I’m working on my spice tolerance and this is one of those dishes that helps me with it. If I make it too spicy, I’ll chug a beer down with it, but that won’t stop me from continuing to eat it. It’s that good.
This recipe comes from Cook’s Illustrated. They say that they’ve kept this version relatively mild, but I find it too spicy to use all the chiles. I should also mention that I find some types of gum too spicy to handle so take that into consideration when making this dish.
2 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
3 medium garlic cloves, peeled
6 green or red Thai chiles , stemmed
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast , cut into 2-inch pieces
3 medium shallots, peeled and thinly sliced (about 3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1. Process 1 cup basil leaves, garlic, and chiles in food processor until finely chopped, 6 to 10 one-second pulses, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula once during processing. Transfer 1 tablespoon basil mixture to small bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon fish sauce, oyster sauce, vinegar, and sugar; set aside. Transfer remaining basil mixture to 12-inch heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet. Do not wash food processor bowl.
2. Pulse chicken and 1 tablespoon fish sauce in food processor until meat is chopped into -approximate 1/4-inch pieces, six to eight 1-second pulses. Transfer to medium bowl and refrigerate 15 minutes.
3. Stir shallots and oil into basil mixture in skillet. Heat over medium-low heat (mixture should start to sizzle after about 11/2 minutes; if it doesn’t, adjust heat accordingly), stirring constantly, until garlic and shallots are golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes.
4. Add chicken, increase heat to medium, and cook, stirring and breaking up chicken with potato masher or rubber spatula, until only traces of pink remain, 2 to 4 minutes. Add reserved basil-fish sauce mixture and continue to cook, stirring constantly until chicken is no longer pink, about 1 minute. Stir in remaining cup basil leaves and cook, stirring constantly, until basil is wilted, 30 to 60 seconds.by