Sunday, June 17, 2012

Recipe: Spicy Basil Chicken

 I have a very small container garden in the one sunny spot of my yard. I have little pots of basil, flat leaf parsley, oregano and a large cherry tomato plant. The basil is thriving. The others are having a harder time. So, I'm trying to make recipes that can use some of that basil, other than pesto. I've lost 8 pounds in the past three weeks, so I'm trying to be very conscientious about what I put in my body. I want to stay on the weight loss train, not start adding the pounds back on.And there is absolutely NOTHING figure friendly about pesto.

This recipe was adapted from one I saw in an old issue of Cooking Light. It looked & sounded fantastic, and did not disappoint! I added a few veggies, and changed up a few things in the sauce, but this was really, really good. I didn't want to wait 45 minutes for brown rice to cook, so I served this over a bed of jasmine rice, although brown rice would have definitely been better.

Spicy Basil Chicken
(Recipe adapted from Cooking Light/April 2012)


  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. of chicken tenders, cut into bite sized pieces.
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp of low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp sriracha sauce
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 20 basil leaves; chopped
  • 1 tsp of vegetable oil
  • 2 cups fresh snow peas, trimmed
  • 2 thinly sliced red bell peppers
  • 1/2 of an onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of toasted sesame seed

  1. Cook one cup of rice according to package directions (I leave out the butter & salt, and always cook my rice in reduced sodium chicken stock).
  2. For the chicken, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan. Once oil is hot,  Add chicken to pan. Cook for a few minutes and then add garlic. Cook until chicken is completely done, about 10 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile, heat another large skillet over medium-high heat for the vegetables. Add oil to pan. Add snow peas, bell pepper and onion to pan; sauté for about 5-6 minutes or until the vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper, and sesame seeds.Toss well to combine. Set aside.
  4. Combine the rest of the ingredients (fish sauce, soy sauce, sriracha, corn starch, water and salt) in a small bowl and whisk together. Add the sauce to pan with the chicken, and cook for 1 minute or until mixture thickens. Stir to coat the chicken. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped basil.
  5. Serve alongside the rice and vegetables.  


  1. Sounds and looks amazing...just exactly how spicy are we talking (i have small kids). should i downplay some of the spices? if so, by how much? i still want flavor...

    1. To me it's not that spicy. I actually will make it with more sriracha next time, but I have a high heat tolerance. I think it would be okay for kids, but if you're worried, maybe use 1.5 Tbsp if the sriracha.

      Hope you enjoy it!


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