This basil shrimp is simple to make and will please anyone who is partial to Thai flavors. The dish comes together quickly and easily in the wok, and the stir-frying method keeps both the juiciness of the shrimp as well as the sweetness of the peppers in the dish, not to mention all of those wonderful nutrients! There are two key ingredients to this dish that make it sing, so be sure to have them on hand: Golden Mountain Sauce, which is a Thai sauce that can be purchased at most Asian food stores (you'll find it next to the fish sauce), and fresh basil. If you can find Thai basil, great! - if not, regular sweet basil works well too.
- 1 lb./.450 kg. shrimp (medium to large, shells removed)
- 4 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 chili (red or green, finely sliced, or more to taste)
- 2 green onions (sliced)
- 1 bell pepper (green, sliced)
- 1 bell peppers (red, sliced)
- 1 handful cashews (dry roasted, unsalted)
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup Thai basil (fresh compressed or substitute with sweet basil)
- 3 tablespoon chicken stock
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- For Stir-Fry Sauce:
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 tablespoon Golden Mountain Sauce
- 1 tablespoon palm sugar (or brown sugar)
Combine the 'Stir-Fry Sauce' ingredients together in a cup, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Set aside.
Pound or process together the garlic, chili, and onion to create a paste. Alternatively, mince them all individually and stir together. Set aside.
Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat.
Drizzle in oil, then add the shrimp. Stir-fry 1 minute, or until shrimp are light pink on both sides.
Add the garlic-chili paste you made earlier and continue stir-frying 1 more minute.
Add the peppers and chicken stock. Stir-fry 3 minutes, or until peppers have softened but are still bright in color and retain some crispness.
While stir-frying, add the stir-fry sauce you made earlier.
Remove from heat. Stir in the cashews and fold in the basil. (If basil leaves are large, stack them into a neat pile and slice them up into shreds)
Taste-test the dish, adding more lime juice if too salty (this will depend on the saltiness of your stock), or more fish sauce if not salty or flavorful enough. If too salty for your taste, add another generous squeeze lime juice. Add more fresh-cut chili (or some dried chili flakes) for more heat.
Taste-test Tip: This dish is meant to be primarily salty-spicy, with the zesty taste of the basil coming through. These flavors are then balanced out by plain (unsalted) rice served on the side. For those who don't like their food too salty, garnish with wedges of fresh lime to be squeezed over before eating.