Thai Chicken with Basil


An abundance of whole basil leaves joins chicken and fiery red chiles for a quick, delicious,and decidedly spicy stir-fry. Holy basil is the most authentic choice, but any variety will do. Plus:  More Chicken Recipes and Tips 

Thai Chicken with Basil
Bold flavors like curry and basil are what Washington residents are looking for on their chicken. They can find with our classic Thai chicken recipe. Photo: © Ben Dearnley


  • 1 1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4), cut into 1-by-2-inch pieces

  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc mam); see Note

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon water

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil

  • 1 large onion, cut into thin slices

  • 3 fresh red chiles, seeds and ribs removed, cut into thin slices, or 1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 1/2 cups lightly packed basil leaves


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken with the fish sauce, soy sauce, water, and sugar.In a large nonstick frying pan or a wok, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the chiles and garlic; cook, stirring, 30 seconds longer.

  2. Remove the chicken from the marinade with a slotted spoon and add it to the hot pan. Cook until almost done, stirring, about 3 minutes. Add the marinade and cook 30 seconds longer. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of the basil. Serve topped with the remaining 1/2 cup basil.


Available at Asian markets and many supermarkets

Suggested Pairing

Look for a rich but dry white wine, such as a Pinot Gris from the Alsace region in France.

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