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Thai basil chicken recipe

One of my favourite dishes to cook at home is this spicy aromatic thai dish; I believe this is know as Pad Ga Prow traditionally. The recipe started life from the Simply Thai Cooking cookbook. Over time I have been adapting it to suit my own tastes.

The original recipe itself calls for more oil than I prefer and 6 serrano peppers. If you value your life like me you will want to dial that level of heat down a notch. This recipe is quick, easy, incredibly aromtic and very tasty.

For this recipe you will need:

thai basil chicken ingredients

Thai basil chicken recipe (serves 3-4)

1lb of chicken cut into thin 1-2 inch long strips.
3-4 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
2 serrano (standard green) chillis roughly chopped
4 cloves finely minced garlic
1 red pepper cut into inch squares
1 green pepper cut into inch squares
1 medium onion cut into chunks
1 can of shredded bamboo shoots
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp good quality fish sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp corn flour
2-3 tbsp water
40 basil leaves (yes 40)
cilantro and/or fresh mint optional

First of all fry the chicken in the oil at a high heat.

thai basil chicken step one

Dont let the chicken cook too long, you only need to colour the meat (not brown). If you chop the meat into thin long strips it will cook pretty darned fast, easily within 5 minutes.

thai basil chicken step two

Next throw the chillis and garlic in with the chicken. The overall aroma and flavor is heavily dependant on chillis. If you really must go milder, try without the chilli seeds and inner chilli flesh. Stir fry for two minutes.

thai basil chicken garlic and chillis

Next add the fish sauce and soy sauce. After stirring this in your kitchen should start to coime to life with the aroma of South East Asia!

Good quality fish sauce is important, a local asian supermarket will have some. I believe the preferred Thai brand is “Golden boy”. Don’t worry if you think the fish sauce smell is overpowering. It is a key ingredient in the subtle layered flavours of thai food. You won’t taste what you smell in the final dish. Trust me!

The liquids with the oil should quickly emulsify into a thickening sauce:

thai basil chicken soy and fish sauce

After the sauce thickens a little (2 minutes) add the Oyster sauce and sugar and stir well. Cook for a further minute and then add the vegetables (except the basil). The original recipe called for only red peppers but we found this and just chicken a little boring. Based on having the dish many times in different restaurants anything crunchy goes well. In my version I added green peppers, onions and bamboo shoots. I’m sure if you have different tastes plenty of other things will work great as well such as water chestnuts, shredded carrot and so forth.

The trick here is to not overcook the veggies. They really only need heating and coating in the sauce. You want to retain as much crunch as possible for your plate.

Stir fry for another minute or two, let the sauce coat all the vegetables evenly.

thai basil chicken vegetables

Once coated add the basil leaves. If you can get thai basil leaves, great! If not basil leaves from your local store will suffice, the fresher the better.

thai basil chicken basil leaves

Stir the leaves in well. Dissolve the flour with the water and add to the pan to help thicken the sauce:

thai basil chicken flour

Continue stirring until the basil leaves have wilted nicely (another minute or two). You should have something resembling:

thai basil chicken complete

And there you have it, serve with fragrant jasmine rice (and in our case a nice red to hold up to the chilli kick):

thai basil chicken with jasmine rice

You will notice I have cilantro and mint as optional extra’s. From time to time I like to fold a handful of either in just before serving. They add a nice zing.

The recipe itself is extremely versatile and can withstand a degree of tweaking. I find it’s key to ensure the soy, fish sauce and oyster sauce are kept to the same measurements. Similarly I like an equal amount of chopped chilli to garlic. None of these elements should be left out either. These being balanced well the rest of the dish can be thrown together to your own personal tastes.

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2 thoughts on “Thai basil chicken recipe”

  1. Excellent point! Looks like this recipe was not complete. I have now updated it.

    Essentially you add the Soy and Fish sauce and stir for 2 mins. After that add the oyster sauce and sugar, then stir for another min. Then it’s the veggies…

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