As one of the more popular dishes on any Thai restaurant menu, basil chicken is simple, quick, delicious and healthy–thus a perfect match for Pan Asian. You can make it at home with very little effort and only a few ingredients. The star of the show is, of course, Thai basil, which is a type of sweet basil with narrow leaves, purple stems, and a purplish-pink flower as well as one of the signature flavors of Thai cuisine. You should be able to find these fresh at any good Asian store.
In some restaurants, I have seen this dish made with ground chicken and sometimes served wrapped in a leaf of lettuce, but I prefer to prepare it as a stir-fry using small chunks of chicken (thigh meat, of course, since it has more flavor and stays moist when cooked). You may even substitute chicken in this recipe for beef, pork, or squid.
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 lb. (450 g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 fresh red or green Thai Chilies, pounded in mortar and pestle
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons palm sugar or brown sugar
1 bunch of Thai basil leaves, stems removed
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
1.) Heat 1 tablespoon oil in wok. Once hot, add chicken and stir-fry over high heat for 5 minutes, until browned all over. Transfer chicken to a colander or sieve to drain.
2.) Reheat wok and add remaining oil. Add shallots and garlic and stir-fry for 3 minutes, until golden brown.
3.) Return chicken to wok along with chilies, fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar. Stir-fry on high heat for about 8 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Stir in basil leaves and white pepper and cook until basil is wilted. Serve immediately over rice.
Makes 4 servings