This time of year is one of my favorites. The sun is shining, the flowers are in full bloom, and it’s finally warm enough to really enjoy the outdoors. If all of these things weren’t enough, since starting to cook Thai food I’ve discovered yet another reason to love this time of year. That’s because this is when fresh bunches of Thai basil, holy basil, and lemon basil start showing up at farmer’s markets and Asian grocery stores.
Whenever I find holy basil (bai gaprow/ใบกะเพรา), I always make pad gaprow with chicken or pork, generally several times. I also usually have enough holy basil to make pad kee mao (drunken noodles) at least once. Sometimes I’ll even experiment with potak soup, although I have to admit this recipe is still in development, so sometimes it seems like too big of a gamble to take with my precious holy basil.
After finding holy basil at the markets this weekend, I decided to try something new in addition to my usual go-to dishes. I made khao pad gaprow or fried rice with holy basil. This dish is very similar to pad gaprow, but differs in that you add rice to the main components of the dish rather than serving it alongside white jasmine rice. Since the boyfriend and I both love pad gaprow so much, I knew that we’d love this as well.
I followed the basic recipe for pad gaprow, adding the jasmine rice towards the end and continuing to stir fry until it absorbed all of the delicious sauces. A little additional soy sauce (or fish sauce if you prefer) was needed to compensate for all of the rice. I also ended up adding some Chinese long beans which helped give the fried rice a satisfying crunchy texture. In the end, though, the star of the show was the holy basil, which is just as it should be.