Thai food is one of the most popular international cuisines in America. Almost any city, large or small, has at least one Thai restaurant. Thai Basil, lemongrass and curry paste no longer require going on expeditions to get them. Even in cities without Chinatown’s, these ingredients are easily available at gourmet supermarkets, if its not in the international aisle at your local market. Making this Thai Basil Chicken now takes little effort in getting the ingredients. This was not always the case.
I discovered Thai food in the late 90’s when in the blink of an eye, there were suddenly Thai restaurants everywhere. In a city as big and diverse as New York City, food trends happen quickly and take over. New Yorkers embraced the explosion of Thai flavors on the palate and it hasn’t stopped. Thai food has now made its away into standard American fare. Bar menu’s now often include choices like Satay, Spring Rolls, Pad Thai, Green Papaya Salad and Thai Chicken Wings. We even have fast food Thai restaurants now…just like Chinese take out…except it’s Thai food.
Thai Basil Chicken was the first dish I had when I first started experimenting with Thai cuisine. This simple stir fry is packed with so much flavor, I became an instant fan of Thai food even before I started eating Thai curries and some of their more intense dishes. This version adapted from Green Mangoes & Lemongrass is so quick and easy, you can enjoy this standard Thai dish for dinner within a 1/2 hour.
If you’ve never had Thai food before, do not substitute Italian basil for Thai basil. They have two totally different flavors. Thai basil has an anise like flavor and bares no flavor resemblance to sweet Italian basil.
IN THE MAKING PHOTOS:
If you’d like to experiment with some other Thai dishes:
- Peranakan Pancakes with Banana Sauce
- Thai Seafood Green Curry
- Khao Soi – Thai Chicken Noodle Soup
- Butterfly Pea Flower Sticky Rice & Mango
This recipe is for this week’s Cookbook Cooking Challenge