Thursday, July 22, 2010

If Yan can, Yes I can! & Thai Basil Chicken

Several weeks back in my Growing Things Post I talked about looking for recipes that featured Thai Basil, one of the herbs I'm growing this year in my "pot garden". I mentioned stumbling across a Martin Yan recipe I found on Jaden Hair's great blog entitled Steamy Kitchen.Well, the day has arrived! After more than a month of eagerly anticipating, (both fellow blogger Jhonny Walker and I were looking forward to this one), I gathered all the ingredients I needed and got cooking. As this dish was mostly about prep, the cook time went by fairly quickly.

Normally, I find it difficult cooking, adapting, re-wording recipes, editing and ultimately posting something on my blog the same day I've made it, but this garnered an exception. This dish, not only as it was delicious, but also for changing my mind about something that, hitherto, remained elusive and altogether intimidating, Asian cooking. Which I now understand is all about flavor. A lot of flavors, that balance and compliment each other, coming together to form a confluence of delicious.

First, Chicken Boston
Followed By, Caribbean Chicken Salad

Without further ado, I present:

Thai Basil Chicken with Broccoli and Cashews

serves 4


2 tablespoons lager-style beer, like Tsingtao
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper (or black pepper)
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced 1/4-inch crosswise or cut into 1/2-inch cubes (Or Tofu)


1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth (low-sodium)
1 tablespoon lager-style beer, like Tsingtao
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce (or add an additional 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce)
1/4 teaspoon sugar


2 tablespoons vegetable, canola or peanut oil
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
4 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces OR 1 bunch of broccoli, stems removed and cut small
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, sliced
1 ear fresh corn on the cob, husked or 1/2 cup frozen corn
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in 2 teaspoons water
1 fresh jalapeno chili, thinly sliced into rings (optional)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 cup lightly packed Thai basil or sweet basil leaves.
1/2 cup roasted cashews (Roast cashews in 350 degree oven until lightly browned and cool)


1. In medium bowl or ziploc-type bag, add the liquid marinade ingredients. Add chicken to same bowl or bag, coat by stirring or closing bag securely and gently massaging chicken until coated. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.

2. In small bowl, add ingredients for sauce and set aside.

3. Heat large wok or saute over medium-high heat until hot. To pan, add oil and carefully turn pan to coat sides with oil. To oil pan, add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook just until fragrant, approximately 10 seconds. Add marinated chicken and asparagus OR broccoli, red bell pepper, and corn. Stir continuously until chicken has cooked through (is no longer pink), approximately 2 minutes. To pan, add scallions and the sauce you prepared and allow to come to a boil. Add in cornstarch and continue to cook and stir while sauce thickens, approximately 1 minute.

Move pan to cool burner on stovetop and stir in sliced jalapeno, basil and roasted cashews.

4. Serve and Enjoy!


  1. This is loaded with great flavors for sure! I've never heard of Thai basil and must check it out. Great recipe and those cashew make it really great!

  2. Hitherto is my new favorite word! Hitherto I will say...YUM! I love stir-fry's when they contain cashews (weird?)...and broccoli...and chicken and other delicious things like homegrown basil. Wish I could snag a plate for breakfast ;)

  3. Pam, I also hadn't heard of Thai Basil until my grandmother brought some home for me to plant. The flavor almost has an anise quality. It's wonderful in sauces, soups, stews and meats, like poultry.
    It's really delicious and grows like a weed. I do hope you get the chance to try it.

    Heather, AHAHA. I think I learned that word 10 or 11 years ago in "Great Expectations" or "The Picture of Dorian Gray" It was one of the classics, anyway. And I said to myself, this word so needs to be in circulation again. I use it a lot. (LOL)

    Hitherto, I've only had store-bought Reese's peanut butter cups, but I will trade you a large bowl of Thai Basil Chicken (served over fried rice if you like) for 5 of Heather's Peanut Butter Cups. =)

  4. looking gooood, looking REAL good. i love cashews in meals like this. glad you made and posted on the same day to bring this to us sooner!

    thanks for your comments on my "change" post! i am a huge fan of royal pains but didn't catch last nights episode. that quote is pretty perfect if you ask me :)

  5. This looks like a fantastic dish with bold flavors and local ingredients! Love it!

  6. Hey terriane,

    Thanks for knocking when it mattered. I will have to make this. And this saturday. I can only think of this and get hungry over again ( I just finished a rather small lunch , so I guess its not that bad to go hungry imedietly after).

    You know boston is not that bad. I mean there are hot days. But not too bad. Especially harvard square is just so pretty. I had a tough time going to th elab when it was sunny. I used to get stuck in the square :)

    And I cannot agree with you more. Chinese food-- infact any asian food-- is so much about marrying flavors. You really don't need a recipe. Once the sauce flavors are fiured out, its pertty easy to get something yummy fast. Delightful recipe

  7. For me the nuts on Asian food is like the Parmesan on Italian food or like the icing on the cake! It's that little something extra to finish it off that sets it apart. I bet this was fantastic with your home-grown basil and those lovely fresh veggies. And I read your post below - hope all your bumps and bruises are better! And 10 limes for 1$ - I'm so envious - just bought 4 for 1.99 - I got ripped! Maybe some nice refreshing limeade or lime sorbet is in order?

  8. Oooh what a great recipe - that looks amazing!

  9. I think I've only had thai basil out to eat at fancy restaurants. I thought it was this unattainable spice. yep - I'm pretty sure I had thai basil ice cream the other night. it was to die for, so I'm sure your chicken was as well. And I love cashews. great dish, Ree!

  10. I love thai basil and the flavor is too good. Your dish is soo inviting and looks soo delicious.


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