Thai Basil Chicken – Why Order Takeout?

Note: So, sometimes, when you work a ton and then get the HEADCOLD THAT WOULD END YOU, it’s really hard to write witty and illuminating blog posts. Sorry for the lapse, but I’m back on the wagon. Or off the wagon. Whichever one is the good one, I’m that.

To write this post, I’m going to have to admit a couple of things.

Number one: I love the internet like a fat kid loves cake (read: fat kid = me).

I love the internet. It’s one of the most entertaining things I can do relatively cheaply in my own time. I have an addiction to StumbleUpon, which is similar to Pinterest, I guess, but without all the broken links. When I am in need of a good ol’ fashioned time-waster, I click through StumbleUpon, liking things to save them for later perusal. This is where I get a lot of my best ideas, recipes, tutorials, and such.

I have close to 1200 likes. That is too many for a reasonable person to have. Witness my time-wasted shame.

Number two: I love Thai food beyond any reasonable normal human amount.

I think my love of Thai food came about in college from a very strange rule – the SPU cafeteria didn’t serve any sort of meal in the evenings on Sundays. It was sort of a nice way to give the food workers the night off. It seemed pretty inconvenient at the time, but as I look back on it now I think of all the wonderful times I had eating out with then-boyfriend C and our best friend Cynthia. I think of how much of the city we saw riding around on buses and eating in little hole-in-the-wall Mom and Pops  and fancy-ish downtown haunts (we definitely had ourselves some Cheesecake Factory on occasion). I know that some of the best college memories I have come from Sunday night dinners.

Anyway, once upon a time we walked from campus to Thai food in Fremont, and my world was opened. One Massaman curry later, Thai food became king in my heart.

So (here comes the tie-in. I know you were waiting for it), I was clicking around on StumbleUpon, and I found this post: Basically, this article explains that Thai Basil Stir fry, pad kra pao gai in Thai, is the Thai equivalent of a cheeseburger and fries. It’s the homegrown comfort food that any restaurant in Thailand should be able to make passably.

Now, the article had some guidelines for how the dish should be put together, but no real recipe. Pretty disappointing, right? Never fear,dear reader, Bonnie comes to the rescue! Combining what I learned about the dish and a couple similar recipes, I have created a great, simple, quick weeknight meal that is literally ready in ten minutes or less (plus however long it takes for your rice to cook).

IMAG0449

Oh Basil. Get in my mouth.

The only trick here is to add the signature basil after removing the pan from the heat. The residual heat from the pan should be enough to release the flavor without wilting the leaves and losing the basil deliciousness. It will look like a ton of leaves, but use a free hand – girl can never have too much basil in her life.

Thai basil can be a little hard to find but here is my Seattle shopping guide: Safeway is a no-go, Fred Meyer sometimes does. QFC always stocks it, but if they run out you can run over to Ballard Market on 15th and just north of Market. I would be downright shocked if you couldn’t  buy Thai basil at Met Market or Whole foods, but I haven’t looked yet. It’s worth the run around, because in the end you will have this:

IMAG0451

This is what is for dinner. Right now.

THAI BASIL CHICKEN (serves 2)

2 tbsp sesame oil or olive oil
2 boneless chicken breasts, sliced thinly
1 onion, diced
a few Thai ghost peppers, or a pinch red pepper flakes
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce (low sodium if available)
1 or 2 packages of thai basil, or reg basil if need be, trimmed from stems
1 egg per serving

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion, sauté until tender, about three min. Add chicken and heat until cooked through. Season with salt, pepper, and Thai peppers or red pepper flakes.
Add garlic, sugar, fish sauce, and soy. Allow to boil and reduce until thickened and sauce-like. Remove pan from heat. Add basil leaves.
Meanwhile, add 1 tsp oil to a small fry pan over medium heat. Fry egg until white is set and yolk is runny.
Serve over rice (jasmine tastes best, I think), topped with egg.

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