My love for Thai cuisine has only grown recently. I was completely unaware of how amazing Thai food is until I actually started trying it out a lot at restaurants and Thailand itself. And man was I blown away!
The best part about Thai cuisine according to me is its freshness and the use of seasonal produce. There is way too much variety, be it for vegetables, herbs or fruits. Thailand is one place where I would even love to live for a while and learn about their cuisine from the local people. Any sponsors?
Why this Thai Basil Chicken?
This Thai basil chicken is an explosion of flavours in the mouth. It has all the elements that makes it a winner – sweetness, some fieriness to open your senses, crunch and colour. The use of just the right herbs and sauces make it taste like you’re eating at a professional pan-Asian restaurant. And it makes for a super doable weeknight meal. Here are some more reasons why you need to make this asap:
- It is quick and super easy to make.
- Tastes brilliant with some rice.
- Ingredients can be found in any supermarket.
- It makes for a wholesome meal.
- It is healthy.
- You can customize the flavors as per your wish.
A pleasant accident!
The background story to this chicken recipe is quite interesting. I had gone to my local farmer’s market on a whim and ended up buying a host of Thai spices and aromatics (along with other unplanned checks on my invisible food list). I was obviously craving for some Thai goodness in my mind. I came home and tried this stir-fry. I must say I was surprised by the results. It’s too good to be true kind of a chicken recipe!
What kind of basil can you use?
As the name suggests, basil is the star ingredient of this recipe. I absolutely love basil and do not leave any chance to use it in my food. Thai basil chicken is a very common dish in Thailand and found almost everywhere. Thai people usually make it with the holy basil (Indian tulsi) that grows abundantly over there. That is the traditional way of cooking it.
The holy basil is more pungent and sharp in its taste as compared to normal basil. But you can also use Italian basil, and the taste is still marvelous. I personally prefer Italian basil over the Thai basil.
Few techniques to keep in mind
- Preparing the minced chicken
As you can see from the pictures, this recipe used chicken in its minced form. I have minced it myself because that way I know it is as fresh as it can get. Don’t fret already, it’s very simple!
All you have to do is take a chef’s knife and beat the boneless chicken breast till it flattens out. Then you need to mince the breast into tiny pieces by breaking it using vertical force with your knife. It is then cooked with Thai spices and aromatics, basil and kaffir lime being the best addition. Note them all down and surprise yourself with this amazing chicken recipe.
- Adding the herbs
This recipe required the addition of two herbs – Kaffir lime leaves and basil leaves. The time of adding both these herbs will vary in the recipe. The addition of Kaffir lime leaves is before the basil leaves as it is a sturdy leaf that does not wilt. And the more you cook it, the more it releases its flavor. So the Kaffir lime leaves can be added to the chicken once it’s half cooked.
The basil leaves, on the other hand, are very tender. So they need to be added right at the end after switching off the flame. This ensures that their freshness is intact and you do not get a recipe with wilted leaves.
- Use of chili
Over here, I have used just a bit of Naga chili or bhoot jolokia, which is also the hottest chili in the world. But you can add any chili you like. Just make sure it’s hot as this recipe tastes good when spicy. But again, that is also up to your taste. The traditional recipe uses bird’s eye chili, which a super hot Thai chili.
Preparation time – 15 minutes
Cooking time – 30 minutes
Serves – 3
- 500 g minced chicken
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 150 ml chicken stock
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 7-8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 Thai green bird’s eye chilies, finely chopped
- 100 g green beans
- 2 fresh Kaffir lime leaves
- 50 g basil leaves, finely chopped
- 1/2 naga chili (bhoot Jolokia)
- Salt to taste
- Make the Thai sauce first. In a bowl/cup, mix the following and stir well – oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and chicken stock. This is the sauce we will use for cooking, and is the highlight of the flavors.
- Heat cooking oil in a wok. You can also use sesame oil for extra punch. Add the minced chicken breast and fry it in the oil till it disintegrates completely.
- Cook the minced chicken for about five minutes, till the water from the chicken evaporates. Add the onion, garlic, and chopped chilies to the same wok and fry till onions become translucent. You can use any kind of chilies here in case you do not have bird’s eye chili.
- Add the green beans to this mix and stir until the chicken is cooked thoroughly.
- Season with salt.
- Pour in the sauce into the chicken and cook until the meat soaks in the goodness of the liquid. Make sure it does not become too dry.
- Roughly chop two fresh Kaffir lime leaves and add to the chicken and give it a slight mix.
- Turn the gas off and add the chopped basil to the chicken. Keep stirring till the basil turns into a beautiful dark green color.
- Add some Bhoot Jolokia or Naga chili in the end, if you like it extra spicy like me.
- Serve with white rice.
I hope you try this recipe out. I have been getting a lot of engagement from the video that I posted on my Instagram and Facebook page. I honestly love this Tha basil chicken recipe and it is so easy to pull it off. You can also make it with pork. Vegetarians can try the same with vegetables or tofu. And you will feel like you are at a great Thai restaurant.
I am all about quick and tasty dinners. And this, my friends, is the ultimate of all minced chicken recipes that are going to fill you up with comfort and happiness. Do let me know how you like it. Happy cooking! Here’s the video. Do subscribe to my YouTube channel for all my videos.