”You don’t have to know the taste of your ingredients. You must listen to your ingredients” ~Francis Trocellier from “Seven Fires” by Francis Mallmann
My Favorite (Thai) Basil Chicken Dish
This famous Thai dish certainly became a new American favorite, so much that Cook’s magazine spent time experimenting with it in their kitchen. I cannot recall any details of the article since I read it in a library months ago. However, I would like to suggest one tip that Cook’s magazine didn’t offer for stir-fry lovers out there: invest on a non-stick flat bottom wok.
I purchased my first decent wok from a college grocery store for $18 and it was worth every penny. The bottom fits well on my cheap electric stove, the heat travels evenly, and it is so easy to clean!
Also get a couple of wooden spatulas along with the wok. Plastic will eventually melt (unless you spend a ridiculous amount of money on a good brand)! Metal ones will scratch the bottom of the wok and there would be no point in having a non-stick pan after all.
To begin prepping ingredients, I minced the chicken thighs with a cleaver but you will get an even better texture if you grind it with a food processor. Ground turkey, pork, and beef or fresh (peeled and deveined) shrimps are other great options.
I’m not picky with basil; I use whatever is available in the market. They all taste pretty darn good to me! If desired, you can add extra vegetables such as string beans, bell peppers, and broccoli. Make sure to not put too many extra vegetables because they can easily overcrowd the wok and overpower the taste of basil leaves. Don’t forget to adjust the spice according to your tolerance!
Get these ingredients:
1 lb minced chicken thigh
1/2 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
1 head minced shallot (can be substituted with red onions but it won’t be as delish)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1-2 tablespoons chopped bird eyes chili or jalapeño
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
1/3 cup thinly sliced bell peppers, I recommend using yellow, red, or orange bell peppers
1/3 cup thinly sliced chopped white onions
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons of water
Combine fish sauce, dark soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl. Set up the wok on a medium-high heat and add oil. Once the oil is hot, (please no fuming hot oil, we don’t want the herbs to burn) add garlic, shallots, and chili.Stir the herbs continuously for about 15 seconds then add the chicken. Allow the chicken to cook for a minute or two then add the sauce that was mixed earlier. Keep your eyes on the wok and keep stirring. When chicken thigh looks cooked ( it turns into a white-ish color), add the vegetables and cook for about one more minute. The yellow bell peppers and onions do not take more than a minute to cook so make sure you time it right so they won’t be overcooked. I personally enjoy my vegetables a little crunchy so sometimes I even cook it for about 30 seconds. Add some water to increase the sauce’s volume. Once the meat and the vegetables are well done, turn off your stove, then lightly tossed in the basil leaves.
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