Vegan Spicy Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Kra Pao Gai)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Here is another quick & easy one.  None of the ingredients are particularly exotic.  Though holy basil is the authentic basil to use in this dish – I could not find it – so I used Thai sweet basil.  You can use regular basil if Thai basil is unavailable to you.  I used the bird’s eye chilies seen below but serrano or jalapeno peppers would also work.

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Vegan Spicy Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Kra Pao Gai)

serves 2 with rice

INGREDIENTS

9-12 oz vegan chicken (I used Beyond Meat) – thawed

1-5 garlic cloves (I used 5) – crushed

1-3 Thai (or other) chili peppers (Thai chilies are very hot – and you might want to pick around them when eating this dish) – chopped

1 TBS olive oil

1 TBS vegan oyster or mushroom favored sauce

1/2 tsp light soy sauce

1 tsp kecap manis (dark, sweet soy sauce) or 1/2 tsp sugar

1 TBS vegan hoisin sauce

1 packed cup fresh basil

1 cup water with 1 TBS cornstarch whisked into it

Cooked rice for 2

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DIRECTIONS

Muddle the garlic & chili to release their flavors and chop the chicken.

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Heat the oil in a saute pan & add the chili garlic mixture.  Sizzle for about one minute & add the chicken, light & sweet soy sauces, oyster/mushroom sauce & hoisin.  Mix it together & add the water/cornstarch mixture.  Cook until it boils down to a nice, thick sauce.  Add water if it gets too thick.  Just before serving – add the basil.  Serve with rice.

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Vegan Spicy Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups (Larb Gai – Laab Gai)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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OK – now we are talking!  These are clean & light & perfectly suited to hot weather – both in the ease of preparation & the lack of anything too rich, dense or filling.  Another nice thing is that these guys come together in less than 20 minutes.  I think lemongrass is a traditional ingredient but I left it out – mainly because I know most people don’t have ready access to it.

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As always, I used Beyond Meat’s chicken because it is, in my opinion, the best vegan chicken on the market.  If you click that link – you can find a store locator & maybe even a coupon!  I also used jarred ginger & garlic but fresh would, clearly, be even better.

You can make this as spicy (or not) as you like.  I tend to go heavy on spice so keep that in mind if heat is not your bag.  For my money – the most critical detail in this recipe is the mint – but basil will do in a pinch.

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Vegan Spicy Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups (Larb Gai – Laab Gai)

Feeds 2

INGREDIENTS

Enough large lettuce leaves to make 6-8 individual cups/wraps

9 oz vegan chicken – thawed

1 TBS olive oil

1 jalapeno – seeded & minced

1/2 red bell pepper – slivered

1/2 red onion – diced

1 TBS ginger

1 TBS garlic

4+ TBS soy sauce or tamari

2 TBS brown sugar

1-3 TBS sriracha (according to your taste for heat)

1 TBS peanut butter (optional)

Cilantro

Fresh mint (or basil) – but really try it with mint – the mint is SO GOOD!

Lime wedges

GARNISHES (use as many or as few as you like)

Carrot – cut into matchsticks

Cucumber – cut into matchsticks

Red cabbage – slivered

Chopped peanuts

Scallions

Avocado (I show avocado in these photos but I did not add it to the wraps – though you might like to)

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DIRECTIONS

Set two plates with the lettuce cups on them.

In a food processor, pulse the chicken together with the jalapeno, half the onion & half the red bell pepper until it looks like pulled chicken or ground chicken (depending on the brand you are using) – or chop it all very fine, by hand)

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan & cook the remaining red onion & bell pepper for a few minutes.  Add the garlic, ginger, brown sugar, soy sauce, peanut butter & sriracha & blend until the sugar dissolves.  Add the chicken & heat through.  Tweak the seasonings & divide the chicken between the lettuce cups.  Top with cilantro and MINT (!) & serve with lime wedges & any other garnishes you opted to use.

Serve!

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