Traditionally this recipe (Pad Gra Prow) is made with ground chicken. It is a very simple dish with a short ingredient list. And it is one of our favourite takeout Thai dishes, next to red curry and pad thai! (We are big fans of Thai food around here!)
Since I am not a fan of any form of ground meat, I much prefer making this with thinly sliced chicken breast. And if I have the time I also like to take an extra 20 mins, while I am prepping the veggies, to velvet the chicken to get it extra moist and smooth in the stir fry!
How to velvet chicken?
Velveting chicken is a technique most chinese restaurants use to cook their meat. I have also been doing this for ages, but never realized there was a word for it!
It helps to tenderize the meat and keep it from getting over cooked during the stir fry process. The end result is a super soft and melt in your mouth delicious morsel of meat!
To velvet your chicken all you have to do is let the chicken soak in some soy sauce and corn starch (or arrowroot powder) for about 20 minutes before you intend to stir-fry it. Then, you will half cook the chicken in some oil until it just starts to turn opaque (but don’t cook it all the way through). The secret here is to add the meat to the pan in a single layer and do not move it around until it develops a nice brown crust on one side. Then stir-fry until it turns opaque. Remove it from the pan and go on to cook the rest of your ingredients and make your sauce, then add the chicken back in at the very end. You will have the most soft and delicious chicken ever! And the little bit of corn starch or arrowroot flour you used to coat the chicken will help thicken your sauce up a bit as well.
It is like magic!
Have you tried to velvet your chicken before?
Whole30 Basil Chicken
To keep this healthy and Whole30 or Paleo, I like to add some veggies to my stir-fry to bulk it up. I went with broccoli for this round. But feel free to skip it or switch for any veg you have that you want to use up. Carrots, zucchini or peppers would all work great in this. And you won’t miss the rice or noodles if you load this up with veg.
Thai Basil Noodle Option
To turn this into a Thai Basil Noodle soak some rice noodles in hot water about 20-30 minutes before you intend to serve this (don’t boil them or they will turn mushy). Then once your stir-fry is ready, drain your nooles and toss into the stir-fry to heat through.
Boom Thai Basil Noodle. Add a bit more spice to make this a Thai spicy noodle (one of J’s faves). When he tried this version he said it was better than takeout!
And it was way faster than ordering takeout!
Don’t have Thai Basil?
Don’t worry. If you can’t find thai basil or holy basil, which is hard to come by in North America. I do manage to find cinnamon basil (a close second to holy basil) at my asian grocer. Or just use the standard basil that you use for pesto. The flavour will still be there.
But you do want to use fresh basil leaves to get the most out of the flavour of this dish.
Also it is a great way to use up leftover basil from the garden! Incase you are tired of pesto!
And if you want a thai basil beef version try this one!
10-Minute Thai Basil Chicken & Broccoli
- 1 lbs chicken breast, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
- 2 tsp cornstarch (or arrowroot powder for Whole30)
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 green chilli, thinly sliced (or thai red chillies)
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- pinch salt
- pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
- 1 tbsp sweet soy sauce (optional)
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp brown sugar (for Keto use monkfruit sweetener, or sub for coconut aminos for the Whole30 version)
- 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth (or water)
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- handful thai basil leaves (or any fresh basil you have)
- oil for frying
Velvet your Chicken (optional)
- This is an optional, but a highly recommended step.
- Mix the chicken with 2 tsp soy sauce and 2 tsp corn starch and stir to coat. Set aside for at least 15-20 minutes while you prep the remaining ingredients. If you don't have time. skip the rest time, and just move to stir frying the chicken right away.
- Make sure you have all your ingredients ready to go. Heat a large wok with a few tbsp of oil on medium high heat. Add the marinated chicken in a single layer, and allow it to cook undisturbed on one side for about 1-2 minutes. It should start to turn opaque, and the bottom will start to turn golden brown.
- Stir and continue to fry for a few more minutes until the chicken is no longer pink all over. It will not be cooked through fully but that is ok. We will cook it again later. Remove from pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, add 1-2 tbsp more oil, and on medium high heat, add 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 diced onion and 1-2 diced green chilli. Add a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes.
- Stir fry for 2-3 minutes until the onions start to turn translucent and everything gets nice and fragrant.
- Add 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp sweet soy sauce, if using, and 2 tbsp brown sugar. Stir, and add about 1/4 cup broth to create your sauce. You can adjust the amount of broth to your liking based on how saucy you want your chicken to be in the end. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
- Add the broccoli florets and bring to a boil.
- Add the half-cooked chicken along with a generous handful of thai basil leaves.
- Stir and bring to a boil. Simmer in medium for 2-3 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Give it a taste and add more soy sauce, brown sugar or chilli flakes to taste.
- Serve immediately with rice or noodles of choice!
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