I am pretty sure nothing is more fragrant in the summer than Thai Basil. Chalk full of flavor, nothing (not even any other basil) tastes quite like it. On top of this, it is high in polyphenols, which are potent antioxidants. It also boasts chemical properties which are anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-cancer. Oh yes, this makes it taste even better in my humble opinion.
I think the quintessential heavy basil dish you might recognize is pad kee mao gai, better known as Thai drunken noodles. It is the hangover street food of champions, best served with a little hair of the dog Singha over ice. I’ve been to Thailand a few times now, and I can’t say it has ever been prepared the same, but the vein that remains consistent is the basil. So with that in mind, I went all in to create a new and interesting version, armed only with my CSA (including a fatty bag of the coveted leaves). As always, I couldn’t get enough. I hope you enjoy it too!
Pad Kee Mao Gai (Thai Drunken Noodles)
1 lb chicken (I used thighs)
2 cups dried rice noodles (more or less depending on your preference of noodle to veggie ratio)
1 small onion, sliced thin
Splash of oil of choice
1 small head purple napa cabbage, ½ in chopped
1 dry pt. cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 bunch green onion, sliced thin
1 cup chopped and loosely packed Thai basil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp chopped fresh Thai chilies (or a tsp of chili flake in a pinch… more or less to spice preference)
2 Tbsp Oyster sauce
2 Tbsp Fish sauce
1 Tbsp light or sweet soy sauce
2 Tbsp table sugar (palm sugar if you have it)
- Boil a pot of water. Turn off the heat and add the rice noodles. Let sit til al dente, about 5 minutes. Strain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
- Splash the chicken with a little oil and a couple dashes of fish sauce and sear on medium high heat, until just cooked through, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and set aside to rest.
- In the chicken pan, still on medium high heat, add the sliced onion with a splash of oil. Saute for a minute or two until it is sweating.
- Add the cabbage, garlic, thai chilis, and the white parts of the green onion and saute for another two minutes.
- Chop the rested chicken and add to the veggie pan. Also add the rice noodles.
- Add all the sauce ingredients and incorporate. Reduce heat to medium.
- Add the tomatoes and Thai basil. Turn the heat off
- Keep tossing and incorporating until everything is hot and delicious.
- Garnish with more Thai basil and the tops of the green onion