Our next guest recipe is by a friend of mine whom I have always known to love cooking. She is Marielle Santos-Po, a wife, mother to two boys and an entrepreneur. She admits that she doesn’t have any culinary background but being in a family who hails from Pampanga and who are all excellent cooks, it was a natural thing for her to inherit her love for the kitchen from them.
For Marielle, cooking and entertaining at home relax her at the end of a long day. She enjoys the whole process of creating a theme, fixing the menu and setting up the table for her guests. And here she shares with us one of her favorite homemade recipes, her version of Gai Pad Gra Pao, a well-loved Thai dish more commonly known as Thai Chicken Basil with Shrimp Crackers.
This is a quick and easy appetizer that can be done in 15 minutes. Marielle serves this dish whenever her home dinners are “Asian -themed”. But instead of serving it with steamed rice, she serves it with kropek (shrimp crackers), that is readily available in the supermarket. The kropek is perfect to use as a scoop for the stir-fried chicken!
This dish has a wonderful combination of sweet, spicy and salty flavors that’s guaranteed to be enjoyed by everyone. (Yes even your kids will enjoy this, just remove the chili in the recipe! 🙂 )
Chicken Basil with Shrimp Crackers
1/4 kg Ground Chicken (no skin)
3-5 tablespoons canola oil
2-4 pieces Thai chili or Sili labuyo (depends on your spice level)
1 ½ – 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic (depends on your preference)
2-3 tablespoons of rough chopped peanuts
1 ½ tablespoons of Thai fish sauce
1 ½ tablespoons of Oyster sauce
1 ½ tablespoons of Light Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon of Brown sugar
1/2 cup Vita Coco Coconut Water
1 cup Fresh Basil
Pinch of salt
1 pack of Fry & Pop Shrimp Crackers (Kropek)
* I prefer using this brand because it’s crunchier and it has stripes which make it look better than the usual kropek.
- Heat half of the oil in a medium saucepan (medium-high heat). Stir in chopped garlic until it turns brown and add the chopped chili and stir everything until combined (approx 10 seconds).
- Add the ground chicken and cook until slightly done (you may add the rest of the oil if its too dry) then lower the heat to medium and add in the chopped peanuts.
- Mix in the Thai fish sauce, oyster sauce, light soy sauce, brown sugar and Vita Coco. Add in the fresh basil and mix well. Season with salt.
*If you feel that it needs more liquid, you may add more Vita Coco. The good thing about using Vita Coco is that its natural sweetness combines well with the spicy-salty taste eliminating the need to use a lot of brown sugar. It also gives a slight coconut taste without using heavy coconut milk.
Procedure (Shrimp Crackers):
Fry them using the procedure at the back of the package.
Fry the rest of the fresh basil until crispy and use this as a scoop or topping for both the chicken basil and the shrimp crackers.
This recipe serves 8-10 persons (if there are other appetizers) or 6 persons (if served solo).