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Thai Food Made Simple

December 13, 2008 | Fish & Seafood

My students tell me they love Thai food, but are intimidated how to cook it. By using a few simple ingredients – coconut milk, chilies, Thai basil, fish sauce – you can easily create Thai food quickly for a weeknight meal. You can make the same curry dish using shrimp, just don’t overcook them in the sauce.

Thai Basil Chicken with Green Curry
Serves 4

Thai basil leaves are smaller and darker, but roughly chopped regular green basil may be substituted.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken stock
1 can coconut milk
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon green curry paste, or more to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup Thai basil leaves
2 hot red chilies, seeded and thinly sliced for garnish

Heat oil in a wok or large sauté pan over medium high heat and stir fry the onion and pepper until slightly soft. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Season chicken with salt and pepper, then add to pan and cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally and adding some oil if needed, until chicken is lightly browned.

Deglaze the pan with wine, then add coconut milk, fish sauce, brown sugar, green curry paste, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, uncovered, until sauce thickens slightly and chicken is completely cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the Thai basil leaves, then spoon into a serving bowl. Garnish with red chilies if desired and serve with jasmine rice.

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