Pad krapow pasta: Haridasan Thanasingam

This post is part of a new segment where I recreate the recipes of those around me. I am forever curious about the homecooked food my friends and family subsist on and nourish themselves with – what are their lazy day go-to meals? What do they turn to when they feel like making a splash in the kitchen? What is their definition of comfort food? I will explore these questions through my histamine-intolerant lens, but will include the original recipes for those who don’t get bloated off everything.

What: An Asian-inspired pasta, my favourite kind of pasta (similar to this recipe I shared a few weeks ago)

Who: Pinch of This, Pinch of That i.e. Haridasan Thanasingam

Bloat score: 0 – Living the dream

Pinch of This, Pinch of That is one of my most creative friends in the kitchen, but he’s also notoriously the worst to learn from. Like all the best cooks, Pinch of This, Pinch of That relies on his tastebuds and his tastebuds alone – he’s able to sample a dish at a restaurant and recreate it from scratch in the comfort of his own kitchen the next day, relying on his superior recall and keen perceptiveness of what ingredients were used. In other words, he’s the polar opposite of me.

I virtually bludgeoned him to give me the recipe for this delicious pad krapow pasta that I’ve spied on his Instagram more than once and he kindly acquiesced, giving me rough instructions of what he used in what order. When I sent him a picture of what I’d made below, he said it could use more bird’s eye chilli, known in Malaysia as cili padi, basil and coriander and when I berated him, saying I’d followed his instructions to the tee, he said he cooks as much with his tastebuds as he cooks with his eyes so I’ve adjusted the recipe below to reflect this.

Pinch of This, Pinch of That originally made this with farfalle (bowtie pasta) but I substituted this with gluten-free spaghetti because it’s what I had in the pantry and omitted the onions to make it more histamine-friendly. Please proceed with any pasta you like, and if you tolerate onions, do not forget to use them! If I had my time again, I’d use gluten-free penne.

A traditional pad krapow is made with Thai basil but Pinch of This, Pinch of That uses sweet basil here, preferring the peppery clove-like aftertaste compared to the spicy anise-like notes of Thai basil. Which is not to say that this dish is lacking in spice – both chilli oil and bird’s eye chilli elevate this dish into a deliciously piquant one, and I love the interplay between the garlicky, saucy pork mince, the sweet basil and the coriander. Pinch of This, Pinch of That also likes frying an egg and putting it atop the pad krapow pasta, but I didn’t have any eggs.

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The pad krapow is hugely versatile and can be scooped atop a bowl of hot Jasmine rice if that’s what you have in the pantry, and can be substituted with any mince you like – from chicken mince to quorn mince to make this vegetarian.

My gut tolerates sauces fairly well and due to the absence of wheat and onions, I escaped with zero bloats.

Pad krapow pasta (an original recipe by Haridasan Thanasingam)
Serves: 2

Whatever pasta you have in the pantry / rice – 2 serves (as mentioned above, I used gluten-free spaghetti but I think this would work great with gluten-free penne)
300g of pork mince (or any mince of your liking)
2–4 bird’s eye chilli, diced (depending on your spice tolerance – I am a spice fiend and used two, but I definitely could’ve gone with at least one more)
1 brown onion, finely diced
3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
2 cups sweet basil, finely chopped
2 cups coriander, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of chilli oil (I used chiu chow chilli oil)
1 teaspoon of sugar
½ teaspoon of sesame oil
1 egg (optional)

If using pasta, start by boiling some salted water. Add your pasta in and strain once it’s cooked.

Mix together the oyster sauce, soy sauce, chilli oil, sugar and sesame oil in a small bowl and set aside. Give it a taste and adjust it according to your preferences.

Stir-fry the finely diced onions until slightly brown. Add the finely diced garlic and continue frying. When the garlic is slightly brown, add the minced pork.

Once the pork has browned slightly, add the finely chopped sweet basil and the diced bird’s eye chilli. Fry for a further 2 minutes or until the minced pork has fully browned.

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Add three tablespoons of water to the pot followed by the sauce you mixed in together at the start. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper and stir-fry everything together.

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Add the finely chopped coriander and give it a few tosses.

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If using pasta, toss your cooked pasta through the pork mince sauce for a few minutes to allow the flavours to soak in. Give it a taste and add salt and pepper accordingly. You can also serve it with rice.

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If you’d like to serve it with an egg atop, fry your egg to your liking and plate it on to your pasta or rice.

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Author: Sonia Nair

Sonia Nair is a Melbourne-based food writer who persists with her love of everything deep fried and spicy, despite being diagnosed with a histamine intolerance and lactose intolerance after incorrectly thinking she was fructose-intolerant for several years.

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