Thai Lime Leaf Chicken Stir-Fry Recipe

Flat lay. Overhead high angle POV of makrut lime leaves and a red chili pepper on a bamboo chopping block background.
Lewis Mulatero/Getty Images
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 2 to 3 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
798 Calories
44g Fat
58g Carbs
55g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 3
Amount per serving
Calories 798
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 44g 56%
Saturated Fat 8g 41%
Cholesterol 139mg 46%
Sodium 1839mg 80%
Total Carbohydrate 58g 21%
Dietary Fiber 15g 55%
Protein 55g
Calcium 539mg 41%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Like most Thai stir-fries, this personal favorite cooks up quickly once you have all the ingredients ready. Thai lime leaves (also known as makrut lime leaves) are an essential part of this stir-fry, so don't skimp on them. You can buy lime leaves at most Asian grocery stores—look for them in frozen packets. Serve this stir-fry with jasmine rice or coconut rice.


  • For the Sauce:
  • 3 spring onions (sliced)
  • 1 chili (red fresh, or 1 tsp. chili sauce add more or less according to your preference)
  • 6 to 8 makrut lime leaves (cut into strips with scissors, available frozen in Asian/Chinese food stores)
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 cup basil (fresh)
  • 2 tbsp. coconut (canola, or other vegetable oil)
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce (regular)
  • 1 tsp. dark soy sauce (or 1/2 tbsp. regular soy sauce)
  • 1 to 2 tsp. sugar (brown)
  • For the Chicken:
  • 3 chicken breasts (or 5 to 6 thighs, cut into strips or bite-size pieces)
  • 2 bell peppers (1 red, 1 green, chopped into bite-size pieces)
  • 1 onion (small chopped or cut into thin wedges)
  • 1 handful basil (fresh)
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil

Steps to Make It

  1. Make the sauce by placing all sauce ingredients in a food processor or mini-chopper. When cutting the lime leaves, be sure to discard any inedible stems.

  2. Process well to form a thick sauce or paste. Taste-test for sweetness/sour balance, adding more sugar to taste (you will adjust the other flavors later). Set aside.

  3. Place 2 tbsp. oil in a wok or large frying pan and set over medium-high heat.

  4. Add the onions and chicken.

  5. Stir-fry 6 to 8 minutes, or until chicken is well cooked. When stir-frying, add a little white wine (1 tbsp. at a time) whenever the wok/pan becomes too dry. This will keep the ingredients cooking nicely without having to add more oil (and fat/calories).

  6. Add the bell peppers, and stir-fry another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bell pepper pieces have softened slightly and are bright in color.

  7. Turn heat down to medium. Now add the sauce, stirring well to incorporate.

  8. Do a taste-test for salt and spice, adding more fish sauce if not salty enough, or more fresh chili (or chili sauce) if not spicy enough. If you prefer a "saucier" stir-fry, you can add a few tbsp. of chicken stock, coconut milk, or cream.

  9. Tilt onto a serving dish or portion out onto individual plates. Add a generous topping of fresh basil, and serve with either white or brown rice, or Thai coconut rice.


  • Try not to fry or over-heat this sauce, or you'll lose all the great flavor and health benefits.