Thai sweet basil chicken with jasmine rice

An excellent balance of carbs, protein, good fats and vitamins

(serves 4)

Nutrition per serving

Energy 635kcal
Protein 34g
Carbohydrate 54g (sugars 7g)
Fat 30g (saturates 5g)
Salt 2.6g
Fibre 5g



4 tbsps groundnut or sunflower oil
2 small fresh red chillies, deseeded and chopped (add the seeds, plus some whole chillies, if you want more heat)
8-10cm piece (or 45g) fresh ginger, peeled and cut into very thin strips
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
8 skinless, boneless free-range chicken thigh fillets or 4 chicken breasts
2 tsps sugar (palm sugar if you have it)
100g chopped peanuts or cashew nuts, or 2tbsps satay sauce
3-4tbsps Thai fish sauce
2 large handfuls green beans, cut into half
2 tbsps oyster sauce
10 tbsps or a very large bunch of Thai basil leaves (use regular basil if you can’t find any)
250g fragrant jasmine rice
A few basil leaves and lime wedges to serve

Preparation time 5mins
Cooking time 15mins
Equipment Wok or large deep-frying pan, medium saucepan, sharp knife



  1. Rinse the rice in cold water and then place in a pan with 600ml water (enough to cover the rice by 1.5cm or in, or to the first joint of your middle finger). It’s authentic not to use salted water – the rice should be a plain accompaniment to the curry. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, bring to the boil and simmer for 7-10mins, or until all the water has been absorbed. Turn off the heat and leave for 4-5mins. Uncover and fluff up the rice to serve. Meanwhile, heat up the oil in a frying pan or wok. Add the chilli, ginger and garlic, and fry for 20-30secs.
  2. Add the chicken and stir-fry for a minute or so until sealed. Stir in the sugar, chopped nuts or satay sauce and 3 tsbps of fish sauce, and then fry gently for about 10mins or until the meat is cooked. Add a little water or stock if it looks a bit dry. Add the green beans to the chicken and continue to stir-fry for a further 2-3mins.
  3. Stir in the oyster sauce and then add the basil leaves. Taste for seasoning – you may need more chilli, fish sauce or sugar. Serve with the steamed jasmine rice to soak up the juices; garnish with basil leaves and a wedge of lime.



Fresh, quick to prepare and jam-packed with nutrition, this meal is also very versatile. It makes a speedy midweek treat, but is still good enough to serve up at a dinner party. The high-GI carbohydrate in Thai jasmine rice breaks down quickly during digestion and is absorbed more rapidly into the bloodstream than lower GI varieties of rice, such as basmati. That makes it an ideal meal for replenishing depleted glycogen levels and aiding recovery after a big endurance workout.