You only need a few staple pantry ingredients, thirty minutes and some fresh basil to make this easy Thai basil chicken recipe.
Thai basil isn’t that easy to find in our city during the winter months, but during the summer and early fall, it’s readily available at the farmers’ market in enormous bunches just waiting to be made into something delicious. Last summer, I made a Thai basil pesto that turned out pretty good, but I knew this year, I wanted to give Thai basil chicken a whirl.
It was the first dish I tried when we were in Thailand, and it was definitely one of my favorites. And, for good reason. Spicy, saucy chicken is basically stir fried in heaps of garlic and Thai basil. I honestly don’t know a person who wouldn’t like it. But, I never guessed it would be so easy to replicate.
I used this recipe as a base for my experiment, and I used what little I know about Thai cooking to fill in the blanks for stronger Thai flavor. From what I learned while I was there for 4 short days, each dish should feature the four basic flavors: sweet, sour, bitter and salt. So I made sure to add a little fish sauce, lime juice and sugar to the sauce. I also wimped out and used red pepper flakes rather than cutting up a whole pepper.
The result was nothing short of amazing, and, besides a few too many dirty measuring spoons, it came together without much hassle (making it my new favorite recipe). I served ours with steamed broccoli and jasmine rice. If you haven’t started making jasmine rice with your Asian-inspired dishes, you have to start. It makes a world of difference.
If you can’t find Thai basil for this recipe, try using regular basil. It won’t taste exactly the same, but it will still be satisfying. I promise.
Easy Thai Basil Chicken
Yield 6 servings
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast (or tenders), thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 8 garlic cloves)
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 - 3 cups fresh Thai basil leaves
- Lime wedges (optional, for serving)
- In a large bowl, stir together sliced chicken, oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice and brown sugar until evenly coated. Allow chicken to marinate while preparing the rest of the meal.
- Heat canola oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add chicken and sauce and increase heat to high. Cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
- Add basil leaves and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until basil leaves have wilted, about 4 minutes.