Spicy Thai Chicken With Basil

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Spicy Thai Chicken With Basil is a dish that I love so much, inspired by the delicious Thai meals served at restaurants. This recipe will work well with any of your favorite types of chicken, but I prefer chicken breast. One thing to note about this recipe is that you will want to cook the chili peppers whole for more flavor instead of slicing them. You can use any type of freshly-grown basil you like, but I prefer Thai Basil because of its distinct floral-like aroma and taste.

Spicy Thai Basil Chicken

Lettuce wraps make for a fresh burst of crunch and flavor, or spoon the stir-fry over rice. Look for fish sauce in your grocery store’s Asian foods section.

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Spicy Thai Basil Chicken

Recipe Summary

Yield:

Serves 4 (serving size: about 3/4 cup)

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

  • 4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • ½ cup minced shallots
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
  • 4 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 2 Thai or serrano chiles, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 4 lime wedges

Directions

Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallots; sauté 2 minutes. Add bell pepper; sauté 1 minute. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Remove shallot mixture from pan.
  • Step 2Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain well. Return chicken to pan over medium heat. Add chiles; cook 1 minute. Add shallot mixture to pan. Stir in fish sauce and next 3 ingredients (through black pepper); cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Remove pan from heat; stir in basil and juice. Serve with lime wedges.

Thai Basil Chicken Recipe

Thai Basil Chicken is one of the easiest and most popular Thai stir fries. Incredibly quick to make, this Thai Basil Chicken recipe (Gai Pad Krapow) is packed with flavor and ready in 20 minutes!

Thai Chicken Basil stir fried in a wok.
Ground Chicken Stir Fry with Thai Basil

Thai Basil Chicken

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Thai Basil chicken is a popular Thai street comfort food made with chicken, stir fried in a savory and spicy sauce and tossed with lots of Thai sweet basil.

Basil Chicken also known as Pad Krapow Gai and Gai Pad Krapow is usually served with rice and topped with a fried egg.

Mouthwatering Thai Basil Chicken served with rice in a white bowl.
Chicken Krapow or Pad Krapow Gai served with rice

Thai Chicken Basil Recipe

So if you never had Thai Chicken with basil, let me tell you why you should make it!

  • This Thai recipe is made with ingredients you can find at most supermarkets.
  • This Thai basil stir fry recipe is made with ground chicken which cooks incredibly quickly. Making this the perfect meal for busy weeknights.
  • This recipe is budget friendly and can be customized to your taste. If you love spicy foods, make this a Spicy Thai Basil Chicken dish! Swap the veggies in the recipe below with any vegetable you have at home!
Thai Basil stirfry in a wok.
Authentic Thai Basil Chicken is usually made with Holy basil (Tulsi).

Thai Basil Chicken Recipe Ingredients

  • Ground Chicken/Minced Chicken: If you prefer, you can make this dish with boneless and skinless chicken breasts or thighs cut into bite size pieces. Ground turkey, ground beef or ground pork can also be used.
  • Oil: Any mild oil such as vegetable oil, canola oil, peanut oil, avocado oil or coconut oil.
  • Garlic: I prefer fresh garlic minced. Garlic paste can also be used.
  • Thai Chiles: Or birds eye chiles, deseeded. Fresh serrano chiles or jalapanos can be used. If you don’t want the chicken basil to be too spicy, devein the chiles (that is where the heat comes from). Dried Chili flakes can be used if fresh chiles are not available.
  • Red Onions: Peeled and sliced. You can use white, brown or yellow onions as well.
  • Red Bell Peppers – Sliced. Any color of bell pepper can be used.
  • Thai Basil – Thai Holy basil or Italian basil can be used.

For The Basil Stir Fry Sauce

  • Sweet Soy Sauce: If you don’t have sweet soy sauce, simply mix low sodium soy sauce or light soy sauce with a pinch of sugar. Use tamari if you want to keep the dish gluten free.
  • Oyster Sauce: This rich and thick sauce is available in most supermarkets. You can find gluten free oyster sauce sold online and in certain specialty markets. 
  • Fish Sauce: An essential ingredient in Thai cuisine.
  • Chicken Broth: Vegetable broth or water can be used.
  • Ground Black Pepper
In this image you can see all the ingredients used in this ground chicken recipe.

How to Make Thai Basil Chicken

  1. Mix the sauce ingredients and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil into a wok or large skillet and stir fry the garlic and chiles for about a minute. Don’t brown the garlic.
  3. Add the ground chicken and stir fry for 3 – 4 minutes, breaking up the minced chicken into smaller pieces (the size of small pebbles).
  4. When the chicken is no longer pink, drain any excess liquid (if needed).
  5. Add the onions and peppers and stir fry for about a minute. Don’t overcook the veggies so they stay crispy.
  6. Stir in the sauce and stir fry for a couple of minutes. The sauce will get a bit thick.
  7. Stir in the basil and cook until the basil is wilted. The basil will turn a darker color as soon as it gets heated up. Serve!

What is the difference between Thai basil and regular basil?

Thai Basil and regular basil (Italian basil) are similar in flavor however, Thai Basil has hints of licorice (anise) flavor.

Thai Basil also known as Thai Sweet Basil is different from Thai Holy Basil. In Thailand, Basil Chicken is always made with Thai Holy Basil however, this peppery tasting basil is very hard to find outside of Thailand. For this reason, Thai basil is commonly used to make this dish.

YOU HAVE QUESTIONS? WE HAVE ANSWERS!

What Other Vegetables Can I add to Basil Chicken?

Fresh spinach, asparagus, broccoli florets, cauliflower florets and mushrooms are great additions to this chicken basil stir fry!

What Is Sweet Soy Sauce?

Sweet soy sauce is a sweetened soy sauce that is thicker and darker than regular soy sauce. It is made with soy sauce, palm sugar, aromatics like ginger and green onions and a mixture of spices.
If you can’t find sweet soy sauce, simply add a pinch of granulated sugar or brown sugar to regular, lite or low-sodium soy sauce.

Top view of a small serving bowl filled with Thai Basil Chicken Stir Fry.

Basil Chicken Recipe Tips

  • If you cannot find Thai basil, regular basil is a good substitute.
  • Make your own sweet soy sauce at home by mixing regular, low-sodium or light soy sauce with a pinch of sugar.
  • If you only have dried spices (garlic powder and dried chili flakes), heat the oil in the wok or skillet, stir fry the chicken, drain any excess liquid and then add the dry spices. Follow the rest of the recipe as written.
  • Make sure you have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you turn on the stove! This chicken with basil dish cooks quickly!

Thai Holy Basil

  • The word Krapow means holy basil (Tulsi), a specific type of sweet and peppery basil.
  • In Hindu mythology, holy basil is believed to ward off evil spirits.
  • Krapow or holy basil is said to have hundreds of medicinal properties.
  • In some cultures, its believed that “No disease visits a house that has a plant of holy basil at its door steps”
  • In Thailand and other southeast Asian countries, Holy basil is the type of basil always used to make Thai Basil Chicken, Thai Basil Beef (Pad Gra Prow) as well as other stir fries.

Spicy Thai Chicken With Basil Recipe

Jalapeños, onions, and garlic are just some of the flavors coming together in this mouthwatering dish.

Paleo spicy thai chicken with basil

The cuisines of Southeast Asia—Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian—deliver more flavor per calorie than any other on the planet and make for a refreshing break from the cartons of Chinese takeout that clutter so many American refrigerators. This Thai classic (called gai pad grapow) gets its flavor from chiles, garlic, and fresh herbs—nutritional powerhouses known to boost metabolism and fight cancer. Together, they also make for a full-throttle flavor experience that trumps nearly any Chinese stir-fry in the health department. Adjust the heat in this Thai chicken recipe to your liking, but if it’s not at least somewhat fiery, then it’s not Thai.

NUTRITION: 190 calories, 6 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 890 mg sodium

Fantastic spicy chicken wings [BA Recipes]

SERVES 4

YOU’LL NEED

1 Tbsp peanut or canola oil
1  medium red onion, thinly sliced
2  jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced (or more if you really like your food fiery)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1  lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
2  Tbsp fish sauce (If you absolutely can’t find fish sauce, you can substitute with more low-sodium soy sauce and a dash of Worcestershire, which is actually made in a similar manner as fish sauce.)
1 Tbsp sugar
1  Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2  cups fresh basil leaves (preferably Thai or holy basil, but you’ll only find those at specialty markets)

HOW TO MAKE IT

  1. Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet.
  2. When hot, add the onion, jalapeños, and garlic and stir-fry for 2 minutes, using a metal spatula to keep the ingredients in motion.
  3. Add the chicken and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the meat is beginning to brown on the outside.
  4. Add the fish sauce, sugar, soy sauce, and basil and cook for 1 minute more.
  5. Serve over rice.

Eat This Tip

Made from fermented oily fish, fish sauce tends to pack a stiff aroma. But this funky condiment forms the backbone of much of Southeast Asian cuisine and, despite its strong nose, adds a pleasantly salty, sweet punch of flavor to a variety of dishes and sauces. Find a bottle in large grocery stores or Asian markets. We find that the Thai Kitchen brand is the easiest for fish sauce newbies to enjoy.

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