Chilli Basil Chicken
Gosh! I have not posted on food for so long! And I have cooked so much in the last few weeks, too. Let me haste and put down at least one dish here.
I had bought a big bunch of basil leaves some days back for my Thai Green Curry. I am a big, big fan of basil and can have it in any amount in a dish. The husband finds it a bit overpowering so I have to control myself a bit while putting them in the green curry. As a result, I had a small left-over sprig of basil in the fridge, after the green curry was over and done with. I wanted to use them in a chicken dish, although I was not at all sure about the recipe. Usually, the recipe comes into place as and when I am cooking.
Basil always reminds me of the restaurant Chin-Thai in Versova when I used to live in Mumbai. It was a small place, mostly frequented by patrons for home deliveries and take-aways. But the Thai food that it churned out was terrific. My favourite order used to be steamed basil rice and Thai green curry, both redolent with generous amounts of basil leaves. I guess some food memories are made up of aromas and that’s how the fragrant basil remained one of my favourite food elements.
And so, when the time came for me to make Sunday lunch, I went about my normal procedure. That is, to look at the ingredients that I had in my fridge and vegetable shelf and then concoct a recipe. Really, I could have given the Masterchef guys a run for their money in the ‘Invention Test’. (Who am I kidding?)
For a change, I didn’t consult the internet this time and hence I am sure there would be much better versions of this dish. So, here it is – my own rendition of Chilli Basil Chicken.
Chilli Basil Chicken
500 gm chicken, cut into bite sized pieces (I kept them with bone, though boneless thigh pieces would be more preferred)
1 large onion, chopped
½ teaspoon garlic, minced
½ teaspoon ginger, grated
3-4 green chillies, sliced (depends on your heat quotient)
1 small sprig of basil leaves, torn to shreds
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soya sauce
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
1 teaspoon vinegar
Refined oil for cooking
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the sauces (oyster, soya, tomato) and the vinegar in a bowl and keep aside.
Sprinkle the cornflour over the chicken pieces and mix well. Heat some oil in a kadai or wok and fry the flour coated chicken pieces till they are cooked. Season with a little salt and pepper and keep aside. Be careful while adding salt as the sauces will have lots as well. Just a pinch will do for the time being.
Next, heat a teaspoon of oil in another pan and tip in the chopped onion, minced garlic, ginger and green chillies. Stir fry the aromats in high heat till they lose their rawness but remain a little crunchy. Add the bowl of sauces and let them come to a gentle bubble.
Now, slide in the fried chicken pieces and mix well with the sauce. Then, throw in the basil leaves and stir some more till the leaves wilt. Check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if required.
Take the pan off the gas, transfer the contents to a bowl and serve with a flourish!
PS: You can garnish with toasted sesame seeds and pair this dish up with fried rice or hakka noodles.