West Meets East: Krapow Gai Shepherd’s Pie

Thai-Style Chicken with Basil Shepherd’s Pie

Can’t eat white rice on this diet and the South Beach Diet Shepherd’s Pie was just daring to be spiced up. We can’t have it all but… maybe we can! I fused together two recipes to come up with this dish. Truly, very aroy!

Topping
4 cups (1 head) cauliflower
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons 0% Greek style plain yogurt
1 large egg yolk
salt and pepper
1/2 cup part skim mozzarella cheese, grated

Preheat oven 350˚F.

Make Topping. In a large saucepan, boil cauliflower and garlic cloves 8-10 minutes. Drain. In a food processor, purée cauliflower and garlic. You may need to do this in batches. In a large bowl, whip puréed cauliflower with yogurt and egg yolk. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Since the filling has to be stronger tasting than usual because it will not be served on a bed of rice, I have increased the amounts of ingredients.

Filling
2 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
6 green or red Thai chilies, stemmed and roughly chopped, plus extra for serving
2 tablespoons fish sauce, plus extra for serving
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon white vinegar, plus extra for serving
1 tablespoon sugar, plus extra for serving (I used a sugar substitute)
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast , cut into 2-inch pieces
4 medium shallots, peeled and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
red pepper flakes, for serving
cilantro and scallion, chopped, for serving

Make Seasoning. In the work bowl of a food processor, put 1 cup basil, garlic, and chilies. Pulse in one-second bursts 6 times. Put a tablespoon of the basil mixture in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon fish sauce, oyster sauce, vinegar, and sugar or sugar substitute. Mix together and set aside. Put the remaining seasoning in a large skillet and set that aside. Don’t wash out the work bowl.

Grind the Chicken. In the unwashed work bowl, add the chicken chunks and pulse in one-second bursts 6 times or until the chicken is in  1/4 inch pieces. Blend in remaining tablespoon fish sauce. Put the ground chicken in a medium bowl and refrigerate.

Make the Sauce. To the seasoning in the large skillet, add the shallots and the oil. Cook over medium-low heat until the garlic and shallots turn golden brown, about 5-8 minutes. You may need to open a window! Frying chilies can make your eyes sting. Add the ground chicken and cut up the meat as it cooks with a silicone spatula or a potato masher. When the meat is a light pink, add the reserved seasoning and the remaining 1 1/2 cups of basil. Stir-fry until the basil is wilted.

Assemble and Bake. Scrape the filling into a 9-inch square baking dish. Spread it into the corners. Scrape the mashed cauliflower on top and smooth. Sprinkle with fet mot-fresh mozzarella cheese in Thaiand fresh ground black pepper. Bake 20-25 minutes or until the edges are brown. Remove from the oven and let the pie rest 10 minutes before serving.

Serve. Traditionally, krapow gai or Thai-Style Chicken with Basil is served with  a fried “egg hat.” Contrary to myth, eggs aren’t bad for you, and you can reduce the calorie load by frying it in cooking spray. Have a look at these nutrition myths if you don’t believe me! If you wish to spice it up further at table, provide small bowls of fish sauce, vinegar with chopped chilies, sugar, red pepper flakes, and chopped fresh scallion and cilantro for sprinkling.

Thai-Style Chicken with Basil Shepherd’s Pie with Fet Mot
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