Thai Basil Chicken
I am a HUGE fan of Thai food. Of all the Asian cuisines, it might be my favorite (…or wait maybe Japanese because I do love sushi…does Indian count as Asian? Nevermind. I digress.) The first few times that I had Thai, my go-to was the basil chicken. I loved the simple yet powerful flavor and the spicy kick. I eventually branched out to try other dishes, which I also enjoy, but Thai basil chicken is definitely a favorite. I was sitting around a while ago (as in like a month ago) and realized that it’d been a while since I’d actually had Thai Basil Chicken and of course, I started googling. No, not for restaurants, silly. For recipes! I came across this one from Food and Wine and decided to give it a go.
I’ve made this recipe a few times and each time, it only got better. After making the dish the first time exactly according to Food and Wine’s directions, I decided to make a few very minor tweeks to amp up the flavor. I was okay the first time I had it but I found that most of the flavor was in the onions and basil rather than the chicken itself. For this reason, I decided to increase the marination time, preparing the chicken in a zip-lock with seasoning and refrigerating overnight. It’s amazing how much of a difference it made. I also, for personal taste reasons, decided that red onion takes it to the next level.
What’s great about this recipe is its simplicity. Not too many ingredients. Not too much preparation. Not too much cooking time. Despite being a low-hassle dish, it definitely delivers from both a flavor and a health standpoint. This has definitely become a staple for me and a go-to whenever I have to make food for others. I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do.
- 2/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about one breast per person), cut into medium sized cubes
- 1 T fish sauce
- 1 T soy sauce
- 1/2 T water
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1-2 T cooking oil of your choice (I use coconut)
- 1/2 large red onion, cut into thin slices
- 1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy!)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 cups lightly packed basil leaves, roughly chopped (not too small though)
- Add chicken cubes, fish sauce, soy sauce, water, and sugar to a zip-lock bag or container. Shake it around so that flavors mix and chicken is coated. Let marinate in the refrigerator overnight or for 3-4 hours.
- Once chicken has marinated, add cooking oil to a pan over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, add onions and saute until they begin to soften a bit (about 2 minutes).
- Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes and bloom in pan for about 30 seconds.
- Using a slotted spoon or a fork, add marinated chicken to the pan WITHOUT the excess marinade. Cook chicken until it’s mostly done (about 3 minutes). Be sure to move chicken around as necessary for all sides to cook.
- Add remaining marinade to pan and stir for about 30 seconds.
- Remove pan from heat, stir in basil.
- Serve over quinoa, rice, or grain of your choice.
- Garnish with more basil if you’d like.