Last year I had a hankering for some Thai Basil Chicken, and since I can’t imagine where I might buy the Thai basil around here, I decided the easiest thing was to grow my own. So we ordered some seeds, planted it out, and now it is large enough to harvest. Conveniently, we are also growing a plant of Thai orange chile peppers, and while they have not yet turned orange they are ripe enough to use.
Now that I’ve had some, I want some more! Fortunately I won’t have to wait so long this time, as there is still some Thai basil in the garden. The peppers too; although next time I think I won’t put in 3 of them. Even green they pack quite a punch, and I suspect most people will be happier with 1 or 2.
Like most stir-fries this cooks very quickly, in under 10 minutes. Therefore it is important to have everything ready to go before the pan is heated. If you serve this with rice – and I rather think you must – start it even before you begin to round up the other ingredients.
30 minutes prep time
Make the Sauce:
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup unsalted chicken stock, or water
1 teaspoon arrowroot, potato starch, or cornstarch
Be sure the honey is runny enough to mix easily with the other ingredients. If it is not, put it in a small bowl and microwave until liquid. If it is, put it in a small bowl anyway.
Add the soy sauce, fish sauce, and chicken stock and mix well. Add the starch and mix until completely dissolved and lump-free. Set aside until needed.
Finish the Thai Basil Chicken:
1 bunch Thai basil (2 cups lightly packed prepared leaves)
1 small orange Doe Hill pepper OR 1/4 orange bell pepper
4 to 6 shallots
1 to 3 small hot Thai peppers
4 to 6 cloves of garlic
300 grams (10 ounces) skinless, boneless chicken pieces
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
Wash the basil, and remove the leaves from the stems, discarding any tough stems (most of them) or damaged leaves. Drain well.
Wash, core, and cut in thin slices the orange pepper. Peel and slice the shallots. Wash the small hot peppers and cut off the stem end. Chop very finely. Peel and mince the garlic, keeping it separate from the other ingredients.
Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Heat the oil in a mid to large sized skillet with high sides, over high heat. As soon as it is hot enough to smoke, add the sweet and hot peppers, and the shallot slices. Cook for a minute or two until softened, stirring frequently.
Add the garlic, and stir it in for just a minute until fragrant. Add the chicken pieces and cook, stirring frequently, until they are well seared all over and no longer let off any pink juice; 3 to 5 minutes depending on size.
Stir up the sauce well and pour it over the chicken, turning and stirring as it is added. As soon as it thickens – in under a minute – fold in the basil leaves until they are just wilted – again, in under a minute. Transfer to a serving dish and serve at once.
Last year at this time I made Sweet Corn Hash, Mexican Flavours.