chicken

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.

Mussaman Curry Gaeng Mussaman

Mussaman curry is probably the most 'un-Thai' style of Thai curries. It's more like a stew than other Thai curries. The word mussaman has no meaning in Thai, other than as the name of this curry. It may be, like several words in the modern Thai language, a corruption of a foreign word, probably Persian if the stories around this recipe are to be believed. The legend of the dish's origin is that it is derived from a recipe bought by the first Persian ambassador to the Court of Ayutthaya (the capital of old Siam).

Chicken Green Curry Gaeng Keeo Waan Gai

Green curry is perhaps the most ubiquitous of all Thai curries. You'll find it on the menu in practically every restaurant in the kingdom, and it makes a frequent appearance at the curry stalls. Although the dish has its origins in the central plains, it's found and appreciated throughout the country. Much of the attraction of green curry is its flexibility. It works well not only with rice, but is also quite popular as a topping for the spaghetti like rice noodles called khanom jeen. It has also proved quite popular for adding a Thai twist to Italian pastas.

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