Spicy Basil Chicken

Spicy Basil Chicken is a typical Thai dish using a recipe that is simple to follow. Submitted by David McCarthy, Australia


  • 1 lb (450 grams) boneless chicken thighs, coarsely chopped, or cut into small bite-size pieces
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2-3 shallots, thinly sliced (or substitute with 1/2 cup sliced onion)
  • 2-3 Tbsp peanut oil for stir-frying
  • 2 tsp black soy sauce (the semi-sweet kind)
  • 1-2 Tbsp fish sauce, to taste
  • 1 cup fresh Thai holy basil, or substitute 1/4 cup dried holy basil, soaked to soften plus 1/2 to 1 cup fresh Thai sweet basil
  • 2 small kaffir lime leaves, very finely slivered (optional)
  • 2-3 fresh jalapeno or fresno peppers, cut into large slivers; or 5-10 Thai chilies, chopped and pounded with a mortar and pestle
  • Dash of ground white pepper


Prepare the ingredients as indicated.

Leave the fresh basil leaves whole; the flowers may also be used. The dried holy basil will soften when soaked in tap water for 10-15 minutes. Pull off and discard the hard stems. Drain.

Heat a wok until the surface is smoking hot.

Swirl in the oil to coat the wok surface. Wait a few seconds for the oil to heat, then stir in the garlic, followed a few seconds later with shallots.

Stir another few seconds before adding the chicken.

Stir fry a minute or two, or until most of the chicken has started to change color on the outside and is no longer pink.

Toss in the chilies, slivered kaffir lime leaves and reconstituted dried holy basil (if using).

Sprinkle black soy sauce over the mixture and stir fry another 15-20 seconds. Then add fresh basil leaves and fish sauce to taste.

Stir and mix well.

Stir fry another half a minute, or until the basil is wilted and the chicken is cooked through.

Sprinkle with white pepper.

Stir and transfer to a serving dish, or spoon directly over individual plates of plain steamed rice.


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