This time between Thanksgiving and Christmas can get a little weird. It’s a time that we might be busy doing a lot of cooking (or baking) to get ready for the upcoming Holidays, but not focusing much on what we’re eating right now. It’s also often a time of frequent parties, where we often indulge in large amounts of rich food and alcohol. We’re also busy shopping, wrapping, decorating, etc. With everything that’s going on, we could all use a tasty meal that’s healthy and also super quick to cook up. Enter Spicy Thai Basil Chicken.
No joke, this stir fried chicken dish cooks up in less than 10 minutes. It is definitely a weeknight friendly meal – even if you have to take the kids to skating lessons or need to run out to do some shopping. Plus the ingredient list is short, and there is minimal prep work required.
I won’t go so far as to say you probably have everything you need for it, because you might have to make a special trip to get the Thai basil. Unfortunately, there are no substitutions here. Thai basil (you might find it labeled as cinnamon basil) is quite different from regular Italian basil, and if you tried to make the substitution, the results would taste very different. However, it’s not so easy to come by. I get mine at a local Asian market, for like 95 cents for a large bunch. If you don’t have an Asian market nearby, you could grow it in a pot at your windowsill. However, you do need to use a large amount of it for this dish, so you may have to wait awhile for your plant to get big enough.
While this dish comes together so quickly, and has such a short ingredient list, it tastes amazing! Your family will think you picked up takeout at your favorite Thai place. I love to serve mine with coconut rice (because who doesn’t like coconut rice?), but it’s also great with plain (white or brown) rice. You could even serve it with a higher fiber grain like quinoa or barley if you so choose. Believe me, it’s great no matter what!
- 2 Tablespoons canola oil
- 3 slices Thai birds eye chiles thinly
- 3 medium shallots thinly sliced
- 5 cloves garlic sliced
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken, thinly sliced (I prefer thighs, but breasts will work fine too)
- 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 Tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 bunch Thai basil leaves (about 2 cups once stems are removed)
Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add the chiles, shallots and garlic and stir fry for one minute. Add the sliced chicken, and continue to stir fry until browned, about 2 minutes.
Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, then slowly add the water, scraping up any browned bits on the pan. Stir in basil and cook until it is just wilted. Remove from heat and serve with rice, coconut rice, quinoa or grain of your choosing.
Thai birds eye chilis are small and red and very hot. Find them and the Thai basil (sometimes called cinnamon basil) in an Asian market.
Thai Basil Chicken Nutrition Notes:
The above nutrition information does not include rice, or whatever you choose to serve with it. Keep in mind that a serving of rice is only about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of cooked rice (that’s tiny!), so keep your portion small! Note that this dish is gluten free, but only if you use a gluten free soy sauce.