Thai Basil Chicken

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by: momma






I first had a dish by a similar name (Blue Sapphire Basil) at our favorite Thai restaurant a couple years ago. (Thai basil is a dark bluish-green basil.) And, since it’s impossible to just eat out whenever I get a hankering for something like this, well, what else? You make it at home, right? (Instead of paying the restaurant to do what you can do yourself!!) I know they always say, “Time is money”, — well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t get paid for my time away from work, do you? BUT if I can use some of my spare time to save money on food, that certainly works for me!! This is basically a stir-fry of various vegetables and whatever protein you prefer. Chicken, shrimp, beef and pork are all GREAT in this! The most distinctive parts of Thai Basil Chicken are the sauce and the basil. Regular basil would be fine, but if you have an Asian market in your area, they probably carry Thai basil which has a “spicy anise-clove flavor” according to Johnny’s Selected Seeds. You can see pix of Genovese basil and Thai basil there (I have no affiliation with them – was just looking for a comparison of the two basils and found them and figured I’d give them credit for the basil info….) The Asian market I shopped at was selling the Thai basil for $7.00./ pound, which SOUNDS expensive, but I got a LOT of basil (2.88 ounces!) for $1.26! Compared to the 0.66 ounce $1.99 packages in the grocery store of regular basil, this is a BARGAIN!! In addition to the basil, if you have an Asian market nearby, you can find some AMAZING produce there (along with TONS of other products your regular grocery probably doesn’t carry). I usually have a pot of Genovese basil growing, but I’m seriously considering growing the Thai version too!! Another ingredient you could get there would be fish sauce. It’s one of the sauce components for this dish which isn’t absolutely necessary but it does help…. ;-) I get the oyster and soy sauces at the 99 Cent Store. Prep time: 15 mins. Cook time: 30 mins. Total time: 45 mins. Total cost: $7.12 (including rice) Serves: 3 Cost per serving: $2.38




ingredients

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serves: 3

oil for stir-frying *

1 lb boneless chicken, beef, or pork, cut into 1-2” squares or sliced in thin strips – OR 1 lb shrimp, peeled & deveined

strips several vegetables of your choice, cut into uniform chunks or e.g., thin green beans (leave whole), bok choy (separate the white and green parts), snow peas, asparagus, daikon radish, mushrooms, onion or green onion, red, yellow and/or green pepper, carro

2-3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed

2 T fish sauce

1 T - 2 soy sauce

2 T oyster sauce

2 t sugar

2 T white wine

4 T water

3 T cornstarch

4 T cold water

red pepper flakes (to taste)

2 oz - 3 (at least) Thai or Genovese (regular Italian) basil - reserve until dish is done

Nutrition Facts
Thai Basil Chicken

Servings Per Recipe: 3

Amount per Serving

Calories: 414

  • Total Fat: 23 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 7.6 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 93.8 mg
  • Sodium: 1753.8 mg
  • Total Carbs: 15.1 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 0.7 g
  •     Sugars: 4.9 g
  • Protein: 33.1 g
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preparation

1.  Prep all the vegetables but keep each separate.

2.  Cut/slice the meat or clean the shrimp, cover and set aside in the fridge. Slicing the meat is much easier if about half frozen, especially if slicing into thin strips.

3.  In a large pot or wok, heat a small amount of oil on medium-high heat

4.  Very carefully add in one of the vegetables – pour away from yourself so the oil doesn't splatter on to you. I usually start with the “hardest” veggies first (bok choy, daikon radish, carrot, etc.) and end up with the vegs that will wilt fastest (bok choy leaves, etc.) Bamboo shoots and water chestnuts really don't need to be stir-fried.

5.  Quickly stir fry – you want them just slightly tender but still crisp. (For broccoli and cauliflower, I usually stir-fry them for a bit, then add a little water to help steam them – they don't stir-fry too well)

6.  Remove to a large bowl as you finish each.

7.  When the veggies are all stir-fried, cook your meat. Be really careful if cooking shrimp. It cooks really quickly and you don't want to over-cook it since it gets tough really easily. When the meat/shrimp is almost done, stir in the garlic and continue stir-frying. Remove from pan when done.

8.  Add the fish, soy and oyster sauces and wine to the pan, stir in 4 T. water and heat to a simmer. (This sauce can be a bit salty - you can start by totally omitting the soy sauce and adding it in if you're ok with the salt content....) Mix the cornstarch and 4 T. cold water together, then mix into the other sauces and water in the pan. Stir into the sauces in the pan – keep stirring until simmering and thickened. If adding red pepper flakes, hot sauce, etc., stir in as much as you like, taste and add more if desired. (For my HUGE batch of this recipe, I tripled the sauce....)

9.  Stir the meat and veggies into the sauce and heat through.

10.  Add the basil and stir thoroughly.

11.  Serve over rice, lo mein or chow mein noodles. (Rice is traditional.)

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