This is one of my restaurant's bestselling dishes: grapow—a simple street-style stir-fry of chopped meat, tiny Thai garlic cloves, chili, and the pungent holy basil from which the dish gets its name—but made with lamb shoulder instead of the usual pork or chicken. I serve it with a traditional runny fried egg atop a pile of fluffy jasmine rice.
Serves two as part of a meal
• 200 grams lamb shoulder, or any boneless cut of lamb with some fat (leg is fine too)
• 2 to 3 prik chee fah (longer, red Thai chilies) or any spicy chili • 3 medium sized cloves of garlic, chopped (or 10 Thai garlic cloves)
• 3 tablespoons cooking oil • 1/3 cup stock (chicken or pork is fine)
• 1 tablespoon good oyster sauce • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
• ½ teaspoon dark, sweet soy sauce • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
• 1 handful holy basil leaves (about 30 grams, or 1 ounce) • steamed Jasmine rice
• 2 eggs
Chop the lamb with a heavy cleaver into a loose mince (it should be almost, but not quite, the consistency of hamburger meat). Pick the basil. Chop the chilies and garlic and have all the sauces ready before you start to cook. This dish happens fast.
Put two portions of steamed rice in small soup bowls and turn bowl upside down on a plate for a neat pile of rice. Then, fry two eggs sunny side up and place the eggs atop your rice.
Heat a wok, with 1 tablespoon of oil, over a high flame until the oil begins to smoke.
Add lamb and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Then, turn the heat down to medium, add the garlic and chilies and continue to stir-fry, stirring vigorously to make sure the garlic does not stick or burn for 1 minute.
Add the soup, and the oyster, fish, and soy sauces, and the white pepper powder, and stir.
Raise the heat to high once again, and cook for 30 seconds or until the sauce is thick but not dry. Finish by adding the holy basil, toss in the wok, and place on the plate beside the rice and the fried egg. The rice, lamb, and egg are all mixed together and eaten.
Serve with a fruity, warm-climate red wine. A good Australian Shiraz, a California Zinfandel, an Argentine Malbec, or a Nero d'Avola from Sicily would all work nicely.
To read about Jarrett's efforts to pair wine and Thai food at his restaurant, Soul Food Mahanakorn, click here.