Holy cow its December! Its hard to believe that 2014 is coming to an end already and Santa will be here soon! Its especially hard to believe its almost Christmas when Kevin and I spent the day touring around in our rental car visiting a few beaches up the coast of Curacao in 35 degree heat! The beaches here are small but so beautiful. We still have 1 more full day of smoking hot weather, white sand, and crystal clear blue water. Im looking forward to sharing some pictures with you all…
I cant even tell you how much I love Thai food. The sour, sweet, salty, and spicy combination of flavors is like a little flavor dance in your mouth and I can never get enough of it. When I traveled to Thailand in 2010, I jumped at the chance to take a cooking class in Bangkok. There are actually a lot of cooking classes in Thailand all over the place. Next time I go back, I will be taking a lot more. One dish I learned was Red Curry Chicken, including how to make your own red curry paste. Yum! I didnt learn to make this stirfry dish in my cooking class, but I sampled something like it at a few restaurants.
I do like to order Thai take out sometimes, but when you can make dishes like this at home that taste authentic, are quick to make, and are more healthy than why get take out? You can add more veggies, limit the sugar and salt and also adjust the spice how you like it. I also like my veggies to be crunchy and I find that take out veggies are always overcooked.
This stirfry is packed full of veggies and lean chicken. The sauce is salty from the soy sauce, sour and salty from the fish sauce, sweet from the palm sugar and spicy from the garlic chili paste and any chili’s you choose to add. I like to add some water to my sauce so it makes more, without adding more of each ingredient. I like just enough sauce to cover all the chicken, veggies and rice (that you will want to serve this with), but not leave them swimming in sauce. I find the sauce too strong when I dont add the water and I just make more of it.
You can find garlic chili paste in almost any grocery store in the Asian section. Dont skip this ingredient in the dish. It makes a huge difference in the flavor and it also adds a bit of heat. If you only like mild heat to your stirfry, dont be afraid to add it, its not very spicy. If you like a lot of heat, add a chopped up chili or two as well. You can also usually find palm sugar or coconut sugar these days in your grocery store. If for some reason you cant, use some brown sugar instead. Maybe a little less than this recipe calls for.
When I started looking for a recipe for a Thai Chicken stirfry that tasted like one I had in Thailand, I came across an awesome blog called “The Wanderlust Kitchen“. The author of this blog, Anetta, has a recipe for Thai Chicken with Cashews that she says is her very very favorite dish. I know why. I followed a lot of her recipe for the sauce of this dish, but I changed a few things in the sauce and also in the rest of the dish to suit my tastes.
I have made this dish for a number of people. For my family many times, my friends Mike, Liane, and their 2 year old cute-as-a-button-daughter, Brooklynn, and I have made it for Debbie who took some home to Mark and Sam. Everyone has loved it, including Brooklynn, but when Liane and I made this together, we didnt put any extra chili’s. We only used some garlic chili paste so it wasnt too spicy for the little one. Debbie is the only one who wasnt a huge huge fan, but shes not big on spicy food. I think I have mentioned before that she is a bit of a baby in the spice department ;). But she is actually getting better and starting to enjoy spicy food more. Ill have her converted yet…
The marinade for the chicken might be a little unfamiliar to you, and you dont have to try it in order to make this dish, but it makes the chicken so tender. I dont always use it, but I always notice the difference when I do.
Thai Chicken Stirfry with Basil and Cashews
- MARINADE FOR THE CHICKEN
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp rice vinegar or rice wine
- 2 chicken breastFOR THE SAUCE
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 tbsp palm sugar to taste (you want a little sweetness to the sauce)
- 4 tbsp water
- 1 tsp rice vinegarFOR THE STIRFRY
- 2 chicken breast , chopped in bite sized pieces and marinated (marinade optional)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 - 2 tbsp garlic chili paste
- 1/2 onion , chopped
- 1 - 2 finger length red Thai chilis with seeds removed and diced (optional)
- 2 peppers , chopped
- 2 carrots , sliced
- 1 cup broccoli , cut into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 cup cashews
- Bunch of basil (dont chop it)
- 1 green onion for garnish
- cooked rice to serve it with
- Chop up the chicken and marinate it in the cornstarch and rice wine for 15 mins. Then remove from the marinade and rinse quickly. Dry it off on paper towel.
- Heat the coconut oil in a large pan on medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the chicken. Stirfry the chicken till its cooked through and remove from the pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, throw in the onion, carrots and chilis if you are going to use them. Stirfry for about 5 mins till the carrots start to get a little soft.
- Add the garlic chili paste and stir.
- When the carrots are tender, add the broccoli, peppers, chicken and the sauce to the pan. Stirfry for a min or so only. Dont let the broccoli get mushy.
- Add the basil right before you are going to serve it. Add the leaves whole.
- Spoon the veggies, chicken and sauce over a plate of rice. Sprinkle some of the cashews on each plate.