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Stir-Fried Chicken with Snap Peas and Basil

Serves: Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut lengthwise into ½-inch strips, then crosswise into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce, divided
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, plus 3 cups torn and lightly packed
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 4 ounces sugar snap peas, strings removed, halved on the bias
  • 8 scallions, white and light green parts finely chopped, dark green parts cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 or 3 serrano chilies, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar


Procedures:

Using both chopped basil (mixed with the cooked chicken) and whole basil leaves (stirred in at the end) provided the full herbal flavor and fragrance we were looking for. Serve with steamed white or brown jasmine rice.

Don’t begin cooking until all ingredients are prepared. The stir-fry comes together quickly, so make sure everything is ready and close at hand.


In a medium bowl, stir together the chicken, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, soy sauce, and ½ teaspoon white pepper. Let sit for 15 minutes, then drain and pat dry with paper towels.

Heat a wok over medium-high until a drop of water evaporates within 1 to 2 seconds of contact (about 3 minutes). Swirl in 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the chicken in a single layer. Cook undisturbed for 1 minute, letting the chicken begin to sear. Then stir-fry with a metal spatula until well browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a clean bowl, then stir in the chopped basil and vinegar. Set aside.

Swirl the remaining 1 tablespoon oil into the wok and heat until just smoking. Add the snap peas, scallion whites and chilies. Stir-fry until the peas are lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the sugar. Add the scallion greens and chicken with accumulated juices and stir-fry until most of the juices have evaporated, about 1 minute.

Off heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce and the torn basil. Stir until the basil is wilted. Taste and season with white pepper.

by Christopher Kimball

 
 
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