when baking, follow directions.. when cooking, go by your own taste.. ~ Laiko Bahrs
a few weeks ago, the very week when the bad haze enveloped both Malaysia and Singapore in thick, toxic smog, hubs and i were in Bangkok on holiday.. one evening, i had to take care of my own dinner as hubs went off somewhere for an event.. so, on the way back from the day’s shopping activity, we stopped by a MaxValue convenience store a few doors away from our hotel.. i browsed through the rows of delicious looking packed cooked meals and picked up a tray containing spicy pork stir fry with white rice..
one thing i absolutely love about Bangkok, their convenience stores and mini marts like 7 Eleven and MaxValue stock cooked food that are really good.. AND cheap.. you can pick up burgers, sandwiches, salads, meat on skewers, rice set meals, noodles, etc from one of these stores and have a really satisfying meal just like that..
so, after hubs left, i made myself comfy and reheated the tray of food in the microwave oven.. a delicious aroma quickly filled the room and i couldn’t help salivating as i was already very hungry.. switched the tv on, plopped myself on the pillows in bed, and spooned a heaped mound of rice and pork into my mouth..
the first hit made me crinkle my forehead in delightful surprise.. it was one of the most delicious things i’ve ever tasted in
my entire life Bangkok.. i couldn’t wait to finish chewing and sending the mass of yumminess into the deep ravines of my eagerly awaiting stomach and savor more spoonfuls of it..
and then, the second hit came.. this time, it wasn’t that pleasant.. a slow spreading, painful, stinging sensation that set my mouth on fire and brought tears into my eyes.. it was one of the hottest things i’ve ever tasted in
my entire life Bangkok..
part of me wished i could douse myself in ice, while another part wished for more of the
torture food.. it was so good and yet so bad at the same time that in situations like this, one is usually forced to choose either one and bear with the other.. i chose the former.. i could feel it in my guts for sure that i was gonna regret it in the bathroom the next morning..
i messaged hubs on the phone about it and he picked up a tray on his way back late that night.. he agreed that it was one of the most delicious things we’ve ever had in Bangkok.. besides the famous mango and sticky rice in Sukhumvit, the noodle soup with pork and fresh herbs nearby our hotel, the tom yum noodle soup further down, the pork skewers cart, the yummyyummyyummy coconut cream filled pancake balls, the deep fried pork skin snack, the super crispy and flavorful deep fried chicken, the various types of ‘gourmet’ sausages and meat balls at a shopping mall food court, the spicy mango salad, the coconut ice cream, the bottled fresh fruit juices carts, the freshly grilled marinated fish, the lip-smacking deep fried stuffed crabs snack, the seafood dinner at Somboon restaurant, and many, many more~ Bangkok is definitely a foodie’s heaven..
well, ever since then i just couldn’t stop thinking about that delicious spicy pork stir fry.. a well balanced mix of sweet, salty, sour, and spicy tastes enhanced frther by the aromatic flavors of Thai basil and lemongrass.. just the very kind of combination in a dish that i really, really love.. or maybe it was the fiery ride through hot gastronomy hell that got it to stick in my mind like industrial strength glue..
on the last day of the trip, i managed to join a morning cooking class nearby the hotel.. one of the dishes i learned tasted almost similar to the spicy pork stir fry that i had.. so, based on that recipe, i came up with my own version to replicate the dish i missed so much.. i’m happy to report that for now at least, i can rely on it to satiate my craving for the ‘legendary’ spicy pork stir fry that we had in Bangkok..
for the recipe today, i used beef instead of pork, just to see how the dish will taste like with it.. hubs loves it, as he’s a huge fan of beef.. i think it’ll taste better with pork, as i prefer it to beef, but it’s still really good, eaten with steamed white rice alone.. the use of Thai basil leaves for this recipe is a must, as it’s one of the most important components that gives it that distinct flavor and aroma.. you can substitute it with sweet basil if you don’t have it.. bird eye chilli is another must ingredient, as i think there’s no point making this dish at all if it’s omitted completely.. it’s one of those recipes that are meant to be hot/spicy, and making it otherwise simply turns it into another dish altogether, if you understand what i mean by that..