This recipe for Chicken and Basil Stir-Fry is quite possibly my favorite chicken recipe ever! It is so quick and simple to make and the flavors come together so beautifully.
I’m a huge fan of basil. It adds such a wonderful light and summery flavor to lots of dishes. Caprese salad is one of my favorite uses for basil and my favorite Thai restaurant has Basil Fried Rice which is amazing! At my old house, we had extremely hearty basil! The original plant went to seed and the seeds spread throughout my yard. The lawn had various crops of basil (which made mowing it a teeny bit more pleasant thanks to the lovely fragrance) and one plant had a trunk. Yes, it was such a large and healthy plant that it had an actual trunk with tons of basil growing from it! I really miss that. We’re just coming out of winter here and I have no herb garden at the moment. I had to buy basil from the supermarket for this recipe and it was disappointing. I mean, the chicken was still perfect, but within a day of buying the basil, the leaves were wilted, even after putting it in water. Sad. Bottom line, I suppose, is grow your own basil. We will be doing that again soon for sure!
Anyway, for this recipe, I cut up a pound of boneless skinless chicken thighs into 1-inch cubes, then combined them with soy sauce and cornstarch in a small bowl. After heating oil in a wok, I stir fried the chicken with garlic until cooked through, then added in chili powder and hoisin sauce. You can also add a chopped up fresh red chili pepper which we’ve done in the past and it’s delicious but to make this more kid friendly I omitted it this time around (and my son still burnt his tongue on the rice. Oops).
Finally, after everything was cooked, I removed the wok from the burner and stirred in thinly sliced fresh basil.
I don’t know what it is about this recipe but the flavors meld together so well. You wouldn’t think it initially, but the basil adds the perfect touch at the end of the cooking process and is really key to bringing all the flavors together. And without the chili pepper it really was kid friendly. After my son recovered from the hot rice incident, he shoveled these little chicken chunks into his mouth with glee! So my food critics were happy and I was too! No leftovers here! Enjoy this quick, simple, and surprisingly flavorful dinner tonight!
Chicken and Basil Stir Fry (adapted from Step-by-Step Asian Cookbook)
Yield: serves 3-4
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes or thin strips
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 fresh red chili, seeded and minced (optional)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
small bunch of basil leaves, thinly sliced
steamed rice, for serving
1. Cut the meat into 1-inch cubes. Place them in a bowl with soy sauce and cornstarch and stir to combine.
2. Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Stir fry the chicken, garlic, and chili pepper if using for 8-10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
3. Add the chili powder and hoisin and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the sliced basil. Serve over rice.