Spicy Basil Chicken

June 5, 2012 · 14 comments

in asian,chicken/poultry,dairy-free,healthy,quick and easy

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Thai food. I don’t really like peanut sauces and cilantro, and that alone makes it difficult to appreciate Thai.

That said, when I step off the train from work, there are no fewer than 5 Thai restaurants within a 1 block radius. And they smell freaking amazing. Sometimes, it makes it difficult to eat what I’ve planned for dinner that night because I’ve just been plagued with an insatiable urge to have…whatever it is they’re making in there.

When this popped up in my reader, I knew I had to make it. It has the parts about Thai cuisine I do enjoy – namely, the heat and the basil. I must have really been craving that flavor profile, too, because I managed to put 2 other dishes similar to this one on the menu for the same week (or maybe I’m just trying to use up the liter of fish sauce I have in my fridge).

As far as changes go (because, you know I had to make some), I upped the amount of sauce a bit, and changed the proportions slightly – including switching out some of the fish sauce for oyster sauce. Right before I added the sauce, I threw in a couple handfuls of chopped peapods, which are one of my most favorite things, to make this a complete meal alongside some brown rice.

The flavors of this dish are definitely reminiscent of the drunken noodles I’ve made in the past, which of course means I really loved it. The oyster and fish sauces give this dish a great depth of flavor and the sugar and basil leaves balance the heat nicely. Of course, you can increase or decrease the chili paste amounts to your personal preference.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Ivy June 6, 2012 at 12:19 am

Although I’ve never tried Thai food before I think I would love it as I love cilantro. This dish looks delicious and I think I will try it.

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Joanne June 6, 2012 at 7:10 am

Well I can’t begin to understand how you dislike peanut sauce (since I could live off it)..but we can agree to disagree. Love the sound of this dish! The heat of Thai food never fails to make my taste buds happy.

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bellini June 6, 2012 at 9:45 am

I am not a huge fan of cilantro myself but as with every cuisine there is something to love!

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katie June 6, 2012 at 10:50 am

Do you think it would work without the fish sauce? My husband can’t stand the stuff (fool!)

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elly June 6, 2012 at 11:06 am

Katie, the original recipe says you can replace it with soy sauce. I think since I added the oyster sauce (will he eat that?) it helps keep the sauce a little more flavorful/complex so you shouldn’t miss the fish sauce too much.

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katie June 20, 2012 at 8:11 am

He will eat oyster sauce, thanks!

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Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy June 6, 2012 at 4:48 pm

yum! that sounds so delicious! i love a good spicy dish every now and then! thanks for sharing! so glad i found your blog:)

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Ranica June 6, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Actually, some people are genetically disposed to interpret the taste of cilantro as soap. That’s why a lot of people don’t like it. Me, it’s my favorite herb.

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Nicole, RD June 6, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Yay! A Thai dish you love! When I was in Thailand last summer, I fell in love with them based on their love for basil. Now, if I could just find Thai basil! Do you know of anywhere in Chicago that sells it? Glad you enjoyed this – I will have to try oyster sauce next time, too!

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elly June 7, 2012 at 7:27 am

Nicole, there are a few Asian stores that carry it on the north side that I’m aware of. Last year we were lucky enough to get it through our CSA, so I didn’t have to search. :)

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Ann P. June 7, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Basil is one of my FAVORITE things about summer. perfect recipe for June, elly :)

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Kelsey June 8, 2012 at 10:28 am

Oh Elly, this looks so wonderful. I’ve been wanting something with Asian flavors and this just hit the mark. It’s on the meal plan!

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Karen June 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm

We made this just the other week, and it was amazing! I’m glad I upped the sauce like you did. We will certainly be making it again soon.

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elly June 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Glad you liked it, Karen!

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