Hands-down Asian food is one of my favorite cuisines…to eat. When it comes to cooking Asian food, I tend to be fairly tentative. There are so many magical ingredients in the realm of Asian cuisine, but I don’t have much experience utilizing many of them.
However, I recently purchased the Defined Dish cookbook (which is fabulous!) and in Alex Snodgrass’s list of pantry staples, she listed Red Boat Fish Sauce. Instantly, I was reminded of my past attempts to use the mysterious fish sauce and my aversion towards its pungent scent (it smells like fish…shocker). However, heeding Alex’s advice, I bought a bottle and decided to test my hand at Asian cuisine again.
As with anything else you cook, I think approaching cooking with confidence is key. Don’t be afraid of bold flavors or unusual combinations because they often lead to the best dishes. This could not be truer with this Thai Basil Chicken! This is one of those recipes that has multiple, powerful flavors at work, but they come together beautifully, create a complex flavor profile that’s a little bit smoky, a little bit sweet, and a tad spicy. With fresh basil, chilis…and yes, fish sauce, it is an ode to Thai cuisine that is oh-so crave-worthy.
About this Recipe:
- Thai Basil: If you’re wondering what Thai basil is and how it differs from regular basil, you’re not alone. I had to do my research too and discovered that it has a bolder, licorice-like flavor compared to traditional basil. That being said, I went to two different grocery stores and couldn’t get my hands on any, so I substituted regular basil and it still tastes absolutely incredible!
- Chili Pepper: Traditional Thai Basil Chicken utilizes Thai chilis, but here in Fresno, CA we’ve got tons of Fresno chiles that just demand to be used in recipes like this one. While Thai chili peppers are 15x hotter than a jalapeno, Fresno chiles have about the same spice level as a jalapeno, making them a great choice for anyone wary of burning a hole in their tongue.
- Shirataki Noodles: Have you ever heard of 5-calorie noodles? Until recently, I didn’t know that such a thing existed until I stumbled upon Miracle Noodles in Whole Foods. These angel hair noodles are made with konjac flour (typically used in Japan) and are gluten-free with a texture that closely resembles rice vermicelli noodles. I absolutely love the texture of these noodles and serve them cold to complement the spiciness of the chili peppers used in this recipe. You can also use rice noodles if you have trouble finding this konjac flour variety or ditch the noodles all together and make a lettuce cup version!
- 1 lb. lean ground chicken
- 1 red bell pepper (diced)
- 4 oz. fresh green beans
- 1 shallot (thinly sliced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 3 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1/4 cup coconut aminos
- 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 large Thai or Fresno chile (seeds removed)
- 1 cup basil (thinly sliced)
- 14-16 oz. rice or konjac flour noodles (served cold)
- Start by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath (ice and cold water) in a medium bowl and set aside next to the pot. Add the green beans to the water and boil for 3-5 min until the green beans turn bright green. Remove from the pot and add to the ice bath to "shock" or stop the cooking process. After 5 minutes, drain the green beans and pat dry of any excess moisture. Trim the stems off and set aside.
- Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and prep the vegetables, slicing the shallot, bell pepper, chili pepper, and mincing the garlic.
- Add all the vegetables, including the green beans, to the skillet and sauté for 5-7 minutes until everything has softened and is fragrant. Remove from the pan and set aside to add back in later.
- Add the ground chicken to the skillet and cook until completely browned (5-8 minutes). While the ground chicken cooks, whisk together the fish sauce, coconut aminos, and cornstarch together in a small bowl.
- Once the chicken is cooked, add the sauce mixture and veggies back to the pan and simmer everything for an additional 3-5 minutes. While it simmers, thinly slice the basil and add to the pan right before serving just so that the basil wilts.
- Serve immediately alongside the cold rice/konjac flour noodles and enjoy!
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 290Total Fat: 6.2gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 80mgSodium: 530mgCarbohydrates: 27.7gFiber: 1.5gSugar: 13.3gProtein: 28.3g