Like most of the Thai food we commonly eat in North America, basil chicken started as a classic Thai street food. At least that is what I’ve been told. My sister-in-law traveled extensively through that part of the world and that’s what she was told. Regardless of it’s origins, basil chicken is easy to prepare and very delicious.
I’ve prepared this recipe with pork, tofu, as well as shrimp and each was equally tasty.
Kitchen Cook Time and Prep: This recipe makes enough for 6 back country servings and takes about 35 minutes to prepare (once the chicken has been marinated). Depending on how finely you have sliced the chicken, dehydration time is about 10-12 hours. Using ground chicken will certainly shorten the drying time as and the re-constitution of the dish in the back country.
Tools: You will need a large mixing bowl to marinate the chicken and a large wok or fry pan to cook in. In the back country you will need a stove and a pot to boil water. A spoon or spork would be helpful.
Back Country – What to Expect: I’ve made this recipe so many times at home I couldn’t possibly count. Usually we serve basil chicken over rice or glass noodle (mung-bean noodle) but occasionally we eat it with steamed cauliflower or stir-fried mixed vegetables. In the back country serving this dish over rice, or anything else means a second pot to prepare the rice, noodles or veg and twice the fuel to boil twice the water. I prefer to add dehydrated mixed vegetables, ginger coconut rice or noodles to the dehydrated meal before I vacuum seal it. Keep in mind that more water will be required to re-constitute the dish.
RULE: 1 part dehydrated vegetable to 2 parts water (1/2 cup veg needs an additional 1 cup water); 1 part camp rice/glass noodle to 1 part water (1/2 cup camp rice/glass noodle needs an additional 1/2 cup water).
Try this recipe out, let me know if you have any questions or comments below, and make sure you share this recipe with your friends that love Thai food and the back country.
- 2 lbs chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, finely sliced
- 2 tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp coconut amino or soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp water
- 2 tsp coconut sugar
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 3 fresh red chilies, seeds and ribs removed, cut into thin slices,
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1½ cups lightly packed Thai basil leaves
- ½ cup raw cashews, chopped
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken with the fish sauce, soy sauce, water, and sugar. Marinate for 1-2 hours
- In a large wok, melt coconut oil over med-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the chilies and garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade with a slotted spoon and add it to wok. Cook until most of the pink is gone from chicken, about 3 minutes. Add the marinade, reduce heat to med-low and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until liquid is reduced by ⅓. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil.
- Allow to cool to room temperature.
Of all the world's cuisine, Thai food seems to be the easiest to adapt to the back country and back country preparation is super easy. First allow Basil Chicken to cool down to almost room temperature. Once cool, pour 1½ - 2 cups of mixture onto the drying sheet lined dehydrator tray. Use the meat setting (155-165 degrees) for this dish and allow to dry for 10-12 hours, overnight usually will do it. Drying time will depend on many factors, especially the thickness of the chicken
Once completely dry break into to small pieces. Store in zip locks or vacuum seal bags. I store all my back country meals in the freezer to prevent spoiling. Serves 1
Back Country Meal Prep
Bring 350ml (1 cup, 8 oz.) of water to boil. Pour the contents into the pot and boil for 5-7 minutes, or until it looks like it did before you dehydrated it. Serve over camp rice, re-hydrated mung bean noodle.