Thai is one of those cuisines that I love to have, if I’m not the one cooking it. The subtle flavors have a way of knocking my socks off with their clean and crisp tastes. Every individual component is often recognized and acknowledged in a dish, in a was that works out a perfect balance. Slowly, I am becoming more familiar with ingredients in traditional Thai cooking and challenging myself to try some new dishes in my own kitchen.

This simple chicken with basil was perfect for two on a weeknight> Served with a small portion of brown rice, we mixed everything together on our platters and dug in. There were only a few leftovers to wrap up and nothing went to waste within the next few days. Consider this, and the other Thai inspired dishes I have posted on here as baby steps towards a personal culinary awakening.


Thai Chicken with Basil

From Cook’s Illustrated Cooking for Two Supplement 


  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, tightly backed
  • 2 green or red Thai chilies, stemmed
  • 2 garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 1/2 teas fish sauce, plus extra for serving
  • 1 1/2 teas oyster sauce
  • 1 1/2 teas sugar, plus extra for serving
  • 1/2 teas white vinegar, plus extra for serving
  • 1 (8oz) boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 shallow, sliced thin
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • Red pepper flakes, for serving


Pulse 1/2 cup basil, chiles, and garlic in food processor until finely chopped, 10 to 12 pulses, scraping down work bowl as needed. Transfer 1 1/2 teas basil mixture to small bowl and stir in 1 1/2 teas fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and vinegar; set aside. Transfer remaining basil mixture to 10-inch nonstick skillet.

Without washing food processor bowl, pulse chicken and remaining 1 teas fish  sauce in food processor until meat is coarsely chopped, 6 to 8 pulses. Transfer to medium bowl and refrigerate 15 minutes.

Stir shallow and oil into basil mixture in skillet. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly; until garlic and shallot are golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. (Mixture should start to sizzle after about 1 1/2 minutes; if it doesn’t adjust heat accordingly.)

Stir in chicken and cook over medium heat, breaking up chicken with wooden spoon, until only traces of pink remain, 2 to 4 minutes. Add reserved basil-fish sauce mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until chicken is no longer pink, about 1 minute. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup basil leaves and cook, stirring constantly, until basil has wilted, 30 to 60 seconds. Serve immediately, passing extra fish sauce, sugar, vinegar, and red pepper flakes separately.



  1. I agree – if I had to eat one cuisine for the rest of my life, it’s gotta be Thai – and this is a classic!

  2. I am salivating at the moment 🙂 This is exactly how my mum used to cook at home 🙂

  3. We adore Thai food, all Asian-inspired food for that matter. I consider the condiments (fish/oyster sauce, etc.), ginger and lemongrass (when I can find it) staples in my kitchen. I start getting the twitches when I run out. I have to admit that I haven’t made a chicken dish so heavy on basil before but it looks amazing and sounds delicious.

  4. I love cooking Thai and Chinese dishes, they are so easy and yummy!

  5. I love Thai food but have always been intimidated by the amount of special ingredients. This looks like a good gateway recipe!

  6. This looks amazing. My family and I love asian food of all sorts. I do have a question though. My husband is allergic to fish and shellfish, and so I avoid fish and oyster sauce in recipes. Usually I can find something to substitute, or I can simply leave them out…however, since there’s not much else for liquid, I’m not sure how to adapt this…do you have any suggestions?

    1. To be honest, I am not sure there would be an substitute that would leave a similar flavor. However, for a killer dinner, I would check the ingredients list on a red curry paste (or even store purchased cooking sauce) and still pack the recipe with a ton of basil. I’d be in heaven!

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