Have you ever found something so good you just want to share it with the world?
Well, then you know exactly how I feel about pad gaprow. This stir fried dish with holy basil amazes me. It has such a unique taste, owing in large part to the distinctive peppery, almost licorice-like flavor of holy basil, but also to the spice from the Thai chilis and the subtle sweetness from the dark soy sauce. Pad gaprow is unlike anything else I’ve tasted, and as such, I always feel compelled to share it with others.
My lovely coworkers bore the brunt of this food sharing last year. They had never tasted holy basil before, so of course I had to initiate them! I brought in gai pad gaprow with jasmine rice for everyone to sample over lunch. One of my coworkers, though, was vegan and I couldn’t leave her out of the holy basil experience! So the night before, I set out to adapt my gai pad gaprow recipe for her, using tofu instead of chicken and only thin and dark soy sauces for flavoring.
This vegan version of pad gaprow turned out well, but it wasn’t quite as addictive as the original chicken version. So over the past year, I’ve played around with this recipe a little more. I wound up pan frying the tofu in strips before chopping it into coarse pieces to give the dish some texture. I also adjusted the amounts of the soy sauces so that the sweetness of the dark soy sauce comes through, but doesn’t overpower the saltiness of the thin soy sauce.
This weekend, using the last of my holy basil from the market, I made both the tofu and chicken versions of pad gaprow. I served them side by side to the boyfriend. Fortunately, they both got big thumbs up from him! The tofu version isn’t quite as succulent as the meat version simply because of the nature of tofu, but I have to say, it’s still pretty awesome. And if you’ve never had holy basil before, it’s something you absolutely must try!