Peanut Butter and Purple Onions

Sounds crazy until you try it.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Quick + Basil + Chiles = Happy BNA

Most people look forward to spring with fervent anticipation. Me, I have nothing against the season, but since I'm biased against its successor, I tend to not get all that excited.

But I do share the growing impatience with rich hearty dishes, with stews and braises and the like. Time for something bouncier. Zestier. Basil-ier. (Ok, so it's a little early for basil, but still.)

Here's a quick recipe that combines all of those traits into one sprightly springtime dish. The photo's a little insipid, but the chicken is not -- this is powerful stuff. Bring on the warm weather!

Chicken with Fresh Basil
Adapted from Nancie McDermott's Quick & Easy Thai

Serves 3-4.

3 T. vegetable or olive oil
1-2 T. coarsely chopped garlic
0.5 c. finely chopped onion (I used red)
0.75 lb. chicken, cut into small pieces
2 T. fish sauce
1 T. reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 T. water
2 tsp. sugar
2-3 T. coarsely chopped hot green chiles, such as jalapenos, serranos, or Thai chiles
1 c. Thai or Italian basil

Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring frequently, for a few minutes. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Cook until the chicken's browned, being careful not to burn the garlic.

Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, water, and sugar, and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring well, until a thin, smooth sauce forms. Toss in the chiles and basil and stir until the basil wilts. Remove from heat and serve.

* I used serrano chiles, and the dish was mighty hot. Careful when you're adding them to the skillet -- don't breathe too deep.
* We served this over white rice, but next time I would make brown rice for more heft and crunch.
* I was able to find Thai basil, which has a fantastic bright flavor, but I'm sure regular Italian basil would work well.


  • At 8:24 AM, Blogger Kalyn said…

    LOve the sound of this.

  • At 1:29 PM, Blogger Devorit said…

    I made it again the other night, and it was just as good . . . I used jalepenos this time, so it wasn't /quite/ as spicy, but it was still outstanding. It also reheats very well.

    I can't wait to cook it with the jalepanos I'm hoping to grow!


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