As much as I love Thai food, and as much as I love to cook, it sometimes strikes me as odd that my experiences eating this delicious cuisine have been largely limited to the restaurant setting. But it seems that every time I have tried to recreate my favorite Thai dishes at home, it always tastes like something is missing. Besides that, I once inadvertently added so much green curry paste to a dish that I had to choke down small bites of it while tears streamed down my face. I think I emptied about half a box of Kleenex, and needless to say, that experience cooled me off from Thai cooking for a while!
But sometimes I can't help but wish that I could make these things at home. My favorite Thai dish to order at my most frequent haunt is Gai Kra Prow (or Gai Kra Pow, the English spelling varies): A chicken stir-fry with Thai basil and vegetables. The specific version I adore involves slices of chicken breast, bell peppers, onions, and straw mushrooms (which I knew I would have to leave out if I ever had the guts to make it at home because of Paul's allergy).
None of the recipes I found online for this dish exactly resembled the version I'm obsessed with. Many called for ground meat or left out the whole vegetable thing. So I put my thinking cap on and pieced together several different recipes, coming up with the first Thai dish I have made that came out close to perfect. Of course I have to share. I took a shortcut by using Vietnamese Chili Garlic sauce in lieu of fresh Thai chilis, which I didn't find in the stores at this time. I also used some sweet soy sauce I picked up in an Asian grocery store.
What do all of these ingredients together equate? A fantastic balance of sweet, savory, salty, and spicy flavors.
1 lb. chicken breast, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 T. chili garlic sauce
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 both red and green bell pepper, cut into cubes
1/2 a yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 T. sweet soy sauce
1 T. oyster sauce
1 T. fish sauce
1 tsp. sugar
2 T. water
2 handfuls Thai basil
Whisk together sauce ingredients. Heat 2 T. vegetable oil in a skillet over high heat. Add in garlic, chili garlic sauce, and chicken. Cook until chicken is no longer pink. Add in the bell pepper and onion; cook another 2-3 minutes until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Add sauce and stir fry another minute. Throw in the basil leaves and stir fry until they are wilted. Serve over jasmine rice.