Thai Basil Chicken Stir Fry

Pad Kra Pao Gai (ผัดกระเพราไก่); this is one of the most memorable dishes we acquired for the repertoire during our stint in Australia. I’d even go as far as to say that it’s my wife’s absolute favourite – it makes a regular appearance on our table.

You’ll notice that Thai basil (bai horapha) has beautifully deep purple stalks. The wonderful aniseed flavour of this variety is so distinctive, yet rather than being overpowering, it’s delicate and fragrant.

Fresh Thai Basil

This recipe introduced us to ‘garlic shoots’ which unfortunately we’ve never seen since leaving Australia, other than chopped up and frozen in mixed vegetable bags at Waitrose. Garlic shoots are so special to us that I’ll admit to buying numerous bags and picking through! Like long, perfectly straight green beans, garlic shoots have a mild flavour and provide a slightly squeaky, crunchy texture to the dish.

You could always have a go at growing them yourself as they’re just garlic scapes with the flower bud removed. If you can’t get your hands on any, fine green beans will suffice.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Chicken breasts
  • 4 Garlic cloves
  • 3cm Galangal (or Ginger)
  • 1/2 Chilli
  • 1/2 Red Pepper
  • Small bunch of Asparagus
  • Small bunch of Spring Onions
  • Small bunch or Garlic Shoots or Green Beans
  • Bunch of Thai Basil
  • 3 tbsp Oyster Sauce
  • Splash of Fish Sauce (optional)

Ingredients

Method:

Cut the chicken breasts into thin slices.

Blend the garlic, chilli and galangal into a paste using a mortar and pestle or roughly chop it all together. Marinate the chicken in a covered dish or bag in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Slice the vegetables into roughly the same size and set aside. Do make sure that you have everything ready to go and within reach before you start cooking as it’s going to be quick quick quick.

In a wok or large frying pan, heat a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil.

Stirring as you go, first fry the marinated chicken for a couple of minutes.

Add the vegetables and fry for a further minute.

Add the oyster sauce and a splash of fish sauce (or water if it’s not your thing), cooking for another couple of minutes.

Finally, add the Thai basil for just 30 seconds so that it wilts and releases its beautiful aroma.

So in total, the stir fry should take you about five and a half minutes to cook.

Serve with white rice or cauliflower rice for a healthier option.

Thai Basil

Salmon Tartare

With everyone keenly penning their New Year resolutions, it’s inevitable that healthy eating is right up there in the top five. As ‘eating more fish’ always seems to feature, here’s a slightly less obvious recipe for packing in the omega-3 fatty acids.

Salmon Fillet

There are a couple of variations on this dish; one is to take the natural, raw sashimi-style approach, and the other, akin to ceviche,  is to include citrus juice to ‘cook’ the fish as per below.

Ingredients:

(serves 2)

  • 400g Salmon, skinned and boned, diced into 1cm cubes
  • 2 tsp Shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Capers, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Gherkin, finely chopped
  • Sprig of Dill
  • Dash of Tobasco
  • Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
  • Juice of 1 Lemon

Method:

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Leave it to stand for 10 minutes.

Garnish with Dill fronds and serve with triangles of granary toast.

Healthy Salmon Tartare

You can also serve it as an elegant canapé  in these lovely little croustardes.

Canapé

Little Salmon bites

You could also try it with Trout or other oily fish.

Happy New Year.  Give it a go.