Stir-Fried Chicken and Vegetables with Spicy Thai Basil Sauce

This is yet another recipe from our much-loved “Best 30-Minute Recipe” cookbook.  We mention the cookbook often because we use it All. The. Time.  In addition to all of its other wonderful cooking tips and taste offerings, the book has an entire chapter called “Mix and Match Stir-Fries” with several different stir-fry recipes and sauces to cook in various combinations — genius.  As much as we enjoy ordering take-out from our favorite local Chinese restaurant, we also find it very satisfying (and probably a tad more healthy) to cook an authentic-tasting Asian meal at home.


Ingredients for this stir-fry include chicken (you could probably use leftover chicken), soy sauce, vegetable oil, mushrooms, carrots, red bell pepper, garlic and ginger.  We added bean sprouts and green onions (green parts only) because we like those ingredients in Asian cooking.  You could add whatever kinds of vegetables you like.


Thinly slice the carrots and red bell pepper.  Stir-fries typically cook pretty fast, so it’s best to prepare all your ingredients ahead of time.  That way you can just add the veggies and other ingredients to the hot oil in the skillet or wok as you go.


Slice the mushrooms.


Grate the ginger and mince the garlic.


The ingredients for the Spicy Thai Basil Sauce include basil, chicken broth, fish sauce, Asian chili sauce, brown sugar and cornstarch.  You should be able to find fish sauce and chili sauce (also known as “Sriracha”) in the Asian food section of your local grocery store.  The cookbook also has recipes for Orange-Sesame, Spicy Orange, Coconut-Curry and Sweet-and-Sour sauces, all of which would probably be good with chicken stir-fry.


Prepare the chicken by cutting off any visible fat, then cutting the chicken into strips.  We used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but you could also use chicken tenders.


Roughly chop the basil for the sauce, then begin adding the other sauce ingredients — chicken broth…


…fish sauce…


…chili sauce…


…brown sugar…


…and cornstarch.  Whisk all the ingredients together.


Heat the vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet (or wok if you are so inclined) over high heat until the oil just barely begins to smoke.


Add the chicken to the skillet.  The recipe calls for tossing the chicken with soy sauce before adding it to the oil.  But in a bold, off-recipe move, Dan added the soy to the chicken in the skillet.  He’s good about (or slightly obsessed with) getting as few dishes dirty as possible while cooking.  This pleases me.


Cook the chicken, stirring occasionally, until it is lightly browned on all sides — about 3-5 minutes.


Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.


Add more oil to the skillet and heat it on high until “shimmering.”  Not sure what the difference is between the cookbook’s references to the oil “just smoking” versus “shimmering,” but either way, the oil should be really hot.  So be careful and use those tongs when adding the ingredients to the hot oil (DAN.)


Add the mushrooms first since they need to cook the longest.


Cook the mushrooms until they are lightly browned — about 6-8 minutes.


Then add the carrots and red bell pepper and cook until these veggies are tender (but still maintain a slight crunch) — about 3-5 minutes.


Clear a space in the middle of the skillet, add the garlic and ginger and stir these ingredients around in the middle of the pan, cooking until fragrant — about 30 seconds.


Add the chicken back to the skillet.


Whisk or stir the sauce to re-combine the ingredients and add the sauce to the skillet.


Stir everything together and cook for a few more minutes until the sauce thickens.


Don’t forget to add your additional veggies if you’re using any.  The timing of adding these ingredients depends on how done you like them.  We add the bean sprouts at the very end so they retain their crunch and fresh taste.


We garnished the stir-fry with sliced green onions and served it over jasmine rice.  Although not very spicy (we could have spiced it up a little more with maybe some red pepper flakes or more chili sauce), this is a tangy and fresh stir-fry with a hint of spice.  The sauce has a nice Thai, basil-y flavor and we will likely use it again — maybe on a shrimp dish next time.

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