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This delicious, healthy Thai dish features chicken stir fried with shallots, chilis, garlic, and lots of fresh Thai basil. Surprisingly, this scrumptious dish comes together incredibly fast – ready in just ten minutes!
Every bite of tender chicken is covered in a savoury sauce that can be as spicy or mild as you would like it. Served with a side of fragrant jasmine rice, Thai basil chicken makes a perfect, easy weekday meal.
basil vs. thai basil vs. thai holy basil
The ‘regular’ basil that we use most commonly here is Genovese basil, also known as sweet basil. This variety tastes sweet with a hint of cloves. If you can’t find Thai basil or Thai holy basil, sweet basil is the best substitute and this recipe will still taste great.
Thai basil tastes similar to sweet basil, but with the addition of an anise- or liquorice-like flavour. It also holds up better in high temperatures, making it a great addition to stir fries. This is the variety that I used for this recipe.
Thai holy basil is the variety used in the most authentic version of Thai basil chicken. The flavour is peppery with a hint of cloves. However, it can be fairly difficult to find. You may have some luck if you happen to have a local Thai grocer.
how to make Thai Basil Chicken
Thai basil chicken is a stir fried dish that cooks incredibly quickly. Once you’ve begun cooking, you won’t have time to measure out sauce ingredients or do the chopping. So I recommend doing these preparations ahead of time.
To make the Thai basil chicken sauce, whisk together chicken broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and brown sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Now set it aside until you need it later.
Prepare the chicken by cutting it into large bite-size pieces.
Thinly slice a shallot and mince two cloves of garlic. You can use as many Thai chilis as you want, depending on how spicy you like it. I used two chilis and it had a nice, spicy kick. One chili would be mild-medium, and one chili with the seeds removed would be mild. Or you could omit the chili if you don’t want spice at all. Don’t forget, chilis can vary greatly in spiciness, so this is just a rough guide.
the stir fry
Heat vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Sauté the chicken pieces until they lose the raw pink colour, about two to three minutes.
Stir in the shallot, chilis, and garlic, and stir fry until the shallots begin to caramelize, about two to three minutes.
Pour in the prepared sauce, and continue stir frying until most of the liquid has been cooked off, about a minute or two. You want it to be a bit saucy but not too saucy.
Remove the pan from the heat. Add in the Thai basil leaves and fold them into the chicken stir fry. They will cook from the heat from the chicken.
Serve Thai basil chicken with a side of jasmine rice and garnish with a sprig of basil.
The savoury sauce just clings to the tender, succulent chicken pieces. Time to dig in and enjoy!
Interested in trying another amazing Thai dish? Check out my Thai crying tiger steak recipe. Believe me, it’s sooooo good.Print
A delicious, healthy stir fry featuring tender chicken and fresh Thai basil. Ready in just 10 minutes, it makes a perfect weeknight dinner.
1/2 lb (227 g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs *
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1–2 Thai chilis, to taste
2 cloves garlic
1 cup (20 g) Thai basil leaves **
1/4 cup (60 ml) chicken broth
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
Whisk together all sauce ingredients in a bowl until sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
Cut chicken into large bite-sized pieces.
Finely slice the shallot and Thai chilis. You can omit the chili if you don’t like heat, or remove the seeds to make it less spicy. Mince the garlic cloves.
Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add chicken and stir fry until the outside loses its raw pink colour, about 2-3 minutes.
Add the shallot, chili, and garlic. Stir fry about 2-3 minutes, until the shallot begins to caramelize but not burn.
Pour in the sauce and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes, until much of the sauce has evaporated and the remainder mostly clings to the meat. You want it to still be a bit saucy, but not too saucy. Remove the pan from the heat.
Fold the Thai basil leaves into the stir fry. The heat from the chicken will be enough to wilt and cook the leaves.
Serve immediately with a side of jasmine rice.
* Boneless, skinless chicken breast meat works great as well.
** If you can’t get Thai basil or Thai holy basil, you can use regular basil (sweet basil) as a substitute.
Keywords: Thai basil chicken