This 15-minute Thai Basil Chicken stir-fry recipe is made with fragrant basil, tender chicken breast, and red bell peppers.
I love Thai food because it captures and balances all the flavor elements. Common flavors in Thai food come fresh (rather than dried) herbs and spices like garlic, galangal, coriander/cilantro, lemon grass, shallots, pepper, kaffir lime leaves, shrimp paste, fish sauce, and chilies. Thai food is also all about community, which I can relate to because that’s how I grew up eating in my family. Food tastes better with family and friends around your table, am I right?
Stir fry is super popular, and with good reason. It’s quick, tasty, and this cooking method doesn’t deplete nutrients in the vegetables. The reason why stir fry is so fast is two-fold. First, the food is cut into small pieces. Second, the wok is shaped in a way that the heat concentrates in the middle. This method also uses much less oil, which is healthier.
And any healthy dinner that is done in 15 minutes is a win in my book! With two growing boys and busy evenings, I don’t have the time these days to cook long meals on weeknights. Szechuan Beef Lettuce Wraps, Mediterranean Shrimp, and 5 Minute Wonton Soup are also on rotation in my house because they’re easy and flavorful just like this stir fry.
So, let’s get down to it. Thai Basil Chicken gets it’s name from the type of basil that is used. It’s pretty difficult to find Thai holy basil, which is the traditional type, so most home kitchens and restaurants use Thai basil. If you’re unable to find it, however, Italian basil will do.
How to Make Thai Basil Chicken:
Let’s get to my favorite part! You’ll be shocked at how fast cooking stir fry can be. Once you’ve prepped and chopped your vegetables and chicken, heat the oil in your wok and add aromatics, being careful not to overcook.
Next, add the chicken to the wok and fry, stirring frequently. Remove when they’re a nice golden brown color.
Now, you’ll add peppers and onions to the wok and stir frequently. You should not need to add more oil.
Finally, return all the ingredients to the wok and cook for another few minutes until the flavors meld, adding the Thai basil in at the end.
I like to serve Thai Basil Chicken over Jasmine rice and with a side of Spicy Asian Coleslaw.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What are the benefits of stir frying?
There are many! It’s quick – done in 15 minutes! It’s also a very versatile cooking method – change out your proteins and veggies to your heart’s content.
Is stir fry healthy?
Yes! This cooking method, that originated in China, uses much less oil and therefore has less fat content. The fast frying method also does not deplete nutrients from the vegetables like boiling does.
What if I don’t have a wok?
That’s okay – a large frying pan will do the trick!
What is the difference between Jasmine rice and regular white rice?
Jasmine rice has a long-grain, grows primarily in Thailand, and has a fluffy and slightly sticky texture when cooked. White rice can have varying grain lengths, and Jasmine rice tends to have a slightly sweeter flavor.
Your chopsticks are waiting.
Thai Basil Chicken
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil (or oil of choice)
- 2 tablespoons ginger (minced)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 teaspoons sambal oelek chili paste (optional)
- 20 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into one-inch pieces)
- 1 medium onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 red bell pepper (cored and thinly sliced)
- ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- ½ cup basil (thinly sliced)
- Jasmine rice (optional, to serve)
- Heat oil in a large wok or deep skillet over high heat. Add ginger, garlic and chili paste and heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper to taste then add to the pan. Stir-fry until chicken is golden brown, about 7-9 minutes stirring frequently. Remove from pan; set aside.
- Add peppers and onions to the pan along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir-fry, stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Return chicken to the pan and add soy sauce, lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar. Cook for 2-3 minutes further. Stir in basil right before before serving over Jasmine rice.