Thai-Style Basil Chicken with Rice Noodles

Did I mention I won boneless chicken a few weeks ago from Sarah of Food, Words & Photos, courtesy of KOL foods? 

Not the Far Side  kind, Silly-Billy!  Three large packages of skinless, boneless chicken!

Despite the heat wave we had that week, a prize package appeared on my doorstep extremely frozen and in perfect condition (protected by a reusable Styrofoam cooler). I picked up the first package labeled "Boneless Breast Fillet" and put it in the freezer. I picked up the second package labeled "Boneless Breast Fillet" and put it in the freezer. I didn't read the third and just tossed it into the fridge meat drawer to defrost.

 NOT Thai Basil Chicken

A couple days later, I made my ever-popular Chicken Marsala for dinner, a little disappointed that the breasts looked as if I did the deboning, but the flavor more than made up for it.  TheHubby, on the other hand, ate his serving, complaining between bites that he doesn't like dark meat.

No, all three packages were white meat, I said.

No, this is dark meat, theHubby responded.

Oopsies.  I had forgotten until that very moment that the prize package was supposed to be 2 packages of white meat and 1 of dark.  Also explains why dinner looked like it did ... dark meat doesn't neatly come off the bone. 

Fast forward to the end of last week, when I defrosted gen-u-ine breast fillet.  Which exactly what professionally boneless chicken breasts should look like.  They were larger and filleted even better than those I purchase locally, with very little fat to remove as well.

Decided to make something a little more different this time ... Thai Basil Chicken.  Unlike many recipes that use a few basil leaves for a little flavor, this one puts basil front and center.   Thai basil has purple stems, and the leaves have a slightly stronger hint of anise flavor.  If you don't have an Oriental grocer nearby, you can use Italian basil instead, just as I did (I don't care much for anise).

Sambal Oelek is ground up chili paste.  It packs a lot of flavor in those 2 teaspoonfuls, but also packs a bit of a wallop, so if you are the type who thinks ketchup is spicy, use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon instead.  Or sub with a 1/4 teaspoon of pepper (coarsely ground preferred).

The chicken was delicious, tender and juicy.  And, as opposed to the marsala, this time theHubby had seconds.  He said the chicken was nice (translation:  WOW!  This chicken is a keeper!).

Thank you, Sarah, and KOL Foods!

A copy of this recipe, along with a slightly different rant commentary, is available at Food, Words & Photos.

Thai-Style Basil Chicken with Rice Noodles
Yield: 6 servings

2 Tbl. vegetable oil
1 tsp. chopped garlic (bottled okay)
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch or so pieces
1 Tbl. soy sauce (regular or low sodium)
1/2 cup sherry (or chicken broth)
2 tsp. powdered ginger
2 tsp. Sambal Oelek (chili paste)
1 loosely packed cup basil leaves (Thai or Italian), coarsely chopped
juice from 1 lime (about 2 Tbl.)
coarsely chopped salted peanuts, for garnish (optional)

Start up a 3 or 4 quart saucepan with water and bring to a boil.

Almost done = proceed to next step

Meanwhile, heat large skillet over medium heat.  When hot, add oil, wait 10 seconds, then add garlic.  stir continuously for 30 seconds, then add chicken.  Let sear for a minute or two, then stir until chicken is mostly cooked on the outside, with little spots of pink remaining. 

Stir in soy sauce, sherry (or broth), ginger and Sambal Oelek.  Reduce heat and let simmer a few minutes until chicken is completely cooked through (no pink if pierced).

Three minutes is all it takes ... do not overcook!

The water should be boiling by now.  Add rice noodles and let boil for 3 minutes.  Drain well, then add to chicken.   Stir sauce up from the bottom to distribute evenly over noodles.  Taste and add more soy sauce and/or spices if necessary.

Stir in basil leaves just until they start to wilt, which will happen quickly.  Divide chicken and noodles among 6 dinner plates or pasta bowls.  Squeeze lime juice over each serving and garnish with salted peanuts, if desired, before serving.


Abbe Odenwalder said…
Love Thai Basil chicken!

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