When living in Potts Point Sydney, there was an abundance of great restaurants to choose from but as I was still dancing, a lack of money prevented me dining out on a regular basis. I did however treat myself occasionally with some Thai when finances allowed it. This was a little more exotic than the Chinese I was used to growing up and rather adventurous for a country boy. One of my favourite dishes was a stir fry with pumpkin and thai basil. I love pumpkin so this was a good way to explore new flavours, however at the time it was just about treating myself to a yummy meal. Ross and I have recently built a new vege patch, completed on Xmas morning. We has planted many veges and herbs, one being Thai basil. I decided to try and replicate the stir-fry dish I used to love, and while I can't remember if exactly the same it is yummo! You can use chicken in this recipe, however we like to use crocodile meat instead. Crocodile is low in fat and higher in protein than many meats and over 80% lower in fat. http://www.australiancrocodile.com.au/meats.html has more info on Australian Game Meats.
- Crocodile - 500g
- Soy Sauce - 3 Tbs
- Kecap Manis - 3 Tbs
- Shao Xing Cooking Wine - 2 Tbs
- White Pepper - 1/4 tsp
- Brown Onion - 1
- Garlic - 3 to 4 Cloves (crushed or chopped finely)
- Pumpkin - 500g (skin off, sliced 3-4mm thick and cut into large bite size pieces)
- Carrot - 1 (cut in half and sliced fine)
- Red Chilli - 3 to 4
- Pak Choy - 1 Large bunch (or 3 small supermarket bunches)
- Thai Basil - 1/2 to 1 Cup
- Peanut Oil - 3-4 Tbs
- Brown Sugar - 1 Tbs (optional)
Combine the soy sauce, kecap manis, seseme oil shoa xing, white pepper and one finely chopped chilli (optional). Slice the crocodile into stir fry size pieces and pour the soy marinade over the meat. Give a good stir and set aside.
Prepare te remaining vegetables putting each one in a separate bowl. For the Pak Choy (bok Choy or any chinese green vege will do) I cut the thick base off then tear the leafy parts into smaller parts. These will shink as they wily so no need to be very precise. For the basil remove the leaves and discard the stems. It will seem a lot but this is what makes the dish.
Have on hand a clean bowl as we are going to cook ingredients in small batches then combine.
Assemble the ingredients in the following order. Crocodile, onion, garlic, pumkin, carrot, chilli, pak choy and thai basil.
Heat a wok with some peanut oil until smoking hot. Add approx 1/2 of the Crocodile (with as little of the marinade as possible) and stir fry for a couple of minutes or until cooked through. Once cooked place in bowl then repeat with remaining meat. Again when cooked turn into the bowl with the rest of the crocodile. Add some more oil and throw in the onion. Cook for approx 1-2 mins then add the garlic and cook for approx 30 secs (be careful not to burn the garlic). Tip into the bowl with the Crocodile. Add another splash of peanut oil then add the pumpkin. Cook for 5-10 mins depending on thickness and add the carrot when approx 60% done. Add the left over marinade to the pumkin and carrot. This will assist with the cooking and tenderising of the vegetables. Return the meat, onion and garlic to the pan and add the chilli, pak choy and about half the thai basil. At this stage I like to taste. I usually add a tablespoon of brown sugar. It obviously adds some sweetness but also some gloss to the dish but this is optional Add some more thai basil (keeping a little for the garnish) and stir through.
Plate up immediately using the toasted peanuts and remaining thai basil as garnish.