Thai basil, or Holy Basil, is the most deliciously aromatic herb I have ever come across. Often served pungent and raw with Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, it is capable of making my car smell amazing for hours after transportation. I always buy this fresh on the day I’m cooking with it and choose it by smell – the Vietnamese grocer I buy it from sells many herbs, all packaged in opaque plastic and mixed up together so I’m grateful that this basil is so easy for my nose to spot with its notes of aniseed and licorice.
I’ve been looking for ages for a recipe that truly replicates the delicious gai pad graprow dish common in Australian Thai restaurants and this is it. It’s from chef Chanrat Karantna and I could eat at least the two servings that it makes all on my own. ‘Nuff said.
3 tablespoons peanut oil
3 large cloves garlic
1 long red chilli, seeded if you want to be cautious about the heat
200gm chicken breast, sliced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup Holy Basil leaves
rice or noodles, to serve
cashews or peanuts, to garnish
Mix together the sugar and sauces in a small bowl and set aside. Mince or finely chop the garlic and chilli together – use a mini food processeor if you have one or finish with a mortar and pestle.
Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat; add the garlic and chilli mix and stir fry for 15 seconds. Turn the heat up to high and add the chicken; stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the sauce mix and stir thoroughly; add the basil leaves and stir through again until they are just starting to wilt.
Serve on rice or noodles, garnished with nuts.