Thai Basil Chicken: WIN

Since coming back to America my adventuring has been put on hold and I have been focusing on reconnecting with family and friends I haven’t seen for the past 4 years of being abroad.

One big thing I have been doing is missing my Thai diet. Not only have I reinstated breads and dairy into my diet, my portion sizes have been on the rise. Welcome back to the fast food nation! Actually, pizza aside I haven’t been eating all that much fast food, but when Louis C.K.’s joke “the meal is not over when I’m full. The meal is over when I hate myself” becomes a reality, I mean……

Anyway, since I miss the lighter feeling of Thai food on the stomach and  I made pizza a staple meal last week in California, I have decided to change things up a bit. I’ve taken to the kitchen to attempt playing Thai chef! The great thing about Thai food is that a recipe is literally just a suggestion of what to put in it and you can bend it however you want. On the other hand, ingredients are difficult if not impossible to find.

I found this recipe for Thai basil chicken (pad grapow gai ผัดกระเพราไก่) and decided to try it out. There are three ingredients you will probably have a problem finding; Thai chilies, holy basil, and dark soy sauce.

I still haven’t found dark soy sauce or Thai holy basil, but I did get lucky with the chilies! I found green chilies at Winco and a couple of days ago I found frozen red chilies in an Asian market! If you live in the Boise area you can find them at Orient Market on  Emerald St. For the Thai holy basil I just use regular Thai basil and you can find that in most supermarkets. I’m sure you can make dark soy sauce at home but I just leave it out. It’s still good!

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The picture doesn’t really do it justice, but making this Thai dish was a definite success!!

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Goal: Try a New Recipe Weekly

When making my goals list in early January, I wrote down that I wanted to try at least one new recipe every week as long as I am in my current flat. And guess who has actually been succesful?! That’s right, you are reading the words of a master chef. Ok, that might be a bit (read: a lot) of an overstatement, but still…I’m doing better than my usual beans in a can meal. I have a somewhat unhealthy addiction to pinterest, but one good thing to come from these hours of trolling others’ pins is the plethora of recipes I’ve accumulated, and I now have the kitchen to create culinary masterpieces sub-par copycats.
Actually, I think I’ve done pretty well for myself! I recently attempted to make some spinach ricotta stuffed chicken and let me tell you…it’s my new favorite. Since everything in New Zealand is expensive (especially when it comes to fresh food and dairy) I made some amendments to the recipe. You can find the original recipe here, but I will share with you my variation. Bon appetite! 🙂

Spinach Stuffed Chicken
Ingredients:
1 Tbsp butter
1 small onion-finely chopped
1-2 garlic cloves-minced
dried basil and parsley (or any other herbs you think would go well)
just over 1 C cheese-I used mild and edam cheeses
1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp salt
pinch cinnamon
pinch pepper
2 chicken breasts (the recipe says this is for 6 chicken breasts, but I like to seriously stuff these bad boys)

1.Preheat oven to 190*C
2. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic, stirring often, until softened (about 3-5 mins)
3. Add spinach, basil and parsley and cook (stirring) until spinach wilts and moisture evaporates (about 2 mins). Let cool completely.
4. Mix in cheese, egg yolk, salt, pepper and cinnamon.
5. Create pocket in chicken by cutting the breast almost all the way in half
6. Stuff spinach mix into it, cover with meat and tuck it in if you can (I usually can’t, and it works out fiiiine)
7. Place on foil lined pan, brush with butter. Bake about 35 mins or until golden and juice runs clear.