A chicken stir-fry with fresh basil and Thai-style flavors is weeknight cooking at its best – quick, spicy, salty and a little sweet.
Today I’m sharing a stir-fried chicken with Thai basil recipe, originally inspired by Nina Simonds’s book A Spoonful of Ginger. I’ve made versions of this chicken repeatedly over certain chapters of my life, and the fact that it’s still as quick and appealing to eat and cook says a lot about how good it is. It’s a weeknight recipe you’ll want in your arsenal.
Is there ever a time when late summer doesn’t feel like the start of a brand new chapter? Maybe when my kids leave the nest for good and my life doesn’t revolve around school/college schedules anymore my feelings about this time of year will be different.
But I really hope that doesn’t ever happen. Even before I had children, after I was all finished with school and living my adult life, I’d be taken in by the transition to fall, acquiring crisp notebooks I didn’t really need, buying new things to wear, and undertaking a cleansing purge of my house or apartment.
Starting fresh is a positive mindset, and if September is the time to push a personal reset button, then I’m all for it. Reevaluating my approach to everyday cooking is part of my own current reset (along with a new look for Familystyle Food – yay!).
Cooking is a work in progress — as it should be.
When you think about it, life adds up to a series of days, each one different, each one punctuated by meals. Making food and eating with people you care about is the best path I can think of to living it well.
So here’s to the new season ahead. I have a feeling it will be full of good things to eat 🙂
chicken with thai basil and chili garlic sauce
Yield 4 servings
Udon or soba noodles dressed with a little sesame oil are delicious with this dish, or plain hot jasmine rice.
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons sake or rice wine
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken (breasts or thighs)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil, such as canola
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced into 1/4-inch strips
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 for 2 fresh red chili peppers (depending on your heat preference); thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups fresh Thai basil or sweet basil leaves
- Stir together 3 tablespoons of the fish sauce with the sake in a mixing bowl. Slice the chicken into 1/2-inch strips. Add the chicken to the bowl and toss to coat. Marinate for 15 minutes.
- Mix the remaining tablespoon fish sauce in a small bowl with the soy sauce, sugar, chili garlic sauce and water until sugar is dissolved.
- Heat the oil in a large (12-inch) cast iron skillet or wok over medium-high heat until hot. Add the chicken to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is no longer pink.
- Add the bell pepper and onion and continue cooking and stirring until the onions are softened, then add the garlic and chili pepper.
- Stir in the soy sauce mixture and bring to a boil. Cook for another minute, then remove from the heat and add the basil leaves.