Cycle 14 – Item 223
16 (Wed) August 2023
Pad Gaprao Moo
-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-
The YouTube channel Hot Thai Kitchen offers 2 different versions of the dish, each seemingly at odds with itself: i) the “modern day” version (January 2016), shot in Thailand, featuring Thai holy basil + oyster sauce + fish sauce + dark soy sauce (see Thai Holy Basil Stir-Fry Recipe (Pad Kra Pao); ii) the “old school” version (October 2022), shot in Canada, featuring Italian basil + fish sauce only (see The “Original” Thai Basil Stir-Fry Recipe (Pad Kra Pao)).
Technically, pad gaprao is made with Thai holy basil (gaprao = holy basil), which is different than Thai basil. Though Chef Pai concedes that most Thai restaurants, at least in Northern America, probably use Thai basil in pad gaprao. She feels that Thai holy basil is actually closer in flavor to Italian sweet basil. It’s a miracle that Thai basil is now sold at a mainstream supermarket in Korea, so I’m grateful. Maybe Thai holy basil is on its way.
My rendition, made with ground pork, comprises the modernized sauce and Thai basil (not Thai holy basil).
DID YOU KNOW: according to Chef Pai, the proper Thai pronunciation of the dish is closer to “gaprao,” but the dish is often spelled in English as “krapao/grapao/krapow/grapow” (the “r” on the left side of the “p”) (see for example 6.131 Gung Grapao), because even Thais themselves sometimes mispronounce it as such; Chef Pai admits to using the “kra pao” spelling on her platforms because that’s how most people would search for it (see for example The “Original” Thai Holy Basil Stir Fry with Beef (Pad Kra Pao)).
Pretty good. Although I’ve had the dish in Thailand, presumably with actual Thai holy basil (see for example 5.261 Phad Kra Phrao Pla Meuk – the spelling includes an “r” on both side of the “p”!; 6.069 Spicy Stir-Fried Shrimp & Seafood with Basil), I don’t recall the basil tasting much different. Anyway, with my now (hopefully) infinite supply of Thai basil, I look forward to making the dish frequently, even if it’s not technically correct.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)