Basil chicken – anyone who has grown up in an Indian household would gasp at the audacity of using these two words in the same sentence. While most Indian revere the plant as an auspicious symbol, several cuisines across the globe demand the use of basil. It’s refreshing aroma often takes your taste buds for a spin. Throw in a few basil leaves into any dish and it’s going to turn magical. I’m about to share one such splendid recipe with you.

I tried basil chicken for the first time when I was still in film school. My roommate, who belonged to Thailand, would often test her culinary skills in an attempt to recreate the taste of her home. Needless to say, I was the guinea pig for all her kitchen-based experiments.

So, one fine evening, after I got back from a hectic shoot, she asked me if I’d like to taste the dish she was cooking. Perpetually starved by virtue of living in a hostel, I couldn’t say no to her offer. Next thing I know, she served chunks of chicken coated with a light sauce along with a bowl of steamed rice. I was smitten by the chicken at first bite. The flavour profile was unique; it was unlike anything I had tasted before.

“What did you put in this”, I asked my roommate out of curiosity. “I think it’s called tulsi here”, she replied.

The thought of adding basil leaves to chicken had never crossed my mind until that day. And how I regret it now, knowing the magic it can do. Puritans would often shun at the very mention of something like basil chicken. But if you don’t mix your religious sentiments with food, the this recipe will amaze you with its simplicity and great taste.

Thai basil chicken served with steamed rice

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Without further ado, here’s my favourite basil chicken recipe.


  • Boneless chicken, 500 gm (cut into small cubes)
  • Garlic, 15 – 20 cloves (crushed)
  • Basil leaves, 1 cup
  • Green chilies, 4 – 5 pcs (chopped)
  • Dark soy sauce, 3 tbsp
  • Salt and sugar to taste
  • Oil, 1 tbsp


  • Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add garlic and fry until it turns golden brown.
  • Now add the green chilies, basil leaves and soy sauce. Stir and mix all the ingredients properly.
  • Add the chicken and stir until the chicken is nicely coated with soy sauce.
  • Cook on medium flame until the chicken is tender. Season with salt and sugar as per your taste.
  • That’s it. Now enjoy your basil chicken with some piping hot steamed rice.