pad ka prao

O.G. Meal Prep: Thai Pad Ka Prao With Pork

Last video, we began exploring Asian-style lunchboxes starting with the Korean dosirak. On this video, we’re getting our meal prep inspiration from Thailand with a dish called Pad Ka Prao. Now Pad Ka Prao means stir-fried holy basil as holy basil is a key component in the original dish, but we didn’t have any, so in an aimless cook fashion, we improvised by using lemongrass.

Again, like last time, the focus on this meal is that it’s economical, easy to make, and perfect for a boxed lunch. Pad Ka Prao is an iconic Thai dish that is enjoyed every day. It consists of stir-fried ground meat, in today’s case we’re using pork, with a paste we will make from shallots and Thai chilies. The sauce we’re making is a savoury and funky flavour as it uses light soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, oyster sauce, and fish sauce. That combination hits all the signature flavour requirements of a Thai dish as it has that balance of savoury, sweet, spicy, and funky.

Served with jasmine rice, fresh cucumbers and a crispy fried egg, Pad Ka Prao is a complete quintessential Asian dish and the perfect candidate for our O.G Meal Prep series.

You will need (for 4 meals):

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 cup holy basil, or ¼ cup minced lemongrass
  • 7 Thai chilies
  • 2 shallots, coarsely chopped
  • A pinch Kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
  • 1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 English cucumber

The first thing we’re going to do is make a simple paste. In a mortar and pestle, combine the shallots and Thai chilies and start to pound into a paste. Add a pinch of Kosher salt. This acts as an abrasive to help break them down. The goal here is to break everything down into a coarse paste where the chili is evenly broken up into the shallot. When that’s done, set aside.

In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of fish sauce, 1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce (kecap manis), and 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce. Mix well and set aside.

Heat up a wok on medium-high heat and add about a ¼ cup of oil. To make the crispy-edged fried eggs, you need a lot of oil. Once the oil is hot, carefully crack in the egg. Fry until the edges are lightly golden brown, then carefully take out and put in paper towel to drain. Set aside.

Dump off the excess oil into a container for later and add the ground pork to the hot wok. Break it up and stir until the meat is no longer pink. At this time, add the shallot and chili paste and lemongrass (if you have it), continue to stirfry until the meat starts to brown. Add the sauce and stir to combine everything. Give a little taste and adjust what you need to adjust. If you have holy basil, add it last and stir through. Remove from heat and set aside.

To assemble, start with steamed jasmine rice. Arrange the meat on top with a few slices of fresh cucumber on the side. Pop the fried egg on the other side of the plate and garnish with chili pepper slices, sesame seeds, or more basil.