Thai Chicken and Basil Stir-Fry

My garden has been really starting to pick up lately (*knock on wood*), overflowing (kinda) with parsley, cilantro, lettuce, and of course basil, which means that it’s about high time that I start using some of my homegrown herbs/lettuce/(and maybe someday peppers).

After thinking about all the awesome stuff I want to do with basil- pesto, caprese salad, strawberry-basil ice cream, tomato-basil soup, et cetera, et cetera, I decided that to start out, a Thai-inspired chicken and basil stir-fry would be the way to go.  I’ve made a terrific riff on chicken-basil stir-fry before that uses shitake mushrooms (that I’ll make sometime soon), but I wanted to try something a little different, and so I came across a few recipes through Tastespotting that sounded promising. They are actually very similar to the one that I’ve made in the past.  I love the both simplicity and complexity of this stir-fry.  On one hand you have only two main ingredients- chicken and basil- very simple, but then you have the flavorings which give your taste buds a workout- sweet and spicy at the same time.  It’s really awesome!

Thai Chicken and Basil Stir-Fry
Source: Gimme Some Oven, originally adapted from Rasa Malaysia and No Recipes

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 “bird’s eye” chilies, minced with seeds (or 2-3 jalapenos, if you can’t find bird’s eye chilies)
2 shallots (or 1 small onion), diced
10 oz. chicken (thigh or breast meat), ground or finely chopped
1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
1 big bunch Thai basil leaves, stems removed (or Sweet Italian Basil, if you can’t find Thai Basil, or have regular basil growing in your garden!!)
2 dashes ground white pepper (or freshly ground black pepper, if you don’t have white pepper)
Jasmine or Basmati rice for serving
1. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat until hot.  Add oil, garlic, and chilies, and stir-fry about a minute, until the garlic is fragrant.
2. Add shallots, and stir-fry until they have wilted, about a minute more. 
3. Add chicken, and stir-fry until cooked.  
4. Add fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, and pepper, and stir-fry until the liquid is pretty much evaporated.
5. Add basil, and cook until basil is wilted, but still bright green- 30 seconds or so.
  • I  couldn’t find Bird’s Eye chilies- even at Whole Foods 😦  But the jalapenos still tasted delicious.  Feel free to adjust the amount of peppers to your individual taste.  I’d omit the seeds if you like milder food.
  • Since I decided to make this recipe with my homegrown basil in mind, I used my Italian Basil rather than the Thai basil which has a slightly different flavor, and whose flavor is more stable when cooked, but I think that the Italian basil works just fine, and has great flavor in this dish.  I also decided to use some of my Red Rubin basil which has a slightly stronger flavor than the sweet basil, and worked awesomely in this dish as well!
  • I served my stir-fry over Jasmine rice, but you could serve this in lettuce wraps if you wanted to, or even over pasta.

2 thoughts on “Thai Chicken and Basil Stir-Fry

  1. Just curious if you used the white pepper or black pepper? I am not a fan of white pepper although I've never bought white peppercorns, so i've never had it freshly ground but I don't care for it already ground in the container. Just looking for an opinion 🙂 It looks delicious!!!

  2. I just used black pepper, because that's what I had on hand. I've never ever bought white pepper, and I'm actually not quite sure what it tastes like…. I suppose I'll have to taste it at some point to see for myself 🙂

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