Basil chicken (Gai Pad Krapow) is one of my favorite things to order at Thai restaurants. It’s surprisingly easy to make at home, and is something that I like to do during the summer when I need to harvest the basil plants. I like to use both sweet basil and Thai basil in this dish, and they both taste fantastic. This recipe is adapted from Bee at Rasa Malaysia. Here’s how you start:
Thai Basil Chicken
10-12 oz. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, chopped finely
2 shallots, finely chopped (if these are difficult to get for you, a small amount of red onion/garlic finely minced tastes fine)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kecap manis (this is also known as “thick soy sauce” or “sweet soy sauce”)*
1/2 cup or 1 big bunch basil leaves
2 tablespoons oil
*How to make sweet soy sauce if you don’t have any–take 1/3 c. regular soy sauce, add 1 tablespoon sugar, and bring to a boil in a sauce pan. Turn down heat and cook on medium low heat until it coats the back of a spoon (basically a syrup). Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.
1. Chop or grind the chicken breasts into very small pieces (this recipe is often made with ground meat). Be sure to also chop the jalapeno and shallot.
2. Heat the oil in a pan, then add the jalapeno, shallot, and garlic. Saute until fragrant, then add the chicken.
3. Mix sweet soy sauce with fish sauce and sugar, then pour over the chicken and mix well, heating it through.
4. Add in the basil leaves, stirring them a few times to wilt slightly.
There are two ways to serve basil chicken, and both of them are good. Justin likes to opt for basil chicken with some steamed jasmine rice, like this:
I like to eat it in a lettuce wrap with a little kecap manis and (slightly less) Sriracha, like so: