(Hoy Lai Pad Nam Prik Pao)
Overhaul your mid-week stir fry with clams and a Thai chilli paste that packs a serious punch
F or a dish that takes so little time to make, this tastes surprisingly complex. The sweet clams, rich chilli paste and fresh basil create a perfect balance of flavour. If you can’t find Thai basil, you can use regular basil instead. There are so many brands of nam prik pao on the market and it will keep in the fridge for ages. My preferred brand is Mae Pranom. As a kid, I used to eat it spread on thick white bread… Try it!
- 500 g/1 lb 2 oz clams
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2–3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 1 tbsp nam prik pao (roasted chilli paste)
- 1 tbsp nam pla (fish sauce)
- 1 tsp caster (superfine) sugar
- 2 long red chillies, sliced diagonally
- a handful of Thai sweet basil leaves
- In a colander, rinse the clams well under cold running water, discarding any open ones that refuse to close after a firm tap with the back of a knife.
- On a high heat, heat the wok until it’s very hot and add the oil. Add the garlic and fry until golden. Add the clams and the nam prik pao, and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes.
- One at a time, add the nam pla, sugar, 2 tbsp water and the chillies, stirring them in well after each addition. Continue to cook, stirring all the time, until all the clams have opened (discard any that remain closed).
- Finally, add most of the basil and stir it in until wilted.
- Serve at once, with the last few basil leaves scattered over the top.