Basil Chicken Stir-Fry

This easy stir-fry is a favorite in our house. It has really simple ingredients but the flavors all together are a hit. This is actually one of like three meals my husband learned to make on his own, so that is rock solid proof that it’s easy. And as usual, I like to make some short cuts that make this meal even quicker without compromising taste.
SONY DSCThe first thing I do is toss a few cut up chicken breasts in some corn starch, salt and pepper. This is what gives the meat that classic asian coating. It’s not as thick as breading but it gives it more texture and encourages browning. I don’t ever skip this step but you could if you didn’t have corn starch, it wouldn’t alter the taste that much.
SONY DSCNext I cut up an onion and red pepper. The recipe calls to partially cook the chicken first until its lightly brown. You then remove the chicken and cook the onion, pepper and garlic separate for a few minutes. This seems like a pain but I think it helps to make sure all of the ingredients are cooked properly and nothing is over done or under done. You obviously don’t want to eat raw chicken but you also want to make sure the onions and peppers still have a little bit of crunch to them.
SONY DSCAll in all, this meal usually takes about 20-30 minutes to make. On most nights I use minced garlic from a jar and dry basil instead of fresh. Those are things I will always have in stock and it two less ingredients I have to prepare and chop. If I’m making this meal for company I usually use all fresh ingredients but on a regular night, I just don’t have time for that, and it still tastes great! Below is the full recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks from Martha Stewart.


1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 4) cut cross-wise into 1/4-inch-thick slices

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper

6 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 small onion, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges

2 bell peppers (red, green or a mix) ribs and seeds removed, cut into 1/4-inch- wide strips

6 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar (unseasoned)

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 1/2 cups fresh Thai Basil, larger leaves torn in half*

Cooked rice for serving (optional)

* I have never made this recipe with Thai basil, I can’t ever find it. Regular basil will do just fine.


1. Pat chicken pieces dry with paper towels. Toss chicken with cornstarch until completely coated; season generously with salt and pepper.

2. In large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high. Cook half the chicken, turning once, until browned on both sides but not completely cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with another 2 teaspoons oil and remaining chicken, transfer to plate.

3. Wipe skillet clean with a paper towel. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil, along with the onion and bell peppers; cook over medium-high heat, tossing often until vegetables begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

4. Add water, vinegar, soy sauce and chicken; cook, tossing, until chicken is cooked through, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in basil leaves. Serve over rice if desired.


Have a great weekend everyone!

3 thoughts on “Basil Chicken Stir-Fry

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