I have loved thai food ever since I was a little fat kid. It was one of those cuisines where although I loved it, it never quite satisfied me because whatever I ordered, I could eat ALL of it, in minutes, and walk away feeling like I was starving. Looking back it’s likely the fact that many dishes are made with a good amount of sugar and they’re almost always eaten with a piping hot bowl of sticky rice. I think white rice in the right person’s diet is something completely acceptable but if you’re a little fat kid gorging on thai food, well, you might be better off without it.
I’ve been toying with various thai dishes for years and for the most part never really miss any of the sugar. Pad thai has proven to be hard to imitate well so for now I will just have to live without it or deal with it as a rare, occasional treat. Basil chicken lends itself very well to an easily paleo-fied healthy meal. This is made with no sugar and no soy. Coconut aminos take the place of soy sauce in many of my dishes and they work particularly well here because of their sweetness. They’re made from fermented coconut sap and while most of those sugars break down in the process, they’re still sweeter than soy sauce and not as salty. For fish sauce, find Red Boat brand at a local natural foods store or order it online. It’s made of fish and salt, nothing else.
Start this simple Paleo Thai Basil Chicken with Chili Fish Sauce by mixing your cooking sauce and setting it aside: 2 tbsp coconut aminos, 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar.
I found these dried chilis in a jar with the other thai food and condiments.
Cut your shallots, garlic, and chilis.
Slice your scallions and mushrooms and set aside in a bowl. De-stem your thai basil and you can either leave the leaves whole, or roughly chop them. Thai basil is related to italian basil but it has a minty licorice taste whereas italian basil is sweeter. They can be used interchangeably if you can’t find thai basil but the taste difference is notable. Check your local asian market. In San Francisco you can find it at Duc Loi in the Mission.
Saute your shallots, garlic, and chilis in 1 tbsp coconut oil for about 3 minutes until softened.
Next add your sliced chicken and cook about 5 minutes or until cooked through and starting to brown.
When the chicken is done, add in your sauce and cook 3-4 minutes until slightly thickened and reduced by half.
Add in your mushrooms, shallots, and basil and cook about 3 minutes.
It’s done when your mushrooms are softened and basil is wilted.
I also found a thai recipe site that mentioned this is traditionally served with a chili fish sauce and sliced cucumber. I found the sauce refreshing as a dip and drizzled on top. It’s sort of a thai condiment that adds a salty tangy taste to whatever you’re eating. Mix fish sauce, lime juice, and shallots in a small bowl and serve with your chicken.
- 2 tbsp coconut aminos
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 shallots finely diced
- 4 garlic cloves finely minced
- 6 dried chili peppers, crushed or chopped
- 1 lb chicken finely sliced
- .5lb sliced shitake mushrooms
- 3 green onions sliced, whites and most of greens
- 1 cup chopped thai basil (italian basil will work too but will be sweeter and taste different)
- 1 shallot minced
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- ¼ lime juiced
- Mix fish sauce, vinegar, and coconut aminos in a bowl and set aside.
- cut your shallots and garlic and set aside in a small bowl. Crush dried chilis into bowl.
- Slice 1lb chicken and set aside.
- Slice mushrooms and scallions, and set aside in a bowl with de-stemmed basil.
- Heat 1 tbsp coconut oil in pan until melted.
- Add shallots, garlic, and chilis and cook three minutes until softened.
- Add chicken and cook 5 minutes or until cooked through and starting to brown.
- Add in sauce and reduce by half, cooking 3-4 minutes
- Add in mushrooms, scallions, and basil and cook another 3 minutes until mushrooms are softened and basil is wilted.
- Combine crushed chilis, lime juice, shallots, and fish sauce in small dipping bowl.