I plant basil in my garden every year. Which traditionally has translated to a bumper crop. But this year, meh. It was pretty much a bust.
My sweet basil bit the dust early, the purple basil was pretty much anemic all summer and my pineapple basil? Let’s just say next time I’ll stick to enjoying the fruit in my pina coladas.
But one basil did survive and even almost thrived. My beloved, licorice enhanced Thai basil. What’s the diff? Oh honey. Oh so much and that much more.
Thai basil is more pungent, more savory and I think more delicious than your everyday grocery or garden center variety. Its the perfect herb-ey basil hit for stewed dishes, those with a heavier sauce and for when you’re looking for something to spice up a dish with perfumed licorice and citrus notes.
Which is why it is PER-FECT-O for my go-to summertime dish of Thai Basil Chicken. Two years ago I made this at least once every two weeks to use up my supply of basil, mint and solve my coconut creaminess cravings. It’s creamy, spicy and when using rice noodles is gluten-free.
Now that the first frost is most likely only 2 weeks or less away, I’m doing my final basil sweep and hoping that a few stragglers will survive the last few minutes of fall. But if not, I’ll always have next summer to plant anew.
- 1 lb ground chicken thighs
- ½ lb fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 2-4 T vegetable or canola oil
- 2 T minced ginger
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 1½ cup plus ¼ cup for garnish of thai basil, or basil of your preference
- ½ cup fresh mint
- 1 can coconut milk
- 4 T soy sauce (use light soy sauce for less salty flavor)
- 6 T rice wine vinegar
- 3 T fish sauce
- 1 T chile garlic sauce or Sambal Oelek or more to taste
- 1 8 oz package rice stick noodles
- ground peanuts and lime for garnish
- Bring a deep sided fry pan to medium heat. Bring 2 T oil to medium heat and sauté mushrooms, onion, red pepper until softened, 8 -10 minutes. Remove from pan. Add 2 T oil to pan and add the minced ginger and garlic, cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the ground chicken and brown for 6-8 minutes or until cooked through.
- While chicken is cooking, in a 4 cup measuring cup or bowl, combine coconut milk, soy sauce, rice vinegar, fish sauce and chile sauce. When chicken is cooked through, add onion mixture back to pan with coconut milk mixture, 1½ cup basil plus mint and simmer until reduced by ⅓. Meanwhile, bring 4 cups of water to a boil and in a large bowl, pour over rice stick noodles to soften for 3-4 minutes. Drain immediately. Combine noodles with chicken mixture, and cook for one minute. Serve immediately with additional basil for garnish, peanuts and lime wedges.
- Note: Rice stick noodles are super absorbent and will soak up the soupy coconut sauce if left to cook in chicken mixture for much longer than the one minute. My husband loves this dish even more saucy so we double the sauce mixture portion of the recipe from coconut milk on down to the rice stick noodles for extra napkin swiping opportunities.
And now, it’s time to savor a few more savory basil recipes. And beat the frost.
Sharing my mantra of buying local, Kelsey and Shaun took to the farmer’s market and lucky for us, were inspired to create Happyolk‘s rustic and savory Homemade Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Fettucini. Kelsey says she likes to keep it simple by topping it with good old stewed tomatoes. I say she’s got a good idea so why change it?
Creamy corn, crunchy-smoky-salty pancetta chunks and basil meet in a bar and amke beautiful music together…well, its way better than that. Bitchin’ Camero’s Corn Bacon & Basil Spaghetti takes care of all of your fall cravings in one fell swoop. And Melissa promises to deliver a a big napkin to swipe the drool and cream from your chin.
I have a crush on eggs with pasta thanks to a few late nights/post bar dinners thanks to my husband’s creative food craving creations, so upon spying eCurry’s Angel Hair Pasta with Mushroom, Basil and Fried Egg I became enamored with Soma’s savory take on a summery dish when she added fried mushrooms and eggs. Looks like I need to get back into some of my old habits.
If you think savory, pasta and healthy don’t know how to play nice in one pot, you are sadly mistaken and Mimi of The Veggielogues has proved your misconceptions as exactly that. Her Kale Lentil Pasta with Basil makes her dish supercharged by tossing in heart healthy garlic, inflammation fighting red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese. Not that the cheese is particularly healthy, its just dang good!
I can’t believe the amazing work coming in from food blogger contributors for the debut issue of FoodieCrush magazine. It’s been a whirlwind of photo shoots, interviews and wrangling and I can’t wait to share it all with you in our Winter issue come November.
In the meantime, spread the word! FoodieCrush magazine will be available for you FOR FREE mid November. If you’re interested in advertising and partnership opportunities, contact me at heidi at foodiecrush dot com.