Rachel and I both started small container gardening this year. Both of us had limited success. One thing that did grow well for both of us was basil. We figures why not do a basil ingredient challenge as we both already had it on hand. I grew three types of basil, but my Thai sweet basil grew the largest by far. Although traditionally Spicy Thai Basil chicken is made with Thai holy basil, the Thai sweet basil works just fine, or you could even even use regular basil if that is all you can get your hands on.
Traditionally this dish is served with rice, but I wanted to go in another direction. Originally I thought about making this in to a noodle dish, but eventually settled on the what I believe to be the most universal of all dishes, the taco. In my opinion tacos are really the words greatest food. There really isn’t anything you can’t throw in a tortilla for a quick meal making is a great vehicle for my spicy Thai basil chicken.
While the recipe calls Thai chilies, you can definitely substitute other chilies like serranos or jalapenos if that is what you have or leave the chilies out all together if you are not a fan of spicy food. Pro tip: if you want to cut the spice level of a chili pepper remove the ribs and seeds. Also, don’t forget to wear disposable gloves so your hands and eyes don’t burn.
Don’t forget to check out Rachel’s Bail recipe: Tornado Potatoes with Spicy Basil Oil
Spicy Thai Basil Chicken Tacos - A delicious fusion of a Thai classic and a Mexican favorite. Your taco Tuesday will never be the same.
- 2 Boneless and skinless chicken breast
- 4 Cloves Garlic
- 4 Dried Thai Chilies Stems removed and roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp Vegetable Oil For frying
- 1 Large White Onion Sliced thin
- 1 Large Green Bell Pepper Sliced thin
- 1 Large Red Bell Pepper Sliced thin
- 1 Cup Basic Brown Sauce See recipe below
- 12 Thai Basil Leaves
- 6 Fresh Thai Chilies Stems removed
- 6 Small Corn Tortillas
Grind the garlic and dried chilies in to paste and set it aside. Ideally use a mortar and pestle for this, but you a food processor, blender, or even a knife will do in a pinch.
Roughly chop the the chicken in to the size of small pebbles. Don't chop it so fine that is like ground chicken as the texture makes a difference.
Add the oil to the wok (or a large skillet) and place over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken and chili garlic paste. Cook, stirring continuously, until the chicken starts to brown.
Remove chicken to a bowl, and add the onions and peppers. Cook, stirring continuously until the onions starts to brown.
Lower the heat and add the chicken back to the wok along with the brown sauce. Continue to cook until the sauce is slightly thickened.
Add the basil and the fresh chilies and continue to cook until the chilies begin to soften and the basil is wilted.
Toast the tortillas in a dry frying pan or under a broiler until they begin to brown. Top the tortillas with the chicken and vegetable mixture and enjoy.
A classic Chinese sauce (at least in America)
- 2 tbsp Corn Starch
- 1/4 Cup Cold Water
- 4 Cups Beef Broth Homemade would be ideal but store bought will work
- 2 Cloves Garlic Minced
- 1 tbsp Fresh Ginger Grated
- 1/4 Cup "Oyster" sauce See recipe below
- 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
- 2 tbsp Sesame Oil
- 1/4 tsp White Pepper
In a small bowl combine the corn starch and the water. Stir until fully combined to create a slurry.
Add all the rest of ingredients to a saucepan over medium heat. Add the corn starch and water slurry and stir to combine thoroughly.
Allow the mixture to come to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Allow the sauce to cook until reduced by 25%.
Oyster sauce is a thick sweet brown sauce that will add some caramel notes to any dish. It is usually made by reducing the liquid from oysters, I use oyster mushrooms to preserve the moniker and give the dish an umami boost.
- 1/4 cup Sweet Soy Sauce For Rice Kikkoman makes a kosher one
- 1/4 cup Mirin (Sweet Asian Cooking Wine) Eden makes a kosher one
- 1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
- 1/4 cup Dried Oyster Mushrooms Ground or chopped fine
- 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
- 1/4 cup Sweet Soy Glaze Kikkoman makes a kosher one
- 1 tbsp Corn Starch
- 1 tbsp Cold Water
Add all the ingredients except the corn starch and water to a small sauce pot over low heat,stirring constantly.
Mix the corn starch and water in a separate bowl to form a slurry. Once the sauce begins to bubble stir in the corn starch slurry and cook until the sauce is thickened and remove from heat.
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