Pad Kee Mao

My family and I used to go on vacations every year, but now that everyone has grown up and has school and work to worry about, family vacations are very rare.  Stumbling upon old photos always brings a little nostalgia.  I was going through some old photos and came across my Thailand trip.  Thailand is such a beautiful place to visit and created many memories for me.  Even the airport is beautiful!  The food was good and the people were very friendly. 

Suvarnabhumi airport
Making papaya salad alongside the beach
                                              baby bananas
                  Fruits galore! At the floating flea market

Since we joined a tour group, we were not able to walk around and explore as much as we wanted to.  We were only allowed to stay at each location for about an hour before it was time to go on to our next destination.  The restaurants we went to had a set menu for tourists.  The waitresses said typical Thai food isn’t served to tourists because it’s too spicy.  Too spicy?!  TRY ME!  We wanted to try foods that the locals ate so we were taken to the mall’s food court. We ordered some Thai fried rice and started with a mild level of spice.  I took one bite and said, “WOW, this is spicy!” but it was extremely tasty and I couldn’t stop feeding my face!   Washing it down with a cup of Thai iced tea was perfection.

One of my favorite dishes to eat at Thai restaurants is a noodle dish called Pad Kee Mao.  It consists of flat rice noodles with ground meat, basil, and usually some red bell pepper tossed in sauce.   The sweetness and saltiness of the sauce is a perfect match with the chewy consistency of the rice noodles, the sweetness and crispiness of the bell pepper, and the distinct taste of the basil.  You can also put as much spice as you’d like!  Here is my version of Pad Kee Mao.

Pad Kee Mau

Serves 4

1 Tbsp. oil

1 lb of your choice of ground meat

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

½ a red bell papper (cut into matchsticks)

20 string beans, cleaned and ends cut

1 C. packed fresh basil leaves(must be fresh!)

1/2 C. hoisin sauce

¼ C. oyster sauce

2 tsp. fish sauce

1 package fresh flat rice noodles

3 Tbsp. Sambal oelek (optional)

Heat oil in a large skillet and add the minced garlic.  When the garlic is fragrant, add the red pepper and string beans. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Add in the ground meat and stir to break the meat into very small chunks. Cook until it is almost all brown. 

When the meat is almost all brown, add in the hoisin, oyster, and fish sauces to the pan and mix to incorporate the sauces and the meat. 

 When the sauces and meat are mixed well together, throw in the basil and garlic chili sauce. Stir and cook for about five minutes.  Turn the heat off and toss in the noodles and stir until the noodles are well coated. 

If the meat is too dry, you can either add more sauce or a very small amount of water or chicken broth.

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