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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Thai Style Chicken with Basil

I made this a few nights ago for an impromptu dinner for a few friends who were in the neighborhood house-hunting. It was an easy recipe to prepare and the grocery shopping is easy if you have a good asian grocery market nearby... if you do not, you can substitute some of the ingredients for foods that are easy to find in your everyday grocery store (i.e. thai chiles for jalepenos/serranos). Although the final product doesn't look like its packed with flavor, surprisingly, when you taste it you get a wonderful surprise of a very flavorful spicy, salty, sweet dish. I highly recommend this to anyone that likes any kind of food ever. Its just really good. Adapted (barely) from

- 2 cups fresh basil leaves (I used some thai basil, some regular genovese basil)
- 2 medium garlic cloves
- 8 green thai chiles, stemmed
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce, separated in half
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 3/4 cup peeled and thinly sliced shallots
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

In a food processor pulse 1 cup of basil with the garlic and thai chiles until finely chopped. Transfer 1 tablespoon of this mixture into a small bowl and mix together with 1 tablespoon of fish sauce, the oyster sauce, vinegar, and sugar- set aside. Pour the rest of the basil/garlic/chile mixture into a 12-inch skillet. Do not wash food processor bowl. 

Add the chicken pieces and 1 tablespoon fish sauce into the food processor. Chop in food processor for about 6-8 pulses until the meat is about 1/4-inch pieces. Transfer into a medium bowl and refrigerate for about 15 minutes. 

Stir the shallots and vegetable oil into the 12-inch skillet with the basil/garlic/chile mixture. Heat over medium-low heat until sizzling. Then cook until garlic and shallots are golden brown, about 5-8 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the chicken, increase the heat to medium, and cook, breaking up with a spatula for about 2 minutes, until only slightly pink. Add the fish sauce/oyster sauce/vinegar/sugar mixture and cook another minute, stirring to incorporate the chicken with the sauce. Add the rest of the basil leaves and stir until wilted. Serve immediately with sides of vinegar, red pepper flakes, and fish sauce, for those who want to add them on top. YUM.

*NOTE: if you cannot find thai chiles, instead use about 1 medium/large jalepeno.

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