Today, you’re going to learn how to cook Thai Basil Chicken. This very popular dish is incredibly easy to
prepare and you’ll only need very few ingredients. At the end of this article, you’ll be ready to invite your
friends to come over and impress them with this delicious, unique and authentic Thai dish!
Thai Cuisine – Waterborne Lifestyle
Before I give you the recipe, let’s have a little yet interesting talk on Thai cuisine. Hot, sweet and
spicy – these are the words that best describe Thai food. Thais are known for their unique dishes which were
essentially derived from the Eastern and Western culinary influences. Thai foods come in variety as well. Other
than the usual spicy flavor, they serve almost everything.
Originally, Thai cuisine is a product of waterborne lifestyle. During the ancient times, Thais relied so much in
seafood. This could be attributed to their geographical location. Aquatic animals, herbs and different kinds of
plants were used as major ingredients. Meats were eschewed from their menus. But as people from the west and its
neighboring countries entered Thailand for trade, meat was introduced. Thais began to incorporate meat in their
dishes, stuffing it with herbs and spices. When Chinese entered the culinary scene in Thailand, other forms of
cooking were adopted as well. They include stir-frying, frying and deep-frying. Thai Basil Chicken makes use of
stir-frying. The use of chili pepper as one of the Thai’s major spices was introduced by Portuguese missionaries
who visited the country in late 1600s. On the other hand, other foreign countries also influenced Thai cuisine in
so many ways such as the use of Sesame seeds, coconut milk and different kinds of oils.Thai Basil Chicken
This dish is one of the classical Thai dishes. Also called Gai Pad, this food is known for its spicy, salty and
flavorful tang. In Thailand, this dish is considered a no-brainer dish. Anyone can do it and it doesn’t call for a
professional chef for Thai Basil Chicken to be prepared. You’ll not be called a Thai without having tasted this
food. If you’re in Thailand and you’re looking for something your taste bud can easily get along with, you can
always order Thai Basil Chicken. Almost every restaurant there offers this dish.
Alright – let’s now start our cooking lesson! As mentioned, Thai Basil Chicken is very easy to make. As
in! To start with, here are the ingredients you’ll need:
½ Chicken (ground or chopped into smaller pieces) – if you don’t like
chicken, you can make use pork or beef. It depends on your preference. But because we’re talking about Thai Basil Chicken, we will refer to chicken meat all
through our discussion. Some people want ground meat but for better texture, you may want to simply cut the
meat into small chunks. Don’t use breast because it’s the driest part of the chicken’s meat and it’s not very
flavorful. You can use the thigh part (just remove the bones) instead. Turkey can also be a great substitute
for chicken! Make sure to use fresh meat. The secret towards a juicy, flavorful and splendid dish is on the
freshness of its ingredients.
1 to 2 packages of Basil Leaves – this aromatic plant is most available in tropical countries
like Thailand. Because of its pungent smell and rich flavor, holy basil is widely used in Thai cuisine. The
uniqueness of Thai Basil Chicken is accounted to the basil leaves. In the US, Thai restaurants normally use sweet
basil because holy basil is not very common there. But there’s a big difference on the taste and if you really want
to experience authentic Thai Basil Chicken, you want to look for holy basil. If you’re in the US, you can look for
this particular variety in supermarkets. Anyway, many farmers in the US are growing holy basil because it’s getting
so much in demand in the modern culinary. This herb doesn’t stay fresh for a long time even if you place it in the
refrigerator. So make sure you’re going to cook it immediately. If you want, you can place your basil leaves in the
freezer to preserve its quality for a bit longer. In preparing the basil for your Thai Basil Chicken, you can just
cut the leaves. It may appear like there are a lot of leaves but don’t worry, they will shrink when cooked.
3 tablespoons fish sauce – if you’ve never tasted this yet, your first encounter on this Asian
sauce can be disappointing it doesn’t smell that good. As the name suggests, the sauce is made from raw fish that
has been salted and stored in a jar for several weeks before the juice (or the sauce) is extracted. The taste is
generally salty and when added on the Thai Basil Chicken, it can create some twist on your dish! However, not
everyone likes the taste of fish salt. If you’re one of them, you can just use soy sauce. But the fish sauce will
not taste overpowering when cooked. It’s really tasty and you should try it!
Thai chilies (prik kee noo) – you can choose any type of chili of your choice. Some of the
great choices are jalapeno or fresno pepper. Slice it to large chunks. Native Thais would normally use 10-20
chilies because for them, the spicier the dish is, the better it tastes. But of course, it’s up to you if you want
more or less.
Other than these three, you will also need the following:
2 tablespoon of palm oil or peanut oil
4 cloves of garlic (minced)
Powdered black Pepper
It will only take 20 minutes for you to prepare Thai Chicken Basil, 10 minutes to prepare all the ingredients
and another 10 minutes to cook. For the utensils, you will need a medium-sized saucepan or a wok.
Sauté the garlic first. Make sure that the oil is very hot so the aroma of the garlic will come out. Next,
add the chopped chilies. When the garlic has turned brown (don’t over sauté it as it can get bitter!), you can now
drop in the chicken. Keep stirring the meat for several minutes. You will notice that it will release some water
(juice). When the juice is gone, you can now pour the fish sauce.
Then, add the holy basil leaves. You may need to turn it over from time to time to make sure all the leaves have
been cooked well. Basil leaves takes only a few minutes (2-3 min) over high heat to get cooked. Pour some powdered
pepper for extra aroma and taste.
Once everything is cooked, remove the Thai Basil Chicken from the pan or wok and place it on a plate. Side it
with chopped fresh cucumber for an additional appeal.
Serve it hot. Thai Basil Chicken is best served with rice. In Thailand, they combine it with curry fried
Some Cooking Pointers, Tips and Advice
Thai Basil Chicken is an extraordinary dish for many
Thais and it can be served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some people prefer to top it with fried egg. To
make your first cooking session extra special, here are some tips:
To make the chicken more flavorful, slice the chicken meat into bite sizes. The smaller it is cut, the bigger
will be covered with herbs and spices, making it more flavorful.
If you’re using pork, be sure to choose holy basil. Thai Pork Basil tastes better with holy basil leaves.
This dish best compliments rice and noodles. If you don’t eat rice, you can just pair it with some spaghetti
You can wrap the Basil Thai chicken with cold crisp lettuce and experience its powerful taste melting on your
tongue. It gives you the natural grassy flavor of
the leaf combined with the herb-infused chicken.
Basil Leaf Cafe - the Little