If you're suffering the winter doldrums, bring some excitement to the table with this week's quick and easy Thai Minced Basil Chicken. The dish is packed with flavor and uses ingredients you can pick up at the supermarket.
I used lean ground chicken, but any ground meat can be substituted. You can replace the ground chicken with a pound of medium peeled and deveined shrimp.
Asian ingredients used to require a trip to a special market, but now they're available in the Asian aisle at your grocery store. This recipe uses both soy sauce and Asian fish sauce. If you don't keep the fish sauce on hand and don't wish to purchase another ingredient, omit it from the recipe and add a little more soy sauce.
The dish is finished with a hit of heat from chopped jalapeño, along with some tang from lime juice and a hint of sweetness from brown sugar. Add the jalapeño according to taste, depending on your family's heat preferences.
A cup of slivered fresh basil is stirred in at the end, and then the dish is ready to serve atop hot cooked basmati rice. Pass lime wedges at the table to squeeze over the top of each serving.
THAI MINCED BASIL CHICKEN
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic, about 2 large cloves
3 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 pound ground chicken
1/2 small hot pepper, such as a jalapeño or Serrano chili, seeded and thinly sliced, or more to taste
Zest and juice of 1 lime, plus lime wedges for serving
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
Cooked basmati rice, for serving
Heat large skillet until its surface is almost smoking. Swirl in the oil to coat surface and stir in the garlic and shallots and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the ground chicken and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chile, lime zest and juice, soy sauce, fish sauce and brown sugar and stir well. Cook until the chicken is done. Stir in the basil and cook for 30 seconds. Serve with the rice and lime wedges.
Makes 4 servings.