Thai Lime Leaf Chicken Stir-Fry

Flat lay. Overhead high angle POV of kaffir lime leaves and a red chili pepper on a bamboo chopping block background.
Lime leaves with red chili pepper. Lewis Mulatero/Getty Images
Ratings (12)
  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: Serves 2-3
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
798 Calories
44g Fat
58g Carbs
55g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Like most Thai stir-fries, this personal favorite cooks up really quickly once you have all the ingredients ready. Thai lime leaves (also known as kaffir or 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)
  • 6-8 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)
  • 1-2 tsp. sugar (brown)
  • For the Chicken:
  • 3 chicken breasts, or 5-6 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

For a step-by-step version of this recipe, see: How to Make Chicken Stir-Fry with Bell Peppers, Lime Leaf, and Basil.

  1. First, 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 6-8 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 2-3 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. Tip: Try not to fry or over-heat this sauce, or you'll lose all the great flavor and health benefits.

  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.