Spicy Hot Chicken with Basil

This is a savoury, almost lusty chicken dish of Southeast Asian provenance. Chicken thighs, with their darker, firmer meat, lend themselves to marinades and longer cooking. I enjoy their more robust chicken flavour and their more substantial texture. Chicken combines nicely with all spices but I particularly enjoy the surprise here of the anise-flavoured basil which is so nice, a counterpoint to the other spices.

Serve it with plain rice and a salad or green vegetable for a complete meal.

1 1/2 lb (450g) chicken thigh meat

2 teaspoons light soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 teaspoons cornflour

1 1/2 tablespoon oil, preferably groundnut

2 tablespoons garlic, coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons chilli bean sauce

2 teaspoons hoisin sauce

2 teaspoons oyster sauce

1 teaspoon dark soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

Large handful basil leaves

 

Remove the skin and bones from the chicken thighs or have your butcher do it for you. Cut the chicken into 1 in (2.5cm) chunks and combine it in a bowl with the soy sauce, cornflour and sesame oil.

Heat a wok or large frying pan until it is very hot, then add the oil, then the chicken. Stir-fry for 5 minutes, then remove and drain off the oil. Returned the drained chicken to the wok and add the rest of the ingredients except the basil leaves. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring from time to time. When the chicken is cooked, add the basil leaves, and give the mixture a good stir. Pour onto a platter and serve at once.

 

Hint:

*To wash the basil, vigorously plunge the basil stalks into a bowl of cold water. Pat dry and strip off the leaves for use in the recipe. 

* Substitute mint if basil is unavailable.

* This dish reheats well.