Sunday, September 21, 2008

Jack talk Thai! Chicken and Basil

Simmering coconut milk
Originally uploaded by Skyhawk Flyer
Here is another recipe from the book "One year at Books for Cooks Vol. 3".

I just realized, however, in writing this blog (food already eaten, dishwasher humming) that I completely forgot the "basil" step. Basil and garlic, slightly stir fried in sesame oil, as a matter of fact. Oops.

At any rate, here is the recipe and my variations below:
Thai Chicken with Basil
4 chicken breasts (skinned and boned).
8 fl oz/1 cup chicken stock
8 fl oz/1 cup coconut milk
1 fresh red chili, seeded and finely chopped
1 star anise
1 t ground coriander
3 oz skinned unsalted peanuts
1 t sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 handfuls of basil leaves

Cut the chicken breasts across on a sharp diagonal into 1 inch strips. Put the stock, coconut milk and spices into a pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 mins and the sauce should reduce by half.

Toast the peanuts in a dry pan over slow heat until nutty and golden. Stir the chicken strips into the sauce and cook gently until white, tender and cooked through. Take off the heat and adjust the seasoning.

Heat the oil and fry the garlic. When it starts to color and crisp, throw in the basil and stir fry until wilted. Stir the garlic-basil into the coconut and serve at once with saffron rice, garnished with toasted peanuts.

Sounds marvelous doesn't it? That basil garlic would have been a really nice touch.

What I did differently:

1 can each of chicken stock and coconut milk - in other words, roughly double the amount.
I bought dried chiles in a bag and threw three of them in the sauce while cooking. It didn't seem to do anything.
I bought anise seeds - in a spice jar.
I bought ground cilantro (coriander) in a spice jar.
Completely forgot to do the last bit.

It was pretty good, if a bit bland. The chili didn't juice it up, and the last part of the recipe would also have been good.

Anyway, I now have a few lunches and dinner this week.

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