Thai Country Style Chicken Basil
March 13, 2011 § Leave a comment
E: There are some things I really, really love. And basil is one of them. I’m not entirely sure why, but basil and hot peppers were somehow made to go together. So I’m totally a sucker for Thai dishes that use these ingredients. This dish, which is very similar to the Country Style Chicken Basil that I’ve had in local Thai restaurants (but with ground chicken instead of the chicken strips, and minus the bell-peppers that dish seems to perennially have around here) is a particular favorite of mine.
Some recipes on this site come from friends and family members, and this is one of them. Liz, a good friend of mine who also provided me with this recipe for chicken and lemongrass, recently sent this dish to me. My version differs slightly from hers, but not by very much. I’m glad to finally have this recipe and share it with all our readers here. It is easy to make and doesn’t take very long, and can be adjusted for a variety of tastes. If you love spice (like me), make it deadly! If you want to have a tongue left, tone it down a bit. It will be delicious either way. I made this as recorded below for my parents, who don’t have insane spice tolerance, and they loved it.
When served with rice (about a cup) it feeds about four people.
3-5 hot chilies (I used 3 jalapeños, which worked well for people of a normal spice-tolerance. I’d use 5 for myself. Adjust the number for the spiciness of the pepper you have available.)
5 cloves garlic
2 tbsp. cooking oil (I used peanut oil)
1 lb. ground chicken
2 tbsp oyster sauce (or 1 tbsp oyster sauce and 1 tbsp fish sauce, if you have it)
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup chicken stock
Sprinkling of ground coriander
1 cup whole basil leaves
White and black pepper to taste
Alright. Set your rice on for one thing. Then wash the chilies and the basil. Leave the basil leaves whole but take them off their stems and set them aside. Finely mince the chilies and garlic, mash them with a mortar & pestle, or process them in a food-processor. I like a bit of texture so I did mine the old-fashioned way.
Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok or large frying pan, over medium-high heat, and add the chilies and garlic.
Fry those until the garlic starts to get golden brown. (Keep stirring it around so it doesn’t burn.) Then add the chicken.
Keep breaking that up and flipping it over so it gets cooked evenly, and ends up in smallish chunks. You can see about what it should look like in the picture below. You could use a darker chicken (or even turkey, in a pinch) if you wanted, but I usually get the lightest ground chicken I can find.
When it is cooked through, which usually takes about 8 to 10 minutes, add the sugar, oyster sauce, chicken stock, and coriander powder. You don’t want the sauce too liquid, so just add enough chicken stock that there is some liquid in the bottom of the pan and the chicken glistens a bit. It’ll cook down a little. You may not need the full 1/4 cup.
Mix that together so the oyster sauce and everything else get spread around evenly. You are almost done. Turn the heat way down, and add the basil leaves.
Stir the basil in. It should get a bit wilted, and impart some of its flavour to the sauce. Now add in some cracked black pepper / white pepper. Mix that in, and this dish is good to go.
Serve on a bed of rice, with a side of veggies. I chose peas because I hadn’t thought about vegetables until I was nearly done. They have the side effect of making the whole dish look very green.
This tastes pretty authentic, and I’m sure I’ll be making it quite a bit more as it really is a comfort food for me. It is healthier and cheaper this way than getting takeout, and all that much more satisfying for being a product of one’s own hands. I hope you like it as much as I do!