After a rather successful second run of a green pesto, I was left with ¾ bunch of basil. To save it from the bin, I searched online and found two simple Thai basil chicken recipes from Taste.com.au and SBS TV. Everything was dandy. I made a mental note to try one of the recipes the next day, feeling quite pleased that the basil would not be wasted.
And then life happened. A day or two went by before I remembered to cook the Thai basil chicken. The leftover basil, however, did not survive that few days. I left it on the kitchen bench, unrefrigerated, as per the storage suggestion on the pack. But, alas, it was not to last that long. The basil leaves were wilted, slimy and pretty much unusable.
Determined to cook something that had some semblance to a Thai chicken stir-fry and to not waste another thing, I tried to use what I had in the pantry and fridge. The “Thai basil chicken that was not to be” (TBCTWNTB) was thus born. Thai sweet chilli sauce replaced fresh chillies. The dried sweet paprika that I bought for making Hungarian goulash came in handy to redden the dish. Green beans and carrot provided some contrasting colours to the dish. While not exactly a Michelin-worthy looking dish, the end result was a nourishing and tasty dish that had everything; vegetables, aromatics, meat and a delicious east-meets-other-parts-of-east sweet and salty sauce.
To cook TBCTWNTB, start by chopping 500g chicken fillet. Chop 1 bulb garlic, 3 thin slices ginger and 1 brown onion using a food processor. Chop 500g green beans and 3-4 peeled carrots into batons. Place 1 tbsp oil and half of the garlic, onion and ginger paste in a large pan and heat over medium heat. Add the chicken. Add 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce, 1 tsp dried sweet paprika, 1 tbsp oyster sauce, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp fish sauce, generous pinch of white pepper and a splash of water. Stir for about 10 minutes until the chicken pieces are well browned. Remove the chicken and set aside. Heat 1 tbsp oil and the remaining garlic, ginger and onion paste in the same pan over medium heat. Add green beans, carrots, a small pinch iodised salt and a splash of water. Stir to mix. Return the cooked chicken into the pan. Cook for another 5 minutes. There should be enough for 4 servings. Serve with steamed rice.