Thai restaurants seems to have a magic sauce they put on everything to make it rich and full of umami. The first section of the menu I look at is the curry section. The Thai restaurant down the street from us serves curry with Japanese Pumpkin (AKA Kabocha squash) in it, and it's to die for. When I don't go for curry, I turn to eggplant. The soft vegetable has a way of soaking up all of that magic sauce and transforming into a seared buttery bite of flavor. And when I don't order either of those, I order Thai Basil Chicken.
Thai Basil Chicken is always smothered in plenty of the magic sauce. You think I'm full, I'll take the rest home and then five minutes later you find yourself still munching, addicted to that sauce. I'm a bit particular about Thai Basil Chicken though. Some restaurants use ground chicken and others used minced or cubed chicken... I much prefer the ones that skip the ground chicken and use chopped chicken. And unless the restaurant has pictures all over their menu, you never know what you're going to get!
I also want my plate of Thai Basil Chicken to be full of veggies! Peppers, broccoli, mushrooms... whatever they are serving with the chicken, I ask for extra. This is where I get myself into trouble. Most of the time the waitress tries to talk me out of it. I've heard the "There are plenty of vegetables in it," line a lot. And I have said "I know, but more please," a lot. Still... never enough.
And then I realized: Make it at home! Duh! Figure out the magic trick in the sauce, cube the chicken, and use whatever veggies look the best. Definitely one of those why didn't I think of this sooner things. Live and learn.
Serves: 4 | Total Time: 30 minutes
- 1 pound chicken breast, cut into bite-sized cubes
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 4 Thai chilies, minced, plus 5 for garnish for people who like it 🔥
- 1 tablespoon oil for frying - I used an organic sustainable red palm oil, which can handle a high cooking heat, but you can use coconut or avocado, too
- 2 teaspoons of oyster sauce (Most oyster sauce contains sugar and some contains wheat. If you have allergies, read the label! It is an important ingredient to making that secret sauce 😊)
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1/2 cup of loosely packed Thai basil leaves
- 1-1/2 cup chopped asparagus, with white ends removed
- Heat the oil in a wok or large sauté pan. When the oil is hot, add the chicken to the pan. Stir every few minutes, cooking until the pieces are browned on each side. Add garlic and 4 minced Thai chilies.
- In a small bowl, mix together the oyster sauce, soy sauce, and maple syrup. Pour into wok, and stir to coat the chicken. Reduce heat so sauce is just simmering.
- Add chopped asparagus to pan, and cook for 5 more minutes, until asparagus turns bright green and tender.
- Just before serving, add in the basil leaves, stirring to distribute evenly. Serve with rice or cauliflower rice, or eat it on it’s own.