Krapao Gai (Basil Chicken)

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m half way across the world from home or if it’s because I’m stuck in this incredibly cold weather but I’m really craving a hot plate of Krapao Gai right now. To me, this dish is not only served with a plate of rice and a fluffy fried egg, but also nostalgia. It is a dish that my mother cooks to please everyone in the house, a dish that my father repeatedly orders at our favorite street food vendor and a dish that brings a smile to my sister’s face whenever she smells it cooking in the kitchen.Holy basil, garlic, chilies and oyster sauce give Krapao Gai its distinct flavors. Salty, spicy, hot and fragrant, a spoonful of Krapao Gai never ceases to shock me with the burst of flavors that come with every first bite. Best made over a gas stove on a very hot wok, the dish sparks with life when you hear the sizzling of all the ingredients frying together, which sooner or later causes me to choke on the pungent smell of chilies.

The dish comes with jasmine rice, a symbol of Thai pride, and a fried egg with a runny yolk. More drama is added to the dish when the yolk of the egg is broken and its creaminess oozes out and marries with the powerful flavors of the dish. Scoop all these components onto a spoon and that’s it.That’s perfection. Cheap and good, simple and easy make it a dish enjoyed by people from all walks of life and serves as a common ground for me and Thai people.

The classic Thai ingredients in this dish warms my stomach and heart at the same time. Delicious and very satisfying, Krapao Gai represents the passion and heat in a dish that I cannot find in other dishes away from home. 

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