Cook.Bake.Eat.Write.

Posts Tagged ‘basil

One of the best parts of having lived in Singapore was its proximity to everywhere else! Southeast Asian metropolises, ancient cultural sites and exotic holiday destination are a mere 1 1/2-hour plane ride away–and thanks to budget airlines like Tiger Airwats, Air Asia and Jetstar, more than affordable.

A favorite destination for hubby and me is Thailand. On our most recent trip, we were on an island called Koh Phi Phi Don, where for 5 straight days we gorged on, sipped, nibbled and devoured some of the best culinary dishes the island had to offer. One such dish was Gai Pad Ga Prao. Though consisting of only a few ingredients, the mingling of flavors from the ground chicken, basil and fish sauce make for a tasty and tangy combination.

Gai Pad Ga Prao (Thai-style Stir-Fried Chicken and Basil)

recipe from realthairecipes.com

INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp olive oil

4 cloves garlic

2-30 small Thai chilies, to taste

200 g ground chicken

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tsp dark black soy sauce

1/4 tsp white sugar

2 handfuls holy basil leaves

DIRECTIONS

1. Smash chilies with a stone mortar and pestle  if you have one, or use the side or back of a knife. Smash garlic, and set aside with the chilies.

2. Clean basil by picking off the leaves and flowers, and discarding the stems. Rinse and set aside.

3. Heat the oil in a pan until very hot on high heat. Throw in the chilies & garlic, and stir until browned. You should sneeze from the chili. (You may want to open a window.)

4. 5When the garlic is ready, add the pork. Break it up in the pan with your spatula, to make sure it cooks evenly. Fry until no longer red.

5. Add sugar, soy sauce & fish sauce. Stir and let absorb.

6. When dry, add the water and the basil leaves. Stir until basil is wilted, and serve on rice.

7. If you want to top with a fried egg, add a bit more oil in the pan, and allow the oil to get very hot. Crack an egg in the middle. If it’s hot enough the egg will bubble up and sizzle. When browned on the edges, flip and wait until browned on the other side.

8. Remove and place on top of the rice.

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This recipe is the inspiration for the name of this blog. Though I can no longer remember where I found the recipe (I have a feeling it is a Swiss recipe from the Canton of Tessin), I believe the original used zucchini blossoms instead of basil. 

More than just a simple cream sauce, this sauce is made unique through the additions of saffron and generous amounts of fresh basil. It’s rich and warming, yet at the same time aromatic and fresh. One of the first dishes I ever adapted, it remains one of my all time favorites to make!

Serves 4.

Enjoy!

Creamy Saffron and Basil Pasta

Ingredients

1 cup water

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

olive oil, for frying

1-2 large handfuls basil, sliced chiffonade

a pinch of saffron

1 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper, to taste

16 oz pasta of your choice

grated parmesan cheese, to serve

 

Directions

1. Boil the water for the pasta.

2. Fry the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until lightly browned.

3. Pour in the water and allow to come to a simmer and reduce by one-third.

4. Add the basil and let cook down for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

5. Stir in the saffron. 

6. Pour in the cream and then add a little salt and pepper to taste. 

7. Allow to simmer slowly and thicken. (Tip: add a little grated parmesan to speed up the thickening process.)

8. Serve over pasta cooked al dente, and serve with grated parmesan cheese.

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  • Mama Leah: Well, my darling, I am extremely impressed and inspired. I, of course, don't have one iota of the culinary skills that you have (except for baking, b
  • saffronandbasil: Thanks for the recipe. By the way, LOVE LOVE your site.