Basil Chicken (Gai Pad Krapow)

I have been to Bangkok, Thailand a couple of times before.  In fact, my first overseas travel when I was still living in the Philippines was to Thailand. I clearly remember my amazement soon as I boarded a taxi from the airport to my hotel –the driver’s side was on the right!  The “in” thing at that time was to wear gold chain necklaces and so I made sure I shopped at the Thai jewelry stores for a couple of necklaces to take back home. But what was most memorable for me was exploring Bangkok’s food market. It has been said that some of Bangkok’s best-kept secrets are found in the local markets.  Within these markets abound food stalls and street vendors serving Thai curries, noodles and other local staples.

I have two favorite Thai dishes – Mee Krob or crispy noodles, and basil chicken.

Basil chicken is a popular menu item in most, if not all Thai restaurants.  It is quite easy to prepare a home-cooked version of this dish and this recipe hopes to uncover one of those best-kept secrets!

INGREDIENTS

1 lb ground chicken breast

5 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed and chopped

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp brown sugar

32 grams of Thai basil leaves, stems removed and discarded

1-2 jalapeno peppers, depending on desired spiciness, and cut into tiny pieces

Freshly-ground pepper to taste

2 tbsp Olive oil

1/3 cup of thinly-sliced red bell pepper for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Heat Olive oil in a medium wok

Add garlic and cook until golden brown

Add shallots and stir fry for about 1 minute

Add ground chicken and stir- fry until the pink color disappears. (The chicken will form clumps)

Add the jalapeno peppers, sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce and continue to stir- fry

Add the basil leaves and cook until the leaves start to wilt

Add ground pepper to taste

Remove from heat , place on a bowl and garnish with the red bell pepper

Serve with steamed white or brown rice

(Makes 4-6 servings)

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