Saturday, June 1, 2013

#129 Spicy Thai Chicken Basil

There are those special days of the month when I feel  so enthusiastic about cooking a well-planned menu for the day,  and just killing it dish after dish and often wanting to cook more. Those days are the result of good planning, a well-stocked fridge, lots of extra time and an inspiration- such as, a  hungry child who is always excited about everything you make and  a cooking blog. :)  Then there's the majority of the days of the month when I find myself not wanting to be the home kitchen superstar, wishing someone could take over my role for a day..especially after working long hours in front of a laptop.. and before I could even finish,  it's time to make dinner. One day I found  myself staring at the fridge and after finding just a single package of uncooked chicken breast fillets left, I let out a big sigh, so tempted to just make a quick soup or throw it in the oven. Most days I really don't know what to cook..I rely upon my Iphone to search for ideas at the last minute. While looking at  the chicken, I started thinking about what I could do with it.. if only I had a well-stocked kitchen that day, and if only the grocery store is not a 30-minute drive away. Next, the vegetable bin is inspected..and there's 3/4 of a huge red bell pepper, left over ginger, a single serrano chili pepper, and a bunch of basil and mint that smelled so good. At that moment, I did not know what to do and so for a minute I sat and wished that I did not procrastinate on buying food to last for days. Then a blessing came. A roaring blessing. Where I got the idea of what I made was given to me by my daughter roaring at my face with her tongue sticking out, literally. "ROAAAARRRR"..."That's how the people in Thailand intimidate their enemies while doing the Haka, see? ROOOOOARRRRRR..right? that's what Captain Sean said"..."Oh haha, Captain Sean and his island, not Thailand, it's New Zealand, hey it rhymes", I replied. Right when she mentioned Thailand, I remembered this dish I saw on TV several years ago, a celebrity chef added basil in chicken stir fry. Spicy Thai Chicken Basil-I've tried it many times a few years ago, it's really good. Then it dawned on me that the left over veggies I had in the fridge was just enough for what I needed to make the delicious dish. Thanks to the roaring girl! Soon I felt good about cooking something delicious again, and  I'm glad I found this recipe that I slightly tweaked from Cooking Light. (I'm a huge fan). What I love about this dish? The, it lifted me to the roof. Serrano chili pepper was just perfect for the much needed heat but I think  the heat is just too much for kids, it definitely was for mine. I served the peppers on the side then added it on my plate, and my little one enjoyed it without the minced chile peppers. We omitted the fish sauce for her plate too because of her allergies, she didn't complain, she loved it. A quick cooking and delicious dish, it was a great dinner!


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

  1.  Heat 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 and ginger; sauté 30 seconds. Remove shallot mixture from pan.
  2. Add 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.

The Jalapeno pepper has 5,000 Scoville heat units.
The Serrano pepper (above) has 25,000 Scoville heat units!
The hottest chile peppers out there are the Habaneros, with a whopping 325,000 to 570,000 Scoville heat units!! Not sure if  I will even try it!


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