say this one of my top top favourites. Dishes like green curry and pad thai are easy to remember after you have been on holiday or visited the local restaurant, but for me this is a more distinct taste of Thailand.

Pad Ka Prao effectively takes a pretty boring slab of pork and quickly transforms it into a fiery and aromatic flavoursome offering. The ingredients completely make the dish and add masses of complexity. It looks fairly bland but all the characteristics of thai cuisine seem to be incorporated. Spicyness can be turned up or down to suit depending on how many chili’s are used and the basil leaf and onion just adds a delicate aromatic counter point, and it is quick, easy to make and always a hit. Until you taste it you just can’t imagine the taste punch you are about to receive….

Ingredients – 1 person

Pork Loin 150g
Vegetable Oil 1.5 tbsp
Garlic, 3 cloves
Sugar 0.5 tsp
Light Soy Sauce 0.75 tbsp
Oyster Sauce 1 tbsp
Chili (red and green) 2no (or more optionally)
Basil Leaf 15g (really any basil leaf will do….)
Onion 1no small

Preparation – 5 minutes

Cut the pork loin and dice into small pieces.
Chop and dice the garlic cloves
Chop the chili into small pieces
Break up the basil leaves into small pieces

Cooking – 12 minutes.

  1. Put the oil in a pan on a medium high heat and heat through.
  2. Add the garlic and chili to the hot oil and stir fry for a minute or two.
  3. Add the pork and stir fry for 5 minutes until the pork changes colour.
  4. Add onion, oyster sauce, soy sauce and sugar in the pan. Mix in well and stir fry on a medium heat for a further five minutes.
  5. Put the basil leaf into the pan, stir the leaf in, turn the heat off and serve up with some boiled jasmine rice.

Beef Panang Curry Recipe (Kaeng Phanaeng Neua)

Panang curry is a nice creamy curry that goes well with beef or duck, is simple to make and not too time consuming. Additionally you don’t have loads of pans to clean up after…..which is always nice.

From what i can gather this curry is not specifically thai food, more malaysian, but you can get it in just about any thai restaurant in europe and in lots of places in Thailand. It seems to have been subverted into thai cuisine…but either way i don’t care it just tastes good in a kind of creamy, spicy way!

Ingredients – Serves 2

Frying beef 400g
Coconut cream 2 cups
Penang Curry Paste 3 tbsp
Salt 1/4 tsp
Fish Sauce 2 1/2 tbsp
Plum Sugar Paste 3 tbsp
Ground peanut 1/4 cup
Lime Leaf 6no
Red Chili 1no

Preparation – 5 minutes

Slice the beef into stir fry sized strips
Slice chili into wedges

Cooking – 25 minutes

  1. Put one cup of coconut cream in a deep sided frying pan (or sauce pan, or wok etc) and stir on a medium high heat until simmering.
  2. Add in 3 tbsp of penang curry paste and mix/stir in for about 2 minutes until the coconut cream is a smooth pink/red colour.
  3. Add the beef to the coconut cream and curry paste, stir fry for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the remainder of the coconut cream and mix thoroughly.
  5. Once the coconut cream is gently simmering add the salt, fish sauce, plum sugar and ground peanut. Mix in well, then turn down the heat to a medium heat, and allow to gently simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Add lime leaves to the pot, turn off the heat and let the curry continue to cook under it’s own heat.
  7. Serve up on a bed of rice, add fresh chili to taste.

Thai Peanut Satay Sauce Recipe (Nam Jim Satay)

A thai peanut satay sauce is the perfect accompaniment for chicken, pork, beef and even fish. Especially great at barbecues, i can see major brownie points being scored if you turn up carrying this dish!

I often wondered how the missus made this, and naively assumed it came out of a jar or was watered up from a packet. Wrong!! I really should have known better by now. It turns out she doesn’t take short cuts. There are no easy cheats like using peanut butter, more’s the pity. Instead there is elbow grease and some finicky, time consuming preperation but the results are good and i guess this satay recipe is about as close to authentic as it probably comes.

I have had this numerous times in Thailand, but i remain unconvinced that satay is a dish that originates in Thailand. I believe it may originate in Indonesia, but it seems to have caught on with vigour so who am i to argue. This is my wife’s thai peanut satay recipe or “nam jim satay” as she calls it.


Coconut Cream 2 cups
Peanuts 1/2 cup
Red Curry Paste 1/4 cup
Sugar 1/4 cup
Tamarind Sauce 1/4 cup
Salt 1 1/2 tsp





Preparation 15 – 20mins.

Dry fry peanuts on a medium heat until they begin to change colour.

Once they have browned off the skins become brittle. Remove the skins from the peanut by hand (time consuming).

After skinning, grind the peanuts into a rough powder using a mortar and pestle (only if you want to get right into the spirit of it and go fully authentic back-woods style, personally i think this is what coffee grinders are made for). Don’t be to concerned with consistancy, the satay sauce turns out more interesting if the texture is mixed.





Cooking (roughly 12mins, but your only heating through really)

  1. Put the coconut cream in a pan on a medium heat and heat through for 5 minutes until simmering, stir regularly.
  2. Add the red curry paste to the coconut cream and stir in until the coconut cream goes pink with no lumps.
  3. Add sugar, tamarind sauce, salt and peanut to the mix one after the other and stir in thoroughly on a medium heat for a further 10 minutes with the mix simmering.
  4. After 10 minutes serve in a small dish (should be able to keep in a fridge for 3-5 days if required)

(if you cant find tamarind sauce ready prepared you can buy solid tamarind pulp in your local supermarket, soak a reasonable amount in half a cup of water, mash the tamarind pulp into the water and a dark brown sauce will be produced. Sieve off the pulp and use the liquid as your tamarind sauce.)