POKPOK

contents
foreword by David Thompson / vii
Introduction / 1
How to Use This Book / 5
Ingredients / 11
Mail-Order Sources / 21
Thai Regional Rundown / 22
the MortaR and Pestle / 27

CHAPTER 1

Khao (Rice) 29

Yam Makheua Yao
(Grilled eggplant salad) / 59

The Absurdity of Authenticity / 30

Sunny / 62

Khao Hom Mali (Jasmine rice) / 31

Yam Samun Phrai (Northern Thai–style
herbal salad) / 65

Khao Niaw (Sticky rice) / 33
CHAPTER 2

Neua Naam Tok
(Isaan steak salad) / 68

Som Tam
(Papaya salad and family) 35

Het Paa Naam Tok (Isaan-style forest
mushroom salad) / 70

Som Tam Thai
(Central Thai–style papaya salad) / 38
Som Tam Lao (Lao/Isaan-style papaya
salad) / 40
Som Tam Phonlamai (Thai fruit
salad) / 43

CHAPTER 3

CHAPTER 4

Plaa (Fish) 73
Plaa Neung Manao (Steamed whole fish
with lime and chiles) / 76

Tam Taeng Kwaa
(Thai cucumber salad) / 45

Plaa Neung Si Ew
(Steamed whole fish with soy sauce,
ginger, and vegetables) / 79

Yam (Thai “salads”) 49

Plaa Phao Kleua (Grilled salt-crusted
fish with chile dipping sauce) / 80

Yam Khai Dao (Fried egg salad) / 51
Yam Tuna (Thai tuna salad) / 54
Yam Wun Sen “Chao Wang”
(Sunny’s fancy glass noodle salad) / 57

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Plaa Thawt Lat Phrik (Deep-fried whole
fish with chile sauce) / 83
Aep Plaa (Curried fish grilled in
banana leaves) / 85

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CHAPTER 5

Phat (Stir-fries) 89

Yam Jin Kai
(Northern Thai chicken soup) / 158

Phat Khanaeng
(Stir-fried Brussels sprouts) / 91

Kaeng Khiaw Waan Luuk Chin Plaa
(Green curry with fish balls and
eggplant) / 161

Phat Fak Thawng (Northern Thai–style
stir-fried squash) / 94

Kaeng Som Kung
(Sour curry with shrimp) / 163

Phak Buung Fai Daeng
(Stir-fried water spinach) / 97

Kaeng Khanun (Northern Thai
young jackfruit curry) / 166

Phat Phak Ruam Mit
(Stir-fried mixed vegetables) / 98

Kaeng Hung Leh
(Burmese-style pork belly curry) / 170

Puu Phat Phong Karii (Crab stir-fried
with curry powder) / 101
CHAPTER 6

Laap
(Thai minced-meat salads) 105

CHAPTER 9

Naam Phrik Num (Green chile dip) / 174
Naam Phrik Plaa Thuu
(Grilled-fish dip) / 177

Laap Meuang (Northern Thai minced
pork salad) / 106
Da Chom / 113

Naam Phrik Ong (Northern Thai pork
and tomato dip) / 179

Laap Pet Isaan
(Isaan minced duck salad) / 117

Naam Phrik Kha
(Dry-fried galangal-chile dip) / 180

Laap Plaa Duuk Isaan
(Isaan minced catfish salad) / 119
CHAPTER 7

Khong Yaang
(Grilled foods) 123
Muu Kham Waan
(Grilled pork neck with spicy dipping
sauce and iced greens) / 125
Sii Khrong Muu Yaang
(Thai-style pork ribs) / 128
Sai Ua Samun Phrai (Northern
Thai–style herbal sausage) / 132
Kai Yaang
(Whole roasted young chicken) / 135
Mr. Lit / 138

Muu Sateh (Pork satay) / 141

CHAPTER 8

Naam Phrik (Chile dips) 173

CHAPTER 10

Aahaan Jaan Diaw
(The one-plate meal) 183
Khao Kha Muu (Pork shank stewed
with five spice) / 185
Kai Kaphrao Khai Dao
(Stir-fried chicken with hot basil) / 189
Khao Phat Muu
(Thai-style fried rice with pork) / 191
Khao Man Som Tam (Papaya salad with
coconut rice and sweet pork) / 193
Khao Tom (Thai rice soup) / 196
Kuaytiaw Pet Tuun
(Stewed duck noodle soup) / 200
Kuaytiaw Reua (Boat noodles) / 204

Khao Phot Ping (Grilled corn with
salty coconut cream) / 144

Ba Mii Tom Yam Muu Haeng
(Spicy, sweet, tart noodles with pork,
peanuts, and herbs) / 207

Kaeng, Tom, & Co.
(Curries and soups) 147

Kung Op Wun Sen
(Shrimp and glass noodles baked in a
clay pot) / 210

Kaeng Jeut Wun Sen
(“Bland” soup with glass noodles) / 149

Khao Soi Kai (Northern Thai curry
noodle soup with chicken) / 214

Jaw Phak Kat
(Northern Thai mustard green soup
with tamarind and pork ribs) / 151

Phat Si Ew
(Stir-fried rice noodles with pork,
Chinese broccoli, and soy sauce) / 218

Jin Hoom Neua
(Northern Thai stewed beef soup) / 154

Phat Thai (Stir-fried rice noodles with
shrimp, tofu, and peanuts) / 221

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Hoi Thawt
(Broken crepe with mussels) / 224
Kuaytiaw Khua Kai (Stir-fried noodles
with chicken, egg, and cuttlefish on
lettuce) / 229
Khanom Jiin Naam Yaa (Thai rice noodles
with fish-and-krachai curry) / 232
Khanom Jiin Naam Ngiew
(Thai rice noodles with Northern Thai
curry) / 235

CHAPTER 11

Krathiem Jiaw and
Naam Man Krathiem
(Fried garlic and garlic oil) / 272

Phat Khanom Jiin
(Stir-fried Thai rice noodles) / 238

Kapi Kung
(Homemade shrimp paste) / 274

Aahaan Farang
(Foreign food) 241

Naam Makham (Tamarind water) / 275
Naam Cheuam Naam Taan Piip
(Palm sugar simple syrup) / 275

Stir-Fried Yunnan Ham with
Chiles / 242

Naam Jim Kai
(Sweet chile dipping sauce) / 276

Cha
̉ cá Lã Vºng
(Vietnamese turmeric-marinated
catfish with noodles and herbs) / 245

Naam Jim Kai Yaang
(Tamarind dipping sauce) / 277

Khong Waan (Sweets) 253
Khao Niaw Mamuang
(Sticky rice with mango and saltysweet coconut cream) / 257
Khao Niaw Sankhaya Turian
(Sticky rice with durian custard) / 260
Khanom Pang Ai Tiim (Thai-style ice
cream sandwich) / 263
Pok Pok Affogato / 266

Khao Khua
(Toasted–sticky rice powder) / 271

Ajaan Sunee / 237

Khanom Bataeng Laai
(Northern Thai melon custard) / 254

CHAPTER 13

Phrik Phon Khua
(Toasted-chile powder) / 270

Hom Daeng Jiaw and
Naam Man Hom Daeng
(Fried shallots and shallot oil) / 273

Ike’s Vietnamese Fish-Sauce
Wings / 249
CHAPTER 12

Khai Tom (Eight-minute eggs) / 270

Jaew (Spicy, tart dipping sauce
for meat) / 278
Phrik Naam Som
(Sour chile dipping sauce) / 279
Naam Jim Seafood (Spicy, tart dipping
sauce for seafood) / 280
Naam Jim Sateh (Peanut sauce) / 281
Yam Makheua Thet
(Fish sauce–soaked tomatoes) / 282
Ajaat (Cucumber relish) / 283
Cu Cai
(Pickled carrot and daikon radish) / 284
Phrik Tam Naam Som
(Grilled-chile vinegar) / 285

Sundry Items
(Stock, Condiments, and
Pantry Staples) 267

Phrik Naam Plaa (Fish sauce–soaked
chiles) / 286

Sup Kraduuk Muu (Pork stock) / 268

Naam Phrik Phao
(Roasted chile paste) / 287

Muu Deng (Bouncy pork balls) / 269

Phrik Naam Som
(Vinegar-soaked chiles) / 286

Acknowledgments / 288
Index / 290

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189

Kai Kaphrao Khai Dao
Stir-fried chicken with hot basil
SPECIAL
EQUIPMENT
• A Thai granite mortar
and pestle
• A wok and wok spatula

It’s morning in Bangkok. Motorcycles zig-zag treacherously through the lines
of cars clogging the streets. You’re walking along grand boulevards and down
narrow side streets. Overhead, great masses of electric wires snake through the
city and skyscrapers gleam in the skyline. You’re hungry, searching for something to eat. But you don’t have to try hard to find food, because in Bangkok,
food usually finds you.
You can’t go far without passing a cluster of umbrella-covered stands, selling mammoth pink segments of pomelo or skewers of meat or noodle soups.
Finally, you stop at a vendor set up beside an alley, a woman presiding over
more than a dozen aluminum trays, each piled with dish you can’t for the life
of you identify. Still, you want to eat them all.
It’s in this type of restaurant, called raan khao kaeng (roughly, curry-overrice shops), where many visitors to Thailand, not just to Bangkok, come
across kai kaphrao, a stir-fry of pork or chicken seasoned aggressively with
garlic, chiles, fish sauce, soy sauce, and a touch of sugar. It’s a common
morning food (Thais don’t eat breakfast the way we do), but it’s also lunch,
it’s a late-afternoon snack, it’s whatever you want it to be. Served beside a
heap of jasmine rice and perhaps a crisp-edged fried egg, it is a fine example
of aahaan jaan diaw, what Thais call a one-plate meal.
The dish is defined by a last-minute dose of kaphrao (holy or hot basil), an
ingredient so essential that the dish is named for it. For short, people often
order it as phat kaphrao, literally “stir-fried holy basil.” In the US, we’d never
give top billing to an herb. Dill salad? No, it’s egg salad. Grilled rosemary? No,
it’s a charred steak—so what if it happens to be perfumed by a few sprigs?
The herb has a very particular flavor, to be sure, a distinctive peppery
heat, but in Thailand, it’s prized for its powerful aroma. The notion of aroma
eclipsing flavor can sometime confound us Westerners. Ask a Thai person
to describe holy basil and the first thing they’ll say is hom, or “smells good.”
You’ll notice that versions that people have cooked for themselves and their
families, compared to those sold by street vendors, contain even more holy
basil, which is relatively pricey in Thailand. That’s one benefit of making it
yourself—you control the size of the handful. The other is being above the hot
pan when you add that handful, the pleasure of being in a room overtaken by
its scent.

Flavor Profile Aromatic, salty, spicy, sweet

{continued}

aahaan jaan diaw

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190

{Stir-fried chicken with hot basil, continued}

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large egg, at room
temperature

Serves 1 as a oneplate meal (to make
more, double or
quadruple the
ingredients, but
cook each batch
separately)

1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
2 teaspoons Thai black soy
sauce
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
11 grams peeled garlic
cloves, halved lengthwise
and lightly crushed into
small pieces in a mortar
(about 1 tablespoon)
5 ounces ground chicken
(preferably thigh meat) or
pork
1 ounce long beans, cut
crosswise into 1/8-inch slices
(about 1/4 cup)

11/2 ounces peeled yellow
onion, thinly sliced with the
grain (about 1/4 cup)
6 grams fresh Thai chiles
(about 4), preferably red,
thinly sliced
3 or 4 dried Thai chiles, fried
(page 12) and very coarsely
crumbled
6 grams hot basil leaves
(about 1 cup), see Note
TO SERVE ALONGSIDE

Note: Holy or hot basil (bai
kaphrao in Thai) is a variety
of basil with a peppery flavor
and distinctive aroma. To
find it, your best bet is a
Thai-focused market, though
you might get lucky at Indian
grocery stores (where the
herb might be called tulsi)
or farmers’ markets. Beware
of inaccurate labeling: I’ve
seen “Holy basil” used to
refer to purple-stemmed Thai
or sweet basil.

1 to 11/2 cups Khao Hom Mali
(Jasmine rice), page 31
Phrik Naam Plaa (Fish
sauce–soaked chiles),
page 286, optional

COOK THE EGG
Heat a wok over very high heat, add the oil, and swirl it
in the wok to coat the sides. When it begins to smoke
lightly, crack in the egg and cook for about 5 seconds.
It should spit and sizzle violently and the whites should
bubble and puff. Decrease the heat to medium and
cook the egg, frequently tipping the pan slightly and
basting the egg with the oil, just until the white has set
and turned golden at the edges and the yolk is cooked
the way you like it (I prefer my yolk slightly runny),
about 1 minute. Turn off the heat. Transfer the egg to
paper towels to drain, leaving the oil in the wok.

STIR-FRY AND SERVE THE DISH
Combine the fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar in a small
bowl and stir well.
Heat the wok again over very high heat. When the oil
smokes lightly, add the garlic, take the wok off the heat,
and let the garlic sizzle, stirring often, until it turns light

golden brown, about 30 seconds. Put the wok back on
the heat, then add the chicken, long beans, onions, and
fresh chiles. Stir-fry (constantly stirring, scooping, and
flipping the ingredients) and break up the chicken as you
do until the meat is just barely cooked through, about
1 minute.
Add the dried chiles and the fish sauce mixture (add
a splash of water, if necessary, to make sure nothing’s
left behind in the bowl), and stir-fry until the liquid has
been absorbed by the meat, 30 seconds to 1 minute
more. Turn off the heat.
Just before you’re ready to serve, turn the heat back
to high, and once the meat is heated through, add the
basil, and stir just until it is wilted and very fragrant,
15 seconds or so.
Serve with the jasmine rice, fried egg, and fish
sauce–soaked chiles.

pok pok

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Copyright © 2013 by Andy Ricker
Photographs copyright © 2013 by Austin Bush
Front cover photograph © 2013 by Eric Wolfinger
Foreword © 2013 by David Thompson
All rights reserved.
Published in the United States by Ten Speed Press,
an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group,
a division of Random House, Inc., New York.
www.crownpublishing.com
www.tenspeed.com

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Ten Speed Press and the Ten Speed Press colophon
are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.

Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-60774-288-3
eBook ISBN: 978-1-60774-289-0

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Ricker, Andy.
Pok Pok : food and stories from the streets, homes,
and roadside restaurants of Thailand / Andy Ricker
with JJ Goode ; [foreword by] David Thompson.
pages cm
1. Cooking, Thai. I. Goode, JJ II. Title.
TX724.5.T5R53 2013
641.9593—dc23
2013012451

Printed in China
Design by Toni Tajima
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