This is another favorite among the lunch crowd in Thailand, and made readily available by food vendors in virtually every street corner. You can find this dish anywhere, and it is indeed simply delicious.
The dish is called Moo Kratiem Prik Thai, that is:
Moo = Pork
Kratiem = garlic
Prik Thai = ground pepper (usually white pepper).
Kai (chicken) and Kung (shrimp) are also popular meats for Kratiem Prik Thai.
As a nation, Thais eat quite a lot of pork, so you will find that dishes from Thai vendors often feature pork as the main protein.
Kratiem Prik Thai is a part of a Thai food category called “Aharn Jahn Deow” or literally “one plate food,” typically a made-to-order stir-fry over white jasmine rice. It could also be a noodle stir-fry such as Pad Thai, Pad See U, Pad Kee Mao (Drunken Noodles), etc. I’d go so far as to say that “one-plate-food” is the equivalent of the sandwich in terms of being an all encompassing meal offered up in one ‘package’, so to speak, and often eaten for lunch.
Although not technically street food, the Kratiem Prik Thai isn’t exactly a full sit-down restaurant food either (i.e. a restaurant where we go for dinners with friends and family and order dishes to be eaten family-style). Most Kratiem Prik Thai is rather eaten at food stalls or lunchtime shops. It is also a dish Thai home cooks don’t usually make at home. So, however easy the dish is to make, I never made it until I came to live in the U.S.
There are variations to this dish – some cooks make it dryer, some make it juicier, some use only fish sauce, some only soy sauce (a friend of mine uses only Golden Mountain soy-based seasoning sauce), some a combination of the two, some throw in some oyster sauce. In essence, this dish should taste salty savory and garlicky with just a hint of spiciness from the ground white pepper. (Sugar is used only to balance out the other flavors, not to make the dish sweet.)
The following are my basic ingredients for Kratiem Prik Thai.
- Meat, sliced thin-ish (Pork is most common, followed by shrimp and chicken.)
- Garlic, minced (I use a couple of cloves per serving.)
- Fish sauce
- Soy sauce
- Ground white pepper (White peppercorns grounded to a powdery form – it tastes significantly different than black pepper, and commonly used in Thai cooking.)
- Cooking oil
- Cucumbers and tomatoes for garnish
- Heat wok and add some oil. (In the meantime, I like to mix in a few dashes of soy sauce to the meat to marinate while waiting for the other steps.)
- Add garlic and stir-fry till fragrant.
- Add the pork and stir-fry till nearly done.
- Add a few dashes of fish sauce and soy sauce, and a sprinkle of sugar.
- Stir fry till pork is done and add a little water to deglaze the yummy bits from the bottom of the wok.
- Taste and adjusting seasoning if needed.
- Sprinkle in some white ground pepper.
- Serve over jasmine rice. Garnish with cucumbers and tomatoes.
The perfect condiment for your Kratiem Prik Thai? Prik Nam Pla of course!
Oh, just in case you were wondering why I have a fork and spoon in the picture… In Thailand, we eat our rice-based (or even stir-fry noodle) meals with a fork in the left hand and a spoon in the right, using the fork to push food into the spoon and eating out of the spoon. Give it a try! :)