Gai Phad Horapa

Fried Rice with Chicken and Basil

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The sweet, sharp aniseed flavour of Thai sweet basil or bai horapa contrasts perfectly with the umami flavours of fish sauce, the dish’s only seasoning. In this dish of fried rice with chicken and basil, Thai sweet basil may be substituted with holy basil (bai ka prao) if available. Replace the chicken breast with minced chicken for quicker cooking or if you desire a more ‘authentic’ version of this popular lunchtime dish.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup (60 ml) cooking oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, crushed
  • 300 g chicken breast meat, finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 20 Thai sweet basil leaves (bai horapa)
  • 750 g cooked rice

Crisp-Fried Shallots

  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 4 shallots, peeled and finely sliced

Condiment

  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, thinly sliced
  • fish sauce (nam pla), to taste

Method

  1. Prepare the crisp-fried shallots. In a clean pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and move them around in the pan until the shallots are lightly browned. Remove from the pan and drain well on absorbent paper. Set aside until needed.
  2. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and chillies and stir-fry until lightly browned and fragrant.
  3. Add the chicken and stir-fry for 2–3 minutes.
  4. Add the fish sauce and basil leaves. Fry until the basil leaves are crisp. Remove a few basil leaves and reserve for garnish.
  5. Add the rice and stir-fry over high heat for 3 minutes, stirring briskly so the rice does not burn. Remove from heat.
  6. Dish out and garnish with reserved basil leaves and crisp-fried shallots. Serve with fish sauce with bird’s eye chillies on the side.

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