"Chopped" Thai Chicken with Basil
You can tell by the photos that we are now cooking and eating after it is dark outside. The sun has been going down earlier and earlier every day.
But, there is still a lot of fresh basil around this time of year, so I thought I'd try this Thai-style chicken dish I found in our new, favorite recipe source: Best Ever Cooking for Two.
Make this dish when you have access to a lot of fresh basil. It is the key ingredient -- the recipe requires a full cup.
The first time I made this recipe it seemed complicated, but the second time it seemed easy.
The flavors are well worth the effort to get out the Cuisinart to "chop" the chicken.
This recipe uses just one chicken breast but makes very generous portions for two people.
Thai Chicken with Basil
(from Best-Ever Cooking for Two)
1 cup fresh basil leaves
2 green or red Thai chilies, stemmed (or use what you can find)
1 garlic clove, peeled
2.5 t. fish sauce
1.5 t. oyster sauce
1.5 t. sugar
1/2 t. distilled white wine vinegar
1 (8 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 shallot, sliced thin
1 T. vegetable oil
Red pepper flakes
You will need a large non-stick skillet, a mini-food processor, and a small bowl, and a medium bowl.
Get out the mini- Cuisinart/food processor. Pulse 1/2 cup basil, chilies, and garlic until finely chopped, 10 to 12 pulses, scraping down, as needed.
Transfer 1.5 t. of basil mixture to a small bowl, then stir in 1.5 t. fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and vinegar, and then set aside.
Place the rest of the mixture a skillet large enough for stir-frying everything.
Dry off the chicken well with paper towels --- it makes a difference, I learned. Pulse chicken and remaining 1 t. fish sauce in now empty food processor until coarsely chopped, 6 to 8 pulses. Transfer chicken to medium bowl and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
(Start your rice now.)
Add shallot and oil to skillet with basil mixture and stir to combine. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until garlic and shallot are golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. (Mixture should start to sizzle after about 1.5 minutes; if it doesn't, adjust burner, i.e., turn up the heat. I had to.)
Add chicken to skillet and increase heat to medium, at least. I had to go to high. Cook, breaking up chicken with a wooden spoon, until only traces of pink remain, 2 to 4 minutes.
Add reserved basil-fish sauce mixture and cook, stirring constantly until chicken is no longer pink, about 1 minute.
Stir in remaining 1/2 cup of basil leaves and cook, stirring constantly, until basil is wilted, 30 to 60 seconds.
Serve with rice.
Serve with red pepper flakes for those who like more spice.