Stir-fry

Green Beans Stir-fried with Red Curry and Italian Sausage

I'm not a very consistent chef. I will cook according to the recipe once or twice, but then I'll most likely start fiddling with it. I can't help wondering if a dish would taste better with more of one thing, or this instead of that. Cooking for me is a constant process of experimentation. Sometimes the results of my experiments are good. Sometimes, not so much. And sometimes, the experiments work very well, surprising even me.

Pork or Beef Stir-fried with Chili

Although the name of this dish implies that the main ingredient is chilies, it's really the onion that provides much of the taste and flavor of the recipe. This is one of the first Thai recipes that I ever learned to make, way back when I lived in the USA. I've shown the traditional pork as the meat component, but it works just as well with beef. You can easily get thinly sliced pork loin in any supermarket in Thailand, but elsewhere you may have to slice it yourself. It helps if you partially freeze the meat first.

Holy Basil Stir-Fry

Pat krapao, as it's called in Thai, is a rather 'standard' dish that you'll find available in just about every restaurant and road-side stall in Thailand. My Thai friends sometimes smile at my frequent orders for this dish, since many Thais consider it a bit pedestrian - what they order when they just can't think of anything else. I like to order pat krapao frequently not only because I like the flavor, but also because it's a remarkably flexible recipe. Every cook seems to have their own variation. Some put in more garlic, some more holy basil.

Cashew Chicken Gai Pat Met Ma-muang

As a seemingly obvious "Chinese" import, cashew chicken often gets dismissed as not really a "Thai" dish, but it definitely helps to balance out a meal that already has many spicy dishes. Although they make the dish look spicy, the dried chillies usually don't impart much heat to the rest of the ingredients. In Thailand, this dish is almost always mild, with little or no spiciness. Since they can be a bit tough, most people just push the chillies to the side of their plate and don't eat them.

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