Thailand – Pad Kra Pao Gai

by Fauzan Anandika

Horror festival like Halloween has many fans all over the world. Each country has its own background ghost story for the event. In Thailand, they have a ghost festival named Phi Ta Khon. The background of this festival comes from their ancestor belief. Thai people believe that ghost and spirit is a frightening being for human. On the other hand, they also believe that they can make a party with those ghosts, at least once a year.

Phi Ta Khon is a ghost festival from Dan Sai village in Thailand. Dan Sai village is a small village in the Northeast of Bangkok city. To come to Dan Sai Village, tourists need to ride a car for 520 km from Bangkok city. The festival itself is held around June every year, and more than 20.000 peoples participate.

They come far away to Dan Sai to celebrate the Phi Ta Khon festival. A three days festival is known as the ghost festival. Each participant already prepared themselves with a ghost mask made from coconut shells. 

The ghost mask made it as scary as possible to frightening other peoples, especially the children. They scare people around while dancing in a parade and make a noisy sound around the village. All those rituals are to commemorate when Sidharta Buddha Gautama entering the incarnation phase.

During the festival, tourists could find many Thai street foods near the parade route. Pad Kra Pao Gai is one of them. Thai chicken basil is the most beloved street food at the festival. There are three kinds of basil that use in Thai Food: sweet basil (bai horapa), lemon basil(bai maenglak), and holy-basil (bai kra). To cook Pad Kra Pao Gai, Thai people use the holy-basil. But if there isn’t any holy-basil in your town, you can substitute it with sweet basil. Even it doesn’t have pepper taste like holy basil and changes the original. Using sweet basil still makes the dish taste delicious. 

As a cooking tip, you need to ground the garlic and chili using mortar and pestle to create a better taste. Grounding creates more juice from chili and garlic to bring a deeper taste with garlic aroma all over the dish. You don’t need to make a garlic paste. All you need is roughly crush it.

Without any further ado, let’s try to cook some Thai chicken basil.

Topping ingredient

  • 1 piece of egg
  • 10 ml of cooking oil

Chicken basil ingredient

  • 200 grams of chicken breast
  • 5 clove of garlic
  • 8 piece of bird eyes chili
  • 5 ml of cooking oil
  • 5 ml of oyster sauce
  • 5 ml of salty soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon of sugar
  • 20 gram of sweet basil
  • Salt 

How to cook

Fried egg preparation

  1. Prepare a frying pan, heat the cooking oil.
  2. Drop in the egg to make a sunny side up egg. You can make it a scrambled egg if you want.
  3. Remove and place on a serving plate.

Chicken Basil

  1. Slice chicken breast into small pieces.
  2. Roughly ground garlic and chili using mortar and pestle. 
  3. Remove sweet basil leaves from the stalks.
  4. Prepare a frying pan, add cooking oil heat up with medium fire. 
  5. Add grounded chili and garlic, cook until fragrant, don’t make it too dry.
  6. Add chicken, cook until tender, add some water if to dry. 
  7. Keep stirring while cooking the chicken.
  8. Add oyster sauce, salty soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and sugar.
  9. Adjust the taste with salt.
  10. Add sweet basil for 5 seconds, turn off the heat.
  11. Place in a serving plate and topped with sunny side egg.
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