When there’s a slight nip in the air, my taste buds crave comfort foods.  Whilst many long for an endless summer, I anxiously await the drop in temperatures.  You see, summers on the East Coast of the USA are hot and humid; I’m not a fan of air conditioning, but in this part of the world, one cannot live without it.  I welcome Fall with open arms, there’s just so much to look forward to.  This Thai Basil Chicken curry was the first dish I cooked when the weather turned.  I wanted to use some of the Thai sweet basil that I had in the garden, I also wanted to test the Thai chilies – be warned folks, they are pretty hot, so handle with care.  It is National Curry Week in the UK, so what better way to showcase this week satiating your taste buds with a glorious aromatic curry.

img_8181One way of elevating the flavors of this Thai Basil Chicken curry is to use a mortar and pestle to hand grind your garlic, chilies and basil into a coarse chop. Unlike mincing, grinding really releases all the juices and oils  thereby bringing out the extra depth of flavor, which in return makes the entire dish of chicken basil more vibrant, garlicky and spicy.

img_8184This dish shouldn’t take very long.  It can easily be a weeknight dinner or lavish enough to serve at a dinner party.

img_8185Don’t you just love the pot holder?  My Aunt in England had made a pair of those for me a few years ago.  They resemble the Thai chilies I used in the recipe 🙂

img_8193Garnish with Thai basil, but do not cook the basil for too long.  This step is important because if you do, it loses some of its outstanding flavor.

img_8199Cook up some jasmine rice on the side when you are cooking the chicken.  I added some fresh corn just because I had it on hand.  You’ll want your rice to be fully cooked when the chicken is ready.  Spoon the Thai basil chicken over the jasmine rice and dream of Thailand 🙂 Celebrating Fiesta Friday #141 today with my Thai chicken contribution.  Thank you co-hosts Julianna @ Foodie on Board and Zeba @ Food For The Soul

Thai Basil Chicken Curry

  • Servings: 3
  • Print


  • 2 chicken breasts (or any other cut of boneless chicken)
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 4 Thai chilies  (according to taste)
  • 2 tablespoon sesame oil for frying
  • 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemongrass paste
  • 1 splash of dark soy sauce
  • 1 handful of Thai basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk


  1. Cut the chicken into small bite sized pieces.
  2. Rinse and peel the garlic and chilies, and pound them in a mortar and pestle. They don’t need to be super fine, you just want to bring out the oils and flavors from the garlic, chilies and Thai basil.
  3. Pluck a good sized handful basil leaves off the stems. Heat your wok on high heat, and add about 2 tablespoons of sesame oil to the pan.
  4. When the oil is hot, add the chilies, garlic and a few basil leaves. Stir fry them for about 20 seconds or so until they get really fragrant, but don’t let them burn or get too dry.
  5. Toss in your chicken. Keep stir frying continuously. At this stage you want to continue to stir and cook your chicken until it’s just about fully cooked all the way through.  If it starts to get dry, add just a splash of water.
  6. Add 2 teaspoons of oyster sauce, 1 teaspoon light soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons lemongrass paste and finally a splash of dark soy sauce. Keep stir frying for about another 30 seconds.  Add the coconut milk.
  7. Grab a handful of basil, toss it into the pan, fold it into the chicken, and then immediately turn off the heat.  The basil really only needs to cook for about 5 seconds, and it will continue to wilt and cook from the existing heat of the chicken.



53 Replies to “Thai Basil Chicken”

  1. I am sooo with you, Loretta! I adore the fall weather and I could eat curries every day of my life and never get tired of them! Your recipe looks wonderful! Thanks a bunch for sharing this with us at FF this week! I hope you have a cool, blustery weekend! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Julianna, I do favor curries too, but not in the summer time. It’s predicted to be quite lovely here this weekend and next week temps back up in the 80’s? Definitely not fall like. Enjoy your weekend too. xo


  2. Love this dish and your pictures. Those red chilis look fiery and delicious! I made some lemongrass paste last weekend so should be set to make this dish. Unfortunately, I used the last of my Thai basil in my soup. Sad to see it go but welcoming fall with open arms too 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Zeba. Those red chilies were pretty pungent, so I used them sparingly. Could you share your lemongrass paste with me please? I usually buy a tube at the grocery store and it does last me for ages. The Thai basil I also tried to dry in the microwave – I haven’t tasted the results yet, but I’ve done that with a few of the fresh herbs. Have a great weekend. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I get it at the Asian store. Use 2 stalks and remove the hard dry stalks first. Then chop up the softer interior. 2-3 cloves or garlic, an inch of ginger root, an inch of fresh turmeric (or a tsp of dry) and some sea salt . Blend it in a blender adding water as needed for consistency. Then a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a final blend. You don’t have to be perfect with the measurements, just taste as you go 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Loretta,
    What a perfect dish for fall. I love warm fragrant and spicy curries as the weather turns cold and your Thai basil chicken is making me drool. Foods crushed in the mortar and pestle have a unique taste, don’t they?
    Great pictures as usual.Those chilies are spectacular!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Sandhya. I’m sure your kitchen aromas are quite wonderful with all the Indian fusion cooking you bring to the table. Yes, nothing quite like going the old fashioned way instead of using an electric grinder. The chilies were fiery, but they made for a beautiful arrangement before I started the dish. Enjoy your weekend. xo


    1. Ha ha Johanne, hot mama indeed! Those chilies were fiery hot and would definitely do justice to any stuffed sinuses. I must bring out the old sewing machine and replicate the pot holders, it would be so nice to give out as wee gifts for Christmas. Enjoy the weekend. How are the renos coming along?


  4. This looks amazing Loretta! I just love all of the flavors you’ve used. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked with Thai chilis. How hot are they? Our weather is so goofy. Low last night to 33 and highs next week close to 80 but I’m over the hot stuff. I want the cool weather and comfort food!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Julie. Those Thai chilies are pretty pungent, I probably used just 2 (without the seeds), but they certainly give it a nice zip! Our weather is nuts too, we haven’t had the leaves change yet, but the nights get pretty cool and next week is predicted to be back in the 80’s. Global warming would you say?
      I’m excited at the thought of baking for Thanksgiving and preparing all those lovely warm and fragrant dishes, I’ve already started planning my menu 🙂 Have a great weekend Julie.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s known also as Thai Holy Basil not as aniseedy as the othe basil you use( horapa) and the recipe varies slightly but the two dishes are similar an egg normally tops grapow so I guess more of a native dish which you find on street markets and road side stalls and cooked more in homes.in the north of Thailand..I love both basils though 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, you’re right I did google Thai Holy Basil before I started the recipe. I guess mine must just be the (horapa) you mention. I’ve also seen an egg on top which is typically street food in Thailand I guess. Thanks for the clarification.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow! This is amazing, Loretta! I can imagine how aromatic and flavorful it is with all the Thai ingredients in there. I have a thai chilly plant too, and yeah they are super spicy 😀 Love lemongrass, so much that I’ve planted it from the stalk. I love using the blades of the lemon grass in tea, love the lemony flavor it imparts 🙂 The pot holder matches perfectly with this dish. Well composed pictures 🙂 By the way I’m not a fan of the summers either, I love this time of the year 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Freda and thank you for all that added information on lemongrass. I too love the taste it imparts. I was just chatting with another blogger on how she makes her lemongrass paste at home, I’d like to do that. Like you, I wonder if I could grow it here? I know you live in Louisana so perhaps the weather there is more conducive to its survival? It’s amazing what one can grow from stalks isn’t it? Always appreciate your visits, thank you Freda.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the flavors you have in the curry and it looks as bright and lovely as the pot holder! I agree it would be perfect for guests and won’t take too long to cook as well! Delicious! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. This recipe is perfect Loretta as I still have some of those peppers (my basil is gone). The plant I had was supposed to be jalapenos but ended up being these beautiful red peppers. I think I can comment now – I sent a message to WP so we shall see if this goes through 🙂


      1. Wow that I amazing Loretta. This time you took us through a chilli brindava garden! Very spectacular. Me too learning from you. Loved this post a lot. Looking forward for more amazing posts.


  8. I guess I haven’t stopped by for awhile and what a shame – I’ve been missing out. This is going on my must make list and it’s too bad that my Thai basil in my garden met his demise about a month ago. Did your basil go nuts this year? Both my sweet basil and my Thai crowded everything out and ended up being about 4 feet by 4 1/2 feet – those are single plants. I was amazed! Anyway, pinning this recipe!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mollie, no worries, I too have been rather remiss with my posts and need to put aside a time just for blogging :). I volunteer in a garden once a week, so I’ve been rather privileged to get the freshest picks and have really been using different veggies in most of my posts. Yes indeed the basil did grow like crazy. I loved the Thai variety too. I have harvested some of them so I can use them over the winter months.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hey Loretta, I haven’t tried making Thai Basil Chicken at home but after looking at your recipe and photographs I know how I am going to use the Thai Basil kept in my refrigerator 🙂
    As a token of appreciation, I’m sharing this recipe link as the Recipe of the Day on our new Facebook group ‘Recipe Repertoire’ (a group uniting food bloggers and food lovers). Congrats and do join and have a look at https://www.facebook.com/groups/703073099864104/

    Liked by 1 person

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