“Tofu” is commonly known as bean curd in western countries. Widely loved by Chinese people, but loathed by most non-Chinese, especially the westerners, for its bland taste, unexciting and uninteresting to a person’s palate. This product has been produced for over 2,000 years during the Chinese’s Han dynasty. It is made from coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curd into blocks. It comes in various texture – silken, soft, firm or extra firm – use in the different style of Chinese cooking. Tofu is healthy – it’s low in calories and high in protein.
Thai food is one of the most well-known Southeast Asia cuisines in western countries. There are more than 3,000 Thai restaurants in Australia, 3 times more than the United States per capita of its population. Most of the Thai restaurants are located in Australia’s 2 largest cities – Sydney and Melbourne, from fine dining world-class restaurant to cafe style and street food takeaway.
When it comes to food, I am a big fan of traditional-style street food in Asia – authentic, simple, delicious and cooked the same way for generations. There is nothing pretentious about street food – what you see is what you get and it doesn’t put a big hole in your pocket.
“Pad krapao” is a popular street food in Thailand. “pad” means frying and “krapao or kraphrao” refers to Thai basil or Thai holy basil. It has anise and licorice taste. Normally serve with a fried egg with the yolk still runny and steam rice. The dish requires basic ingredients, except Thai basil which is easily available at an Asian supermarket if you live in a western country. It is easy and quick to make at home. You can either do a version of pad krapao “kai” which is chicken or pad krapao “neu mu” which is pork.
Below is my recipe for “neu mu” pad krapao.
what you need to make this dish are:
- pork mince
- garlic – 4 cloves
- onion – 2 french shallots
- chili – 2 fresh red chilies
- basil leaves – a bunch of Thai basil
- sauce – 1 tablespoon light soy, 1 tablespoon dark soy, 1/2 teaspoon oyster sauce and 1 tablespoon sugar
what you need to do next:
- chop the garlic finely and set aside
- slice the chilies and shallots thinly and set aside
- remove the basil leaves from its stalk and set aside
- mix all the sauces in a small bowl and set aside
it’s time to cook:
- Heat a cup of cooking oil in a hot wok
- Once the oil is hot but not smoky, toss in the chopped garlic first. Give it a quick stir fry before adding the sliced shallots and chilies. Continue to fry until the ingredients are aromatic and infuse with the oil
- Toss in the pork mince. Mix through and fry until pork is almost cooked
- Add the sauces and basil leaves and continue to stir fry until pork is cooked
- Optional – add green beans (if you like some vegetables) with your dish. After adding the beans, pour in a pre-mixed 1/2 cup of water and starch to make the gravy and cover with a lid. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer until the beans are cooked. It should take less than 5 minutes not to overcook the beans
Since I came back to Penang after living overseas for almost 25 years, I have started a new pilot project to see if it will take off and to decide if this is something I would enjoy doing. And, most importantly is to earn a living.
Our lovely guests, husband and wife team from Taipei, Taiwan enjoying a great time with their host, Victor Khoo. They started their day with Victor picking them up at 8:45 am from their hotel – Muntri Mew – in George Town. From there, they made their way to his local wet market in Tanjung Bungah, which took 25 minutes to drive. Along the way, Victor explained his plan for the day and discussed the differences between each dishes to cook.
Our wonderful millennial guests from United Kingdom enjoying a fun time with our host, Victor Khoo, visiting his local wet market and buying the ingredients for the class. They got to taste a few local breakfast – koay teow teng, char koay teow, lam mee, char siew bow and local coffee.
Back at Victor’s kitchen, they were guided by Victor to prepare the ingredients for each of the dishes. They made their own spice paste for the chicken and fish curry. The best part is when we all sat down to enjoy the meal together.
Thank you Lorna, Lisa and John for choosing Penang Insights for your local experience!
We had a wonderful time hosting our guests – Radka and Ondre – from Czech Republic on Christmas Eve.
It was a special occasion for them as they celebrate their Christmas far away from home and eating fish is a must in their tradition. So we included a red snapper dish cooked in a nyonya style. We played Christmas songs to create a festive ambiance for the occasion.