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.


sher said...

I'm so glad that you interpreted the signs properly and didn't Kill Tate. However, that dish sounds so delicious, you could all easily come to fisticuffs over it! I have quite a lot of different basil and peppers growing in my yard, so I will try this recipe! It sounds like you could enter some chili pepper eating contests, eh?

Glenna said...

Snort over the first paragraph! Funny, I can easily see in my mind the look on your face that went with the "what do you think?".

Hey, on another subject--I made another batch of chimichurri and froze it. It did beautifully. The olive oil thickened and went opaque. I remember reading somewhere why it does that but I can't pull it out of my head at the moment. But then, after it had thawed, and it thawed quickly, it was translucent again and the parsley tasted fresh.

Now we know...

Rosie said...

Sher - I think that is going to be the name of my first novel - "Kill Tate". Has a certain ring to it...

Actually I am out of practice with the heat. You have to build up a certain tolerance - and it has been a couple years since I grew habeneros...so the heat is on!

Glenna -

That is awsome news. I have a ton of parsley this year and was hoping to find something to do with it! Thanks for all your help!

baasheep said...

Dammit now you have me drooling on my keyboard in work! Am so it this weekend mmmmmmmmmmmmm

Cindy said...

i make this dish quite a bit. it is even tastier when you finely mince the chicken. btw, Bangkok Restaurant makes an excellent version of this dish, pad kapow (or pad gapow).

Rosie said...

Hi Cindy!

Yeah - I figured it would be..but I am damned lazy sometimes. Most Americanized versions call for whole chicken breasts or at least huge chunks of meat...me -I need to get me two big cleavers and have at it!

Welcome aboard the blogging junket! Nice to see another Columbus food blogger.

Linda said...

This sounds great! I am so glad to find your blog. Thanks for doing it... bitching and chilies!!!


Rosie said...

Hi Linda!

Thank you!!

I just want you to know I made it again this past weekend and the family still wants more...sigh...a cook's work in never done...

Contrary Guy said...

good-looking spicy recipe... and good to see that not everyone in Ohio is chile-averse. I'd be growing some myself this year, but the past year's stuff is still in my cupboard, waiting to be used...

p.s. red habaneros have a very limited spectrum of usability.... unless you love the burn!

Rosie said...

Contrary Guy,

There are quite a few chili heads in our group - we have to work hard to find food that fits the bill sometimes.

I have a feeling that I will be growing fewer pepper plants next year. I am looking for a good pepper relish to use up all the excess I know we are going to have.

However - Tate, my garden buddy, is chomping at the bit waiting for the habaneros to ripen. He wants his jerked chicken bad!