thai sweet basil

Chicken stir fry with chilli paste and Thai basil

So, first the chilli paste in oil, or nam prik pao.  If you like cooking Thai food, you may have a jar of this in the cupboard or fridge already.  

If you don't - and you fancy making it - I've a very simple version that's super-quick to make right here.

nam prik pao chilli paste in oil Rachel Redlaw

You can use the nam prik pao in a tom yum soup, or in this lovely squid stir fry.  It's also just a really versatile condiment and I just might have been known to scoop a little on cheese on toast or have with shepherd's pie too ... 

If you've got some nam prik pao, and you've made the rice to serve with this in advance, then you're basically ready to go - as this stir fry is quick to make.

For two, you'll need: 

cooking oil 

2 cloves of garlic, flattened and chopped

1 chicken breast, minced (in the food processor, or chopped as I prefer to do it)

1 heaped tablespoon chilli paste in oil (nam prik pao)

1 teaspoon fish sauce

some chopped veg (I had red and yellow peppers, a mushroom and a few spring onions)

a tablespoon or so of water

a big handful of Thai sweet basil leaves, or 1.5 teaspoons of jarred Thai basil

dried chilli flakes (to serve)

Nam prik pao stir fry chilli paste in oil Rachel Redlaw

Put your pan on a medium heat and when hot add a good slosh or two of oil and when that's hot add the garlic.

As for many Thai recipes, stir fry the garlic for perhaps up to 30 seconds over a medium heat, making sure it doesn't burn, until it 'smells good'. (Yep, that's the instruction on most recipes!).

Then add the chicken, nam prik pao and fish sauce and stir fry for a few minutes until the meat is nearly cooked. 

Add the chopped vegetables and a splash of water and stir, then add the jarred basil (if using jarred) and cook for another 4-5 minutes until done. 

Nam prik pao stir fry chilli paste in oil Rachel Redlaw

If using fresh basil add right at the end just before turning off the heat and stir in until wilted.

Serve with the rice and with a sprinkling of dried chilli flakes (if liked).

Nam prik pao stir fry chilli paste in oil Rachel Redlaw
Nam prik pao chilli paste in oil Rachel Redlaw

I really love this simple stir fry - I think it has unexpected depth from the nam prik pao.

What do you think?