Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Chicken Basil (Thai)

Spicy Basil Chicken (or Tofu) with rice or noodles is my standard order in a Thai restaurant. It's one of those dishes I always think "I could do this at home" but never actually try. Probably due to the spicy part of the name. The younger kids are just starting to be okay with flavorful spicy. Hot spicy is still a while in the future.

But when we came home from vacation to a planter thick with Sweet & Thai Basil, I decided to give it a shot. Googled "Thai Basil Chicken Recipe" and started sorting through the many, MANY results. Skipped anything which was attached to a particular brand of sauce, television show or magazine. Narrowed it down to two recipes I could work between to get the dish I love in restaurants... minus some of the heat.

Chicken Basil Recipe from ThaiTable
Spicy Basil Chicken from Thai Food & Travel

Once you get over being hung up on not having packets of Holy Basil in the pantry, it's really a very simple dish. Chicken, basil, garlic, peppers, lime, fish sauce and oil for stir frying. Steamed rice on the side.

Sent kidlet outside to gather a small bowl full of both types of basil from the planter, set other kidlet to juicing a couple limes. Here's what I did to make it for the picky members of my crew:
  • Cut two boneless skinless chicken breast fillets into very thin, 2" long strips. Put them in the freezer for 20 minutes before cutting, so they'd be easier to handle. (Recipes called for ground chicken or chopped chicken thighs.)
  • Used a little over a 1/2 teaspoon of crushed Indian red pepper, since there'd been no thai chili peppers at the store. I could have substituted jalapeno, but didn't want to. (Would use more than 1/2 tsp if not making for kids.)
  • Added a thin sliced Vidalia onion. The one recipe called for shallots, but it's summer in Georgia, which means I'm happily putting Vidalias in just about everything.
As with any stirfry, the ingredients are important, but the magic is in the timing. The recipe from ThaiTable has step by step photos, which made it very easy to get the timing right.

My plating wasn't as pretty as this lovely finished photo from their site, but nobody seemed to mind. All the plates returned to the kitchen completely empty, so I'd have to call this a keeper.

Will probably try other versions soon. Tofu, most likely, with ribbons of egg.

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