Thai “Beef” with Basil (Pad Gra Prow)

This is a very traditional Thai street food. Great for breakfast, lunch or a snack. The Thai name above is a bit generic, as it doesn\’t mention beef as pad refers to stir frying and gra prow or kaphrao refers to basil. I was craving this dish, as I used to  eat it frequently in Thailand. It’s commonly made with minced pork, beef or chicken.

It’s a bit of Thai/Chinese fusion dish, which is quite popular in Thailand, due to strong Chinese community. I like to make a big batch of fried rice and then eat the leftovers for breakfast with a fried egg on top.

I wanted to create a non meat version so I used the Boca Crumbles from the frozen food section. If you have another favorite non meat product, feel free to use it, but I do think the minced texture works well. If you want to use meat, then pork, beef or chicken work as well.

Should you want a completely vegetarian version, just omit the fish sauce and add a bit of lime juice and some extra soy sauce or Golden Mountain sauce.


2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
4 cloves Garlic, sliced
2 inch piece fresh Ginger Root, peeled and chopped.
1/2 Onion, sliced
1/2 Red Pepper, sliced
1 bag Boca Crumbles
Splash of Vegetable Stock
1 Tbsp Chili Paste
1 Tbsp Rice Wine
1 Tbsp low sodium Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Fish Sauce, or sub Golden Mountain sauce to be completely vegetarian.
2 cups of fresh Basil, torn.
Lime Juice
I Egg, fried

Start the oil in your wok. Add the garlic, ginger, onion and red pepper. Stir fry until slightly crispy around the edges.

Add your Boca crumbles and a splash of vegetable stock and stir fry until it thaws and begins to break up. 

Keep stirring and then add your chili paste and rice wine. When reduced, add your soy sauce, fish sauce and basil. Once the basil has wilted, remove from the heat and spoon over brown jasmine rice and finish with a bit of lime juice.

Quickly fry your egg and add it to the top.

Note: If you want to really get that authentic Thai flavor, find yourself some holy basil or purple Thai basil and go for it. I cheat and use my own basil from the garden, as I have so much.

Mojo- Cuban Citrus Marinade

This marinade was a revelation to me. I got the recipe from a friend in Puerto Rico, but she said it was originally from Cuba. I decided to make a batch to marinade some meat for the grill and it was incredible.

Here are a few hints:

  • Try to use the freshest ingredients and grind the black pepper and cumin as needed. Cumin has a nasty habit of turning bitter when it has been ground for a long time.
  • Put your meat into a large plastic bag that seals and then lay it into an oven proof dish to avoid spills. Trust me on this one. Cleaning up leaked mojo is no fun.
  • Turn over the plastic bag occasionally, so the marinade stays evenly distributed.
  • If you want to use this to marinade seafood or fish, reduce your marinading time to one or two hours max. Otherwise you will end up with mushy cerviche.


Juice from 4 lemons
Juice from 4 limes
Juice from one Orange
4 Tbsp Olive Oil
5 cloves of garlic mashed
1 Tbsp freshly ground Cumin Seed
1Tbsp fresh ground Black Pepper
2 tsp Sea Salt
4 Tbsp fresh Cilantro

Blend all together in food processor and pour over chicken, beef or pork. Marinade in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours minimum or up to 24 hours. Longer is better. 

Remove form the bag and shake off the excess marinade and lay onto a hot grill and grill, turning occasionally until done. Serve with fried plantains, rice and black beans.

Many thanks to Wag for the image.

Ponzu Sauce- Japanese Liquid Gold

Since its finally grilling season, I wanted to share this wonderful marinade. This is perfect as a dipping sauce and/or basting sauce for most any meat, seafood, gyoza/dumpling or vegetable. However, I think it really shines on anything grilled.

Traditionally from Japan, it is made with the yazu fruit, which has a distinctive citrus flavor. As yazu are not easy to find here and the the prepackaged juice can be quite expensive, I wanted to find a recipe to recreate that flavor.

You can certainly buy ready made ponzu sauce, but they are packed with salt and sugar. I vastly prefer the cleaner taste of homemade.

This a relatively small batch, but feel free to double or triple it. It stores well in the refrigerator for up to two or three weeks.

4 Tbsp low sodium Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Mirin
Juice of one Lemon
2 Tbsp Orange Juice
Juice of 1/2 Lime
1/2 cup Dashi, dried bonito flakes
2 inch grated Fresh Ginger Root
1 tsp Sugar, optional

Mix all ingredients into a lidded container and shake vigorously. Allow to rest overnight or up to 24 hours and then strain before using as a marinade or dipping sauce.

Brush on prior to grilling and during grilling. Brush a bit on before serving or use as a dipping sauce.

Note: If you want to add toasted sesame oil, then 1 tsp is perfect. Additionally, the dashi flakes can be found at most Asian markets or can be ordered online.

Tom Yum Koong – Thai Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup – Updated

This is a traditional Thai soup. To make it properly, you need to layer the flavors, rather than throwing everything into the pot at one time.

Done properly, this is one of the world\’s great soups. Even better, it is very low in fat and very tasty. Note: I\’ve adjusted some of the quantities of ingredients to make it even better.

I have heard from a few people that some of the ingredients are somewhat hard to find. If you have a local Asian market, they often keep the galangal and kaffir lime leaves in the freezer section. Both freeze very well.

Barring that, here is a great Thai produce site to find everything you need. Use what you need of the lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves and freeze the rest.


6 cups low sodium Vegetable Broth
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1/2 – 3/4 lb Shrimp, shelled and deveined with shells, heads and tails retained.
3 pieces of sliced Galangal, softened with back of your knife.
2 stalks Lemon Grass, peeled and tough ends cut off and softened with back of your knife.
3 cloves Garlic, peeled and mashed.
3-5 fresh Thai Chilies, sliced in half.
8 Kaffir Lime leaves
1 Tbsp Chili Paste with Soya Bean Oil, see picture and note below.
1 cup Fresh Oyster Mushrooms, chopped into bite size pieces.2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
3-4 fresh Limes, juiced
Fresh Cilantro for garnish.
Begin by heating up your oil in a medium to large stock pot. Then add in your galangal, garlic, chilies and lemon grass and retained shrimp shells and sauté them briefly until the aroma starts to release.

Add in your vegetable broth and kaffir lime leaves  bring it up to a soft simmer. Allow this to gently simmer for about 20 minutes.

Then strain off the broth and return to your pan. Add your chili paste and oyster mushrooms. Simmer for 3-4 minutes and then add your fish sauce and shrimp. Cook just until the shrimp turn pink. This will take only a minute or so.

Add your lime juice, adjust to taste, top with fresh cilantro and remove from the heat and serve.

Note: Sugar is often added to Tom Yum Koong, but I found the chili paste I used was quite sweet, so I omitted any additional sugar. If you can find Thai Nam Prik Pao (Roasted Chili Paste) then you might need the sugar. If so, 1 tsp would be suffcient.