Hello Friends! I’m hoping to make up for yet another long absence by giving you a recipe that you will love to make again and again…Chicken Stir Fry with Green Beans & Basil!
This is another winner of a recipe that my friend Nikolay made for me after an orchestra rehearsal. He and Colleen are gracious to host me occasionally which saves me from the big old boring drive and has the added benefit of getting to dine on Nikolay’s fine cooking.
Right when he started cooking this one, I knew I had to have the recipe. It has simple ingredients combined to make an incredibly tasty and easy dinner. Plus, you get to hone your Iron Chef chopping skills!
Here’s what you need:
Chicken Breasts, Thin Green Beans, Onion, Red Bell Pepper, Thai Basil, Oil, Chili Garlic Sauce*, Tamari/Soy Sauce, Oyster Sauce, Fish Sauce, Hoisin Sauce (optional), Brown Sugar, and Rice
Prepare 2 cups of rice in advance of cooking. In the past, I’ve used regular long grain white or brown rice, basmati, or jasmine. For 2 cups of rice I cook 1 cup of dry rice in 2 cups of water in my rice cooker. You can do this in advance and reheat it if you are in a hurry.
Unlike most stir fried dishes, the chicken we are using will be finely chopped, much like ground chicken but in larger chunks. This takes a few minutes to prepare but is well worth the effort as the pieces will be a better texture than buying pre-ground chicken from the store.
Plus you get to work out any aggressions from the day while chopping the chicken!
I’m using 2 chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless, that I have trimmed. Cut the chicken into cubes and make a pile in the middle of the cutting board.
Using a very sharp knife, cut across the cubed chicken in one direction.
When you get to the end, turn the board a quarter turn and cut the opposite direction back across the chicken.
If you get into a good rhythm, you can actually use 2 knives (one in each hand) and vigorously chop, chop, chop at the same time.
Continue chopping across the chicken, scooping it back up into a pile, and turning the board a quarter turn, until you have a very coarsely ground texture.
This took me about 6-8 passes across the chicken. It seems like a chore when you’re looking at photos, but it’s really quite easy. Just be careful and watch your fingers with the sharp knives.
Put the chicken aside and on a clean cutting board with a clean knife finely chop 1/2 an onion and 1/2 a red bell pepper. You want about 1/2 cup each.
For this recipe you want very thin, tender green beans. I buy the French Green Beans or Haricot Verts. Cut the beans into 1 inch lengths to equal 1 cup. I usually just use the entire package of beans since they are my favorite part of the dish.
BASIL!!! The secret to this dish is a lot of basil. I buy a big bunch of Thai Basil at the Asian Market because it has a little bit more peppery bite than Italian Basil. However, there have been a couple of times where all I could find was Italian Basil and the dish was still delicious.
You need almost 2 cups of basil leaves. Leave most of them whole but pull out about 6 leaves to chop for a garnish.
For the sauce combine 1 Tablespoon Oyster Sauce, 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce/Tamari (GF), 2 Tablespoons water, 2 teaspoons fish sauce, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, and 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce. (I’ve used the hoisin as a substitute for the black soy sauce called for in the original recipe as I could not find gluten free. It’s not the best substitute so if you don’t have it, just leave it out.)
Stir to combine and dissolve the brown sugar.
In a large wok or non-stick pan, heat 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil over high heat. Add 2 Tablespoons of chili garlic sauce to the pan and heat to release the flavor of the garlic and peppers.
The original recipe calls for chilis and garlic which you mince or grind into a paste. Since I have chili garlic sauce in my fridge at all times, I tried it instead and it makes a great, time saving substitution.
When the oil is sizzling, add the chopped chicken and work the sauce into the chicken with a spatula or wooden spoon.
Cook the chicken over medium high heat until no longer pink, breaking up any clumps as you go, for about 5 minutes.
Add the chopped onions and bell pepper and stir into the chicken. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the sauce and stir to combine…
then stir in the chopped green beans. Cook for 2-3 minutes more until the beans are tender but still very crisp.
Turn the heat OFF and add the whole basil leaves. Stir them down into the chicken and sauce until they wilt.
Taste and adjust the seasonings of salt, pepper, chili sauce, soy sauce, etc.
Serve with rice and garish with the reserved fresh basil leaves chopped or torn up on top.
This is so good that we fight for the leftovers!
After you’ve made this once, you’ll realize that all the chopping isn’t a big deal and this dish really comes together quickly and easily enough for a weeknight dinner.
It’s a definite favorite at our house now.
Here’s the recipe – Adapted from Hot Thai Kitchen & Nikolay Blagov
By the way, the cats gave me the Hot Thai Kitchen cookbook for Valentine’s Day (they’re thoughtful that way and love to order from amazon for me) so more Thai recipes are coming once my schedule clears out a bit. The book looks amazing!