Exploding Egg was the name of the dish.
I ordered it out of curiosity, but it was really the classic Thai fan-fave Pad Krapao (Basil Stir-Fry) topped with, or served over, a crispy fried egg with a slightly runny yolk. Yum.
During college, our group of friends’ go-to lunch spot was an area near our university called Sam Yan, in Bangkok. Sam Yan back then was a massive food court with seemingly endless food choices from vendors serving up seriously good eats.
Food court with good eats (?), one might ask in true wonder? Actually, food courts in Thailand are generally a good thing, and it is where you can find great eats for cheap. Food courts are an extension of street food basically — “organized street food,” if you will.
Our favorite vendor was the one nearest the front entrance, and not for convenience – we would also make a ceremonial lap around the court to check out other food stalls. This vendor was just our favorite. It was simply the best and the one that served Exploding Egg, their version of Pad Krapao. Instead of serving the crispy fried egg on top of the Krapao (the traditional way), they served the Krapao on top of the egg, making it look like the Krapao “exploded” out of the crispy egg. Hence the clever name.
This isn’t their recipe per se but it is a Krapao recipe I learned from my aunt, who, I must say, is one of my favorite cooks! It’s super easy to make. For purposes of picture-taking, I present the egg on top. Prettier. 🙂
Ingredients (1 serving)
- Ground meat (pork is most traditional and will result in a juicier krapao but you can also use chicken or turkey), about a cup
- Thinly sliced onions, 1/2 of a small onion
- Garlic, 2 cloves chopped
- Bird Chilies ** These chilies are spicy. If you enjoy the heat, use a few, if not, either omit or use just one…or even half. Pound them like you would a garlic clove. (I used five for my portion. Yes, I’m crazy like that.)
- Red Bell Pepper, 1/4 of a whole pepper thinly sliced (I like the pepper because it adds color, but bell peppers are not used in traditional Krapao.)
- Thai Basil (also called Holy Basil – you can substitute with regular basil, also called Sweet Basil), about 10 leaves
- Fish sauce, 1 to 2 tsp
- Sugar, 1/2 to 3/4 tsp
- Vegetable oil, just a little
- Set wok to high heat, add oil, wait till hot.
- Add garlic and bird chillies. Stir fry till fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
- Add the onions. When the onions start to smell like onions, add the ground pork. Stir fry until the pork is almost done.
- Add red bell peppers – we want this to be tender.
- Add fish sauce and sugar.
- Add Thai basil leaves.
- When done, taste, and adjust seasoning.
Crispy Fried Egg (Kai Dao)
A good Kai Dao has a crispy egg white and a creamy yolk.
While it’s cooking (pic below), it should bubble happily away in the wok.
Simply heat up a generous amount of oil in your wok. The oil needs to be hot enough that when you add the egg, it really sizzles. The egg whites should also puff up and blister – a good thing. You want to help it along by spooning the hot oil over the top of the egg. When the whites are nice and crispy and the yolk is still a little runny, drain it on the side of the wok and let the excess oil run off.
Now you have the perfect topping for your Krapao.
Serve Krapao Kai Dao over Jasmine rice with a side of Prik Nam Pla as a condiment. Yum.