Who can say no to a delicious plate of pad thai? Enjoy one of the most vibrant, varied cuisines in the world with Simple Thai Food (Ten Speed Press, 2014). Author Leela Punyaratabandhu delivers 100 easy-to-make recipes for classic Thai dishes, complete with information about the key ingredients, tools and accompaniments. The following recipe for Stuff Egg Crepes is excerpted from “Stir-Fried and Deep-Fried Dishes.”
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“O, Cilantro, you enhance the inner value of anything you adorn,” says “Phak Chi Roi Na” (Garnished with Cilantro), a megahit song from the late 1980s by Asanee and Wasan Chotikul, two of Thailand’s most famous rockers. Even though nobody likes to eat cilantro, the song asserts, nobody will anything without this useless garnish. The catchy tune also goes on to suggest—winking, of course—that, likewise, if we want our work to be found acceptable by society, we need constantly to look for some cilantro to put on top of it.
If reminds me of this childhood favorite of mine (and of every kid I knew growing up), for I have never seen this dish without a cilantro sprig garnish. It is almost as if people that the yellow, eggy pouches would look unappealing without something green perching on top. I think everyone sells this well-loved modern Thai dish short because it certainly tastes and looks good enough to forgo adornment.
Stuffed Egg Crepes Recipe
(khai yat sai)
• 8 eggs
• 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 2 large cloves garlic, minced
• 8 ounces ground pork or chicken
• 1 small yellow or white onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
• 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
• 2 teaspoons thin soy sauce
• 1/2 cup frozen mixed peas and carrots, thawed
• 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
• 1/4 teaspoon ground white or black pepper
• 4 sprigs cilantro, for garnish
1. To make the crepes, in a small bowl, beat 2 of the eggs with a fork just until blended. Arrange 4 large dinner plates near the stove. Put 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 14-inch nonstick skillet or a wok, set over medium-high heat, and with a heatproof rubber spatula, spread the oil evenly over the bottom.
2. When the pan is hot, pour in the beaten eggs and tilt the pan in a circular motion so the eggs form a round crepe about 12 inches across, making sure the center of the crepe is not too thin. Cook until the bottom turns light brown and the top is somewhat firm yet still moist and glossy, about 1 minute. Gently slide the egg onto a dinner plate. Repeat to make 3 more crepes with the remaining 6 eggs and 3 tablespoons oil. You should have four 12-inch crepes, one on each dinner plate.
3. To make the filling, return the pan to medium-high heat and add the 1 tablespoon oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the pork, onion, oyster sauce, and soy sauce and cook, stirring, until the pork is almost cooked through and the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the peas and carrots and tomato sauce and cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. At this point, the filling should look moist but there should be no runny tomato sauce bubbling in the pan. Stir in the pepper and remove the pan from the heat.
4. Immediately spoon the filling onto the center of each crepe, dividing it evenly and forming a round mound about 4 inches in diameter. Fold the 4 sides of each crepe over the filling, forming a square pocket. Carefully flip each pocket over onto a serving platter, so the seams are on the underside. If desired, cut a large X across the surface of the pocket and peel back the petals to reveal the filling. Place a cilantro sprig on top of each crepe—because you must—and serve.
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Reprinted with permission from Simple Thai Food by Leela Punyaratabandhu, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Photography (c) 2014 by Erin Kunkel. Purchase this book from our store: Simple Thai Food.