Thai Chicken and Basil

This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil), Spanish

By Alicia Ghio

Every year, if nothing else, I grow a variety of herbs on my patio: Italian basil, parsley, oregano and cilantro. This year, I decided to add something a little different to the mix – Thai basil.

Thai basil has a slight licorice-like flavor and is a little bit spicy. It’s used widely in Southeast Asian cuisine. The reason I decided to grow it was so I could make this recipe for Thai chicken and basil. It is one of my favorite dishes to get at the local Thai restaurant and I have always wanted to make it myself.

The taste is spicy, sweet and savory. The two key flavor components come from the Thai basil and the fish sauce. Fish sauce is readily available at most supermarkets in the International aisle. Thai basil is a little harder to find and you can always substitute in traditional basil. The flavor will not be as strong, but it will still work in the recipe.

Thai Chicken and Basil

Serves 4 (with a side of rice)


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 small fresh Serrano chilies, minced
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 2 cups Thai basil leaves, washed and dried
  • Juice of 1 lime


  1. Cut chicken into thin slices. Then, cut into two-inch pieces.
  2. Place in a large bowl with the water, fish sauce, soy sauce and black pepper. Let marinate for about 20 minutes.
  3. Heat a wok or heavy skillet over high heat.
  4. Add the coconut oil and heat until hot.
  5. Add the onion and stir-fry until translucent. Add the garlic and Serrano chilies; stir-fry until the garlic pieces are lightly golden.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, add the chicken to the wok, saving the marinade. Cook the chicken pieces about 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent sticking, until the chicken is opaque.
  7. Add the marinade to the wok and stir-fry until combined. Add the basil and stir-fry 30 seconds until wilted.
  8. Stir in lime juice.
  9. Serve immediately with a side of rice.


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