Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Thai chicken with basil

The first time I had chicken basil I was at a small Thai restaurant in Naples, Florida, a place called Siam Thai. Although it was a stone's throw away from glitzy, snobby 5th Avenue South —Naples' downtown area— the place was  family-ran a hole in the wall that featured the right dose of depressing Asian decor, including a couple of posters of Thailand that had seen better days and a mismatched cutlery. Needless to say, it was one of my favorite restaurants in the area. 

It also happened to be literally a minute away from my office, which is how, on a fall afternoon in 2006, my friend and coworker Dan and I ended up sitting at one of the tables in the dark dining room. Since basil is one of my favorite ingredients and Thai basil sauce happens to be one of their spiciest, I feel in love with the dish immediately. In the following four years I ordered chicken basil at every Thai restaurant I went to, although the one from Siam Thai —much like first love— was hard to forget and remains to this day my favorite.

Enter Tommy. Whenever we eat something at a restaurant, even when it's delicious and flirting with perfection, he always says the same thing. "I bet you can make this better at home." Which is sweet, really, although not always true. Or at least I don't think it's true. He seriously does, he tells me. Anyway, because he said that, I found myself buying a Thai cookbook to try and make chicken basil at home. It's an easy recipe and I have to admit that I make a killer basil sauce. But better than Siam Thai's? I don't think so.

Serves 2

2 chicken breast halves, cut into strips
1 small onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Bird eye chilies, to taste, sliced
6 tablespoons (or less if you don;t want it fiery) chili garlic sauce, such as Huy Fong
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
A big bunch of basil, washed and torn

In a wok heat up some oil ( I usually use canola), then add garlic and chiles. Stir fry over medium high heat for a couple of minutes, stirring and making sure that the garlic doesn't burn. Add onions, chicken and chili garlic sauce. Stir and cook until chicken changes color.

Add soy sauce, fish sauce and sugar and stir some more, cooking for a few minutes longer. Remove from fire, add basil and serve immediately.


  1. Mmmm, yet another Kika recipe that I want to cook! You have been such a great inspiration for me! =)

  2. Thanks Em! I'm so glad I can be an inspiration when it comes to food, it's something I enjoy so much and like to share, so it makes me really happy to see that people in my life enjoy it as much as I do!

  3. Your friend Tommy sounds like my Dad! He now thinks I can make anything better myself - even if I've never made it before. This looks excellent - never had the dish before - would love to try it.

  4. Awww, that's really sweet of Tommy! I love Thai food and this dish sounds really full of flavor! I bet the basil adds so much to the dish.

  5. Thai chicken basil is awesome - nuff said!

  6. I've driven by Siam Thai a zillion times but have never been. I will go this week! Thanks!

  7. Reeni: yay for supportive guys, whether they are dads or boyfriends!

    Faith: let's not tell him he's sweet or he'll get too full of himself =)

    Lisa: do try it, tell the Thai ladies that work there that Kika says hi and that I miss their wonderful food!

  8. I'm still trying to learn how to make more Thai dishes. This one looks really delicious. I love basil. It's on my recipe "to make" list. I just copied the recipe. Thanks!

  9. I a huge fan of thai food. I love the simplicity but big flavor in this chicken basil dish! Nice!

  10. Love, love anything easy and Thai! This looks like a winner!



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