Thai Chicken with Basil and Black Pepper

This simple stir-fry is full of the aromatic, peppery flavor of Thai basil. We used chicken as our protein, but tender cuts of pork or beef, even duck, would be equally delicious. If you don't have access to Thai basil, use regular Italian basil ~ it won't compromise the dish at all. You may just want to add an extra pinch of black pepper.

Thai Chicken with Basil and Black Pepper
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  • Ingredients:
  • 1 lb chicken tenderloins
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 3/4 cup fresh Thai basil leaves (or Italian basil)
  • For the stir-fry sauce:
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce, or more to taste (see recipe notes)
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

Preparation:
Make the stir-fry sauce by placing the sugar, water, chili garlic sauce, fish sauce and soy sauce in a microwave safe measuring cup. Heat on high for 30 seconds, then stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside.

Place the cornstarch and black pepper in a plastic bag, add the chicken tenderloins and shake to coat.

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, and cook until golden brown and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Add the garlic to the pan and cook until fragrant, stirring constantly, 1-1/2 minutes. Add the onion and bell pepper and season with some additional black pepper. Continue cooking until the bell pepper is slightly softened, but still crisp, about 1 minute total. Stir in the sauce and return the chicken to the pan. Cook for another minute, turning the chicken to coat with the sauce. Add the basil leaves and cook just until wilted, 1 minute.

Serve immediately with steamed jasmine rice.

Makes 3 to 4 servings

Recipe Notes:
Chili garlic sauce, is a wonderful condiment to have on hand. It's a blend of coarsely ground chilies and garlic and can be used to spice up a wide variety of foods, not just Asian cuisine. Look for Huy Fong brand with its well-recognized rooster logo. You'll find it in the ethnic foods aisle of many supermarkets as well as Asian grocers and online.

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