Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Thai Basil Chicken

I've been dreaming of making Thai Basil Chicken forever but I had a hard time tracking down fish sauce. It was definitely worth the wait though. If you like basil and chicken, then this is the dish for you. It's flavorful and simple and utterly perfect.


I didn't change a thing about this recipe except substitute two jalapenos for the peppers. Using a food processor is a brilliant way to get the perfect texture for this recipe and I plan on using the technique for other dishes as well. Just make sure the chicken is still chunky. No one wants to eat chicken paste. Also, you can watch the America's Test Kitchen video of this recipe here.

Would I make this again? For sure. The only bad thing about this dish is the smell of the chicken and the fish sauce when it hits the pan. Yuck. But it tastes amazing.

Thai Basil Chicken

Note: This is a mild version of the Thai stir fry. It is a slow Thai stir-fry contrary to the super hot Chinese version.


2 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
3 medium garlic cloves, peeled
2 green Serrano chilies or 6 Red Thai chilies, stemmed (cut out seeds)
1 TB fish sauce
1 tsp white rice vinegar
1 TB oyster sauce
1 TB sugar
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast , cut into 2-inch pieces
3 medium Shallots, peeled and thinly sliced (about 3/4 cups)
2 TB vegetable oil


1. Process 1 cup basil leaves, garlic, and chiles in food processor until finely chopped, 6 to 10 one-second pulses, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula once during processing. Transfer 1 tablespoon basil mixture to small bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon fish sauce, oyster sauce, vinegar, and sugar; set aside. Transfer remaining basil mixture to 12-inch heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet. Do not wash food processor bowl.

2. Pulse chicken and 1 tablespoon fish sauce in food processor until meat is chopped into -approximate 1/4-inch pieces, six to eight 1-second pulses. Transfer to medium bowl and refrigerate 15 minutes.

3. Stir shallots and oil into basil mixture in skillet. Heat over medium-low heat (mixture should start to sizzle after about 11/2 minutes; if it doesn’t, adjust heat accordingly), stirring constantly, until garlic and shallots are golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes.

4. Add chicken, increase heat to medium, and cook, stirring and breaking up chicken with potato masher or rubber spatula, until only traces of pink remain, 2 to 4 minutes. Add reserved basil-fish sauce mixture and continue to cook, stirring constantly until chicken is no longer pink, about 1 minute. Stir in remaining cup basil leaves and cook, stirring constantly, until basil is wilted, 30 to 60 seconds.


Cook's Illustrated

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