Friday, June 28, 2013

The Stranger's version of Thai Spicy Chicken with Basil

Post Update:

Thank you reader L for trying out my recipe and 'liking' it! Hopefully I will have more such updates on all my recipe posts!

"Thanks! I never would have attempted this meal if not for your recipe." - L


Since my last post on self-cooked food more than a year ago, I have not stopped cooking. I just haven't had the time or energy to take pictures of the cooking process and put it in a post to share with everyone until now (and this is due to requests from a few friends).

In the past, I never wanted to cook Thai food in my own kitchen. Why? The reason is simple. Thai food, though not necessarily the most difficult to cook, usually involves a lot of different ingredients (to generate the many dimensions of flavours in every bite), and just the thought of preparing the ingredients to cook for a couple of people will motivate me sufficiently to take a short walk to any shop by the road outside to have infinitely more authentic Thai food instead.

However, after all these years, I realized the need to create my own versions of Thai food too, to capitalize on the ease of obtaining key local ingredients and to 'know' what I am actually eating, or at the very least, know that I am NOT eating mounds of MSG/chicken powder. So here's my healthier version of Thai Spicy Chicken with Basil.

The vegetarian ingredients

Before I start, I would like to clarify a that if you are thinking this is the dark spicy tasty basil chicken (aka kraprow gai) you find by the streets of Thailand, it is not. It's a version that I eat frequently in my office cooked by my colleague which tastes different but just as good.

Ingredients (serves 2-4):

  1. Boneless chicken thigh 2pcs, diced into large cubes
  2. Lots of garlic and chilli, pounded or ground into a paste (I recommend at least 5-6 chillis and as much garlic as you want)
  3. Half a carrot, shredded finely (optional)
  4. Thai round eggplant 5 pcs (as shown in the picture above), quartered
  5. A big bunch of Thai basil
  1. Juice of 1 lemon, preferably the round green Thai version, not the yellow one
  2. Thai fish sauce
  3. Dash of pepper
  4. Pinch of sugar
Cooking Procedure:
  1. With a bit of hot oil in the pan, fry the garlic and chilli paste until fragrant, or until you choke and cough
  2. Throw the shredded carrot and eggplant into the mix, they need more cooking than the chicken (not nice if the eggplant isn't soft)
  3. When the vegetables look half cooked, time to add in the chicken, then season with fish sauce
  4. Add some water (more if you like more gravy, like I do) and let it bubble away until everything is cooked
  5. Add pepper, sugar, lemon juice, and if required more fish sauce to taste
  6. Finally add in the big bunch of basil and stir around till it wilts, tadaaa, ready to serve!

Sorry if my instructions look ambiguous. I don't usually cook according to recipes, so my recipes will not be too detailed. In a nutshell, the dish should taste pretty salty, spicy enough to put you on the verge of tears, and a twinge of acidity will cut through all the heat.

My version of Thai spicy chicken with basil

Before I sign off, I just want to say that this dish is very versatile. You could use any meat or even shrimp, tweak how spicy you want it to be, or even change the vegetables (not all are suitable, but things like long beans/baby corn/bamboo shoot should work just fine). 

There are just a couple of details that you HAVE to follow to retain the soul of the dish:
  • You absolutely HAVE to make the effort to either pound the garlic and chilli in a pestle and mortar, or grind them into a paste in the blender. No two ways about it. Forget about cooking this dish if you plan to use sliced garlic/chilli.
  • To make these stir-fried dishes taste distinctly Thai, the salt agent will have to be fish sauce, and Thai basil HAS to be incorporated. Remember, Thai basil (refer to the picture), not the basil you use in your pasta sauces.
  • Thai dishes boast dimensions. The squeeze of lemon will make a lot of difference.
That's all from me, till we meet again during the next episode of "Cooking with Uncle Eddie".

1 comment:

  1. Thanks eddie...gonna try this next week and tell u how it goes! =)


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