This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging - one of the longest running food blog 'events' on the web. This week it is being hosted by Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything Once. Weekend Herb Blogging was created by Kalyn and is now organized by Haalo, WHB is now in its 4th successful year of showcasing every week delicious (and often unusal) foods prepared using herbs, fruits and vegetables by bloggers around the world.
More on the herb that is taking over my garden these days, Thai Basil, after the post . . .
Tonight was all about Thai food. This week's salad for the Sunday Salad Samplers is a Thai beef salad (come back on Sunday for more about that) aoI searched far and wide for something to go with it. I also wanted to start using up some of the Thai basil that is growing like a weed in the garden. Normally I make Basil Chicken, which is great,but I really wanted something a bit different.
Finally I googled about for 'thai basil noodles chicken' and found a recpe on the Chow website. I modified it a bit and tossed it together for dinner. It was AMAZING! The perfect thing to go with Maria's amazing beef salad and some fresh spring rolls I threw together this afternoon. What a feast.
With Pad Kee Mao a tangle of rice noodles wraps up juicy ground chicken, tender pieces of egg, and sweet bell peppers. With the addition of an Asian-inspired sauce and fiery jalapeños, you have a quick, easy take on a popular Thai dish that would be great for a weeknight dinner.
Pad Kee Mao (Spicy Ground Chicken and Rice Noodles)
1 (14-ounce) package wide rice noodles
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from 2 limes)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
3 medium garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 pound ground chicken
2 medium red or green bell peppers, thinly sliced
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 medium jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced
1 cup loosely packed Thai basil leaves
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
handful of bean sprouts
1/4 cup chopped, roasted peanuts
Place noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak for about 15 minutes, until loose and pliable but not soft; drain. Combine oyster sauce, fish sauce, and lime juice in a medium nonreactive bowl, mix well, and set aside.
Heat oil in a large (12-inch) frying pan over medium-high heat. Once heated, add shallots and garlic and cook for 2 minutes or until softened but not brown. Add ground chicken and break into small pieces. Cook until chicken is white and almost cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add bell peppers and stir-fry just until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
Push chicken mixture to one side of the pan and add eggs to the center. Scramble with a spatula until eggs are set and don’t run, about 1 minute. Push eggs to the side and add reserved sauce ingredients. Once the sauce is boiling, add the drained noodles and toss to coat. Remove from heat, add jalapeños, cilantro, and basil, and toss to combine.
Garnish with cilantro and peanuts; serve immediately.
Thai basil (Thai name, bai horapa), also known as Oriental basil or Asian basil, is a cultivar of sweet basil commonly used in the cuisines of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.
Compared to the common Mediterranean sweet basil, Thai basil has a more pronounced licorice or anise flavor. Because of this, it is sometimes referred to as anise or licorice basil, but it should not be confused with the American cultivars of these basils. The flavor is peppery and warm, and although there is a difference between Thai basil and common sweet basil, they can be substituted for each other in most recipes. Thai basil tends to hold its flavor better when cooked than its Mediterranean cousin does.
The leaves of Thai basil are deep green, smaller than those of Western basil, and arranged on purple-hued stems. The flowers, which are edible as well, are red-purple and licorice flavored. The flowers of Thai basil form in a cluster, not on a spike, unlike those of common basil. The flowers make an attractive plate garnish or colorful addition to green salads.
Thai basil can be found fresh in some markets, particularly in areas where there are sizable Asian populations. It is not hard to grow, however, and makes a lovely addition to a backyard herb, flower, vegetable, or ornamental garden. The Siam
Outdoors, Thai basil likes well-drained soil. It is sensitive to frost and should not be planted outside until both day- and nighttime temperatures are fixed above 50 degrees F (10 degrees C). Although it will grow happily in full sun, it requires only 4 to 6 hours of sunlight a day, and will do fine in filtered or indirect light. It forms a leafy little bush, approximately 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm) both tall and wide.
Planted in the garden as a companion herb, Thai basil is thought to repel aphids, tomato horn worms, and certain mites. New shoots can be pinched back to encourage more lush growth and prevent flowering, if desired. Leaves can be air-dried or microwave-dried to preserve them.
When harvesting Thai basil, don’t remove single leaves as you need them. Pinch off the top section of a stem, stopping just at the intersection where two leaves emerge. This will prompt the plant to produce new growth branching off from the place where you removed the stem. Removing leaves individually will not achieve the same result. Rinse the leaves in cool water to remove dirt or grit and pat dry between paper towels before use.
Thai basil is considerably stronger in flavor than Mediterranean basil, so make adjustments to the amount used if substituting one for the other. Use Thai basil for Thai, Indian, and Italian recipes. Fresh, it can be added to salads, and either the fresh or dried forms can be used to flavor soups, pasta, and vegetable dishes.
Thai basil matches well with eggplant, rice, poultry, and seafood. In Thai cuisine, great handfuls of fresh Thai basil leaves are added to spicy stir-fries. Thai basil can also be steeped into a soothing tea and used to flavor vinegar and oil as dressing components.
This information comes from the wise geek - a great source for information on so many different things!