The Spice is Right IV: A Chili Summer
So as I am battling the monster zucchini into submission, Tate comes up and says, “Do we have any hot peppers?” I look up and say, “Tate, we have eleven pepper plants – what do you think?”
Being chili heads, Tate and I have more pepper plants that anything else in our garden. When we were planning a garden, the train of thought was – ok…what other veggies will go with habanero peppers? I even planted thyme so that I was prepared for jerked pork, that famous Caribbean scorcher.
Well, the scotch bonnet peppers are not quite ready yet – but I do have tons of Thai Basil and lots of “Thai” peppers and jalapenos – so Tate suggested Holy Basil Chicken. I hemmed and hawed. And then I hawed and hemmed. I had never eaten Holy Basil Chicken, much less cooked it before. I told him I would think about it. Then I got home and started reading Barbara’s blog. And what was it talking about? Chilies. And what trinity of flavors did she extol the virtues of? Thai Basil, Chilies and Lime. Dammit. It was a sign. I had to kill Tate…no…no…I had to make the Holy Basil chicken. No other choice. Fate had won. I hate it when that happens.
Scouring the internet, I researched recipes. Some were from Thailand, some were from Martha and some were just flotsam on the internet. I ended up taking the Thai recipe and modifying it so that I ended up with a recipe that used pantry items that I already had on hand. As I cooked up some jasmine rice to go with dinner, I tried to pretend I was sweating in the sweltering heat of Thailand and not in my tiny Ohio kitchen.
The chicken wasn’t just tasty – it was freaking awesome. No kidding. I saw the hubby licking his bowl and asking for seconds. He was too late. Our daughter had already snuck into the kitchen and devoured what was left.
The family has already extracted the promise that we will have it again for dinner next week. I think I will try it with fresh ground pork instead of chicken. So maybe Fate was on my side for once…hmmmm…time to buy that lottery ticket I guess…
Rosie’s Ohio Valley Holy Basil Chicken
2-3 Tbs. peanut oil for stir-frying
10-12 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup diced onion
1 lb. boneless chicken thighs, coarsely chopped
6 Thai chilies and 6 jalapeño peppers, sliced into thin slivers
Juice of one small lime
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon. fish sauce
1 cup fresh Thai basil
Dash of ground pepper
Prepare the ingredients as instructed. Leave the fresh basil leaves whole.
Heat a wok until its surface is smoking hot. Swirl in the oil to coat the wok surface. Wait a few seconds for the oil to heat, and then stir in the garlic, followed a few seconds later with the onion. Stir another 15 to 20 seconds before adding the chicken. Stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes, or until most of the chicken has changed color on the outside and is no longer pink.
Toss in the chilies. Sprinkle soy sauce over the mixture and stir-fry for another 15 to 20 seconds. Season to taste with fish sauce, then stir in the fresh basil. Toss well. Stir-fry another 1/2 to 1 minute, or until the basil is wilted and the chicken cooked through. Sprinkle with pepper and lime juice to taste.