I made this Spicy Basil Chicken last week for lunch, for my brother and I, because someone on Twitter had been talking about the recipe. It was actually a recipe I had saved and intended to make this summer, but never did for some reason. But I had all of the ingredients, including already cut up chicken in the freezer, so it seemed like an easy lunch.

It was absolutely delicious. Enough so that I’m making it for dinner tomorrow night. However. It was so freakin’ spicy that I was sweating and had tears leaking from the corners of my eyes. So I’ll be adapting it just a little to cut some of the spice. The flavor itself, though, is just lovely.

Original recipe is here, on allrecipes.com

INGREDIENTS

* 2 tablespoons chili oil
* 2 cloves garlic
* 3 hot chile peppers
* 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into bite-size pieces
* 1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
* 1 teaspoon garlic salt
* 1 teaspoon black pepper
* 5 tablespoons oyster sauce
* 1 cup fresh mushrooms
* 1 cup chopped onions
* 1 bunch fresh basil leaves

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the garlic and chile peppers until golden brown. Mix in chicken and sugar, and season with garlic salt and pepper. Cook until chicken is no longer pink, but not done.
2. Stir oyster sauce into the skillet. Mix in mushrooms and onions, and continue cooking until onions are tender and chicken juices run clear. Remove from heat, and mix in basil. Let sit 2 minutes before serving.

My notes: What I’d do differently is use only one tablespoon hot oil and substitute one tablespoon olive oil. If you don’t have hot chiles, you can use red pepper flakes instead, but use only a teaspoon or so. You could potentially leave these out, but then I’d use the full amount of hot oil.

In the reviews, I noticed some people saying they’d cut back on the oyster sauce because they made it and it was too salty. This is not the fault of the amount of oyster sauce but actually the fault of the BRAND of oyster sauce you use. If you compare labels, you’ll see that some oyster sauces have twice (yes twice) the amount of sodium of others. So buy an oyster sauce that has less sodium, don’t cut back on the amount of oyster sauce.

Also, I also noted that some people in the reviews said they’d skipped the basil. This is criminal, really. I did a before/after basil tasting and the basil adds another depth of flavor that makes this dish truly outstanding, and not just ordinary. Don’t skip the basil. This is a fairly limited-ingredient recipe, so if you can help it, you don’t want to leave out ingredients (except maybe mushrooms, since some people just don’t like the taste/texture of them).

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