I love Thai, but have never attempted it. I never even thought about it. And one could argue it is like the Japanese or Chinese dishes I've put into our regular repertoire, but it is slightly different.
Flavours are a bit more complex with the Thai Chicken and Basil - in a good way - a bit more labour intensive, and arguably more aromatic. But in short: I loved it.
One can probably use Thai Basil, but we couldn't locate it and the better produce establishments were closed on New Year's Day.
I didn't even get this recipe. 710 found it on America's Test Kitchen. I must have missed that episode. And I will miss the show after this season when Christopher Kimball leaves - as he quit or was fired, depending on which story you read. The whole show might collapse in 2017 (the 2016 shows have already been filmed), as I have back-storied that Julia and Bridget loathe each other. I have no basis for this of course, but 710 enjoys my stories on their hate when the show is on.
710 and I teamed up to cook, so nothing seemed too bad, and even if you're on your own, with a little planning, prep time isn't horrid. Cooking time goes quickly.
Chicken - 1.5 lbs, chopped into 2" pieces
Garlic - 3 cloves, peeled and whole
Thai Chilies - 6 green or 6 red (or 3 of each?)
Basil - 2 cups, tightly packed
Shallots - 3 medium, thinly sliced
Fish Sauce - 2 T (more for serving later)
Oyster Sauce - 1 T
Sugar - 1 T (more for serving later)
White Vinegar - 1 T (more for serving later)
Vegetable Oil - 2 T
Red Pepper Flakes - to taste
Rice - 1/2 C per person
The great smells with the above process.
In a bowl, combine Vinegar, Sugar, Oyster Sauce and 1 tablespoon of Fish Sauce and one tablespoon of the basil / garlic / chili mixture. Combine until sugar has dissolved.
Along with two tablespoons of oil, the rest of the basil / garlic / chili mixture goes into a heavy bottom pan, along with the sliced shallots. Cook over medium-low heat until the shallots get golden brown (8-10 min, though mine never ever got 'golden').
Put 2" pieces of chicken into food processor. Pulse 6-8 times with one second pulses.
Add chicken to the skillet and increase heat to medium. Break chicken up with a spatula and cook until all the pink is gone (3-4 minutes). Add the bowl mixture from the second step. Combine and cook for another minute.
Add other cup of basil. Stir in and let it wilt with the heat. My pan was fairly shallow, so things fell out - so careful on that stirring.
Serve with rice. Add red pepper flakes if you choose. I did.
Again, I don't know much (i.e. nothing!) about Thai cooking. To control flavour for each individual person, they suggest having fish sauce, sugar and vinegar at the ready, for folks to add as they see fit. Being able to do that might be great, but it's new territory for me.
Still, the flavours and aromas for this dish had great depth. It's totally worth it and serves 4 - or at least 4 grown men.
I'd totally do this again.