September 6, 2011

Thai basil chicken

Serving bowl of Thai basil chicken on rice.

Thai basil chicken (sometimes called Pad Kapow or Pad Krapow) is one of my go-to dishes to order when I am at a Thai restaurant. 

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I love the sauce with its sweet and spicy notes and Thai basil is one of my favorite herbs. Since we have Thai basil in our herb garden this year, I set out to recreate my restaurant favorite at home. I've made this twice now and both times I've found it to be very successful and similar in flavor to what I've eaten out. 

I read a lot of different sauce recipes and messed around with it until I found the flavor combination I was looking for. This dish is packed full of flavor and is quick and easy to make. I hope that you have the opportunity to get Thai basil where you are so that you can try it. 

I used chicken thighs and peppers in my dish because that's what I always see in the restaurant. Some recipes use ground chicken or pork, and I'm not sure what the "authentic" recipe uses.

My husband and I ate all of this the first night - no lunch leftovers. I think it should have fed at least three people though, but it was just so good (or maybe we were just really hungry that night). Serve this dish with some Jasmine or white rice.

Thai basil chicken
olive oil for cooking 
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
about 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
1 small-medium green bell pepper, seeded and cut into bite-size pieces
1 small-medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into bite-size pieces
2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce 
1-2 tablespoons granulated unbleached cane sugar
about 2 teaspoons garlic chili sauce (such as Sriracha)
about 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/2 cup Thai basil leaves, loosely packed
1/4 cup shelled peanuts, lightly toasted
2 cups cooked Jasmine rice, for serving

In a large skillet, heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until hot. Season the chicken with the black pepper and add to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Combine all of the sauce ingredients (soy sauce to vinegar) in a medium bowl. Whisk well and taste. Adjust as needed to your taste - you may want more spice or sweetness to get the balance you desire. You may want to play around with the amounts a bit.

Add the peppers to the pan. Cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes. Then add the shallots and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Pour in the sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and return the chicken to the pan. Stir often and let cook until the sauce reduces slightly.

Stir in the Thai basil leaves. Serve over rice and top each serving with some of the peanuts.

Serving Thai basil chicken.


  1. mmmm, I love Thai food. I should make it at home more often - this looks great. Do you have any Thai cookbooks?

  2. Surprisingly, I don't have any Thai cookbooks. Do you? I love Thai food, too. It is definitely one of my favorites!


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