I have always loved this simple Thai stir-fried dish, especially with steamed basmati rice. Feel free to add some blanched vegetables if you want to create a one-dish meal.
Yield: 6 servings
1½ pounds boned chicken breast, skin removed
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1½ tablespoons rice wine or sake
1½ tablespoons minced shallots
3½ tablespoons canola or corn oil
1½ tablespoons chopped fresh red chile (seeds removed)
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
3 medium red onions, peeled and cut into thin julienne slices
Sauce (mixed together):
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1½ tablespoons water
1½ cups fresh Thai holy basil or sweet basil leaves, stems removed, leaves rinsed, drained, and coarsely shredded
Arrange the chicken breast flat on a cutting board. Holding the blade of your knife horizontal with the board, cut the chicken into thin slices on the diagonal and put them in a bowl. Add the Marinade ingredients and toss the chicken lightly to coat.
Heat a wok or large skillet, add 2 tablespoons of the oil, and heat until very hot, about 30 seconds. Add the Seasonings, and stir-fry over high heat about 1½ to 2 minutes, or until the onions are tender. Push to the side of the pan.
Add the remaining 1½ tablespoons oil, and heat until very hot. Add the chicken, stirfrying over high heat about 2 minutes, or until the meat changes color and is cooked. Give the premixed Sauce another stir and pour it into the pan. Bring to a boil. Add the fresh basil and mix. Scoop the chicken onto a serving platter and serve with rice and a vegetable, if desired.
Basil, which many might consider foreign to China, has, in fact, been used in Chinese medicine since the sixth century A.D. Basil tea (1 cup fresh basil leaves brewed with 1 cup water) is often drunk for indigestion.