Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thai Basil Chicken

Hi everyone !!

I am back after quiet a long gap. We went to India for a while and was busy this whole year with our new house. I wasn't attempting any new ventures in my kitchen all this while. But now when the holiday season is coming near, I am slowly getting into the mood :) .

Now before I get into the details of this dish, I want to tell about when I had my first experience with Thai cuisine. When we were on the lookout for houses, we came across an ad on Internet and went to see a place. It was late in the evening, and was dark, and hence we couldn't see the neighbourhood very well, what we did see was this very convenient strip mall right across the neighbourhood, and a Thai restaurant in the same mall !! I had heard that Thai cuisine is similar in taste to Indian cuisine as they use coconut a lot. I wanted to have food there so badly after seeing the restaurant and I told V that I never tasted Thai before. That day, though we were not sure about the neighbourhood or the house we came to see , we both dined at the Thai restaurant and it was like getting a taste of the neighbourhood :) It was the best ! 1 month and few weeks later we signed the papers and moved into the same neighbourhood . Though the restaurant is still there, we don't always go there , as it turns out to be a bit expensive. Its a once in a while treat when friends come home. Whomever we took to the restaurant , enjoyed the food. As for me, I have a special affection for the Thai Basil Chicken Fried Rice. Even before the waiter asks for the spice level, I tell " 5 chillies or more " :) . They make it perfectly with the authentic Thai holy Basil that the owner gets from Quincy, Boston.



So when I saw the recipe posted on Suma's blog, I was thrilled. There is something else too, I got my treats from the Asian Food Grocer Tastemaker program through Foodbuzz. The Asian Food Grocer have a wonderful website with lots of interesting items used in the Asian kitchen. The ease of using it , was one thing which I liked. I had never shopped online, and I should say Asian Food Grocer became my first time and I felt a sense of accomplishment after that :D .

My V is so fond of chopsticks, that when I got the opportunity to use the gift certificate, that's what I ordered (3 pairs), along with other goodies : 2 rice bowls, 1 tea cup, 2 soup spoons, 1 box of Korean ginseng tea, 1 bottle Dashi, 1 bottle fish sauce. I have tried to capture all of them in these pictures.

I love the fish sauce, ask me why? Because it matches with the saying "You don't know what you have been missing until it arrives" and that's what I felt after I used it in Asian stir fries. I am not familiar with Dashi, I ordered it because I saw that its used in authentic soups. And I am a fan of soups. I would be glad to have someone who have used it/or know about Dashi, enlighten me about it.

After I ordered all the stuff, the total came to $31 and I used my debit card to complete the check out. I got an e-mail from them that I would be receiving it in the next 5-6 business days. I eagerly waited for my package to arrive by Fed Ex. The day it arrived, it was V who collected it and surprised me after I woke up from a short nap. The packing was neat. I especially liked the box that contained the Korean Ginseng Tea bags. Perfect for display !

The fish sauce will last a long time for me :) I never thought I would get such a generous amount :) . I recommend this website to all my readers who are interested to try some authentic Asian grocery. I thank Foodbuzz and the Asian Food Grocer for this opportunity to try something new in my kitchen.


So lets come to the dish. As I wrote above, I saw it on Suma's blog. I tried the same way she did, except use grated peel of lemon instead of Kaffir Lime leaves as I didn't have it. Suma, thanks for the wonderful recipe. I am posting it again here for my future reference :)


Ingredients:

  1. 1 lb minced chicken
  2. 4-5 basil leaves , chopped
  3. 10 garlic pods
  4. Kaffir lime leaves/ Grated Lemon peel - 2 leaves or 1/2 teaspoon peel
  5. 1 Onion
  6. 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  7. 2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
  8. Salt and Pepper to taste
  9. 2 tablespoons oil
  10. 5-6 Slit Green Chillies
  11. 2 Capsicums (Bell Pepper) cut into strip lengthwise


Method:

  1. Heat a pan with oil. Add garlic, onion, Bell Pepper and stir fry for a minute. Add a pinch of salt (not too much as fish sauce and soy sauce will compensate for the saltiness later during the preparation) . The bell pepper should remain crunchy in this dish, so don't cook it all the way through (I have not mastered this art, hence if you are a pro at it, please share that with me too :) .
  2. Add the chicken and green chillies and stir fry until chicken is cooked and turns light brown.
  3. Now add the soy sauce and fish sauce and stir well so that the entire dish is coated with the sauces. Now add some pepper and the chopped basil leaves and stir until leaves are wilted. Turn off the fire and close the dish. Serve hot with rice /noodles/roti.
Verdict : The pungent aroma of basil leaves infused with the fish sauce and the chicken makes one want to savour the dish immediately.


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