These Thai Basil Chicken Bowls are an easy 30 minute meal that’s great for weeknights! The flavors are the perfect balance of spicy and sweet and you’ll love the crunchy addition of the cashews and sweet mango slices!
Looking for another Thai inspired recipe? Try these Thai chicken lettuce wraps!
Thanks to my friends at Pacific Foods for sponsoring this post. As always all opinions are my own.
This was my first time making Thai Basil Chicken Bowls as well as my first time eating it. I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to try it, it’s so good! It’s spicy, a little sweet and there’s a ton of umami flavor. The fresh flavor from the basil paired perfectly with the sauce and gave me an excuse to use a good amount of it that’s growing in my garden right now.
Ingredients Needed to Make Thai Basil Chicken Bowls
- Ground chicken – You can also use ground turkey or ground beef.
- Garlic, shallots and ginger – The aromatics.
- Pacific Foods Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth
- Low sodium soy sauce or tamari for gluten free – I like to use low sodium to keep the sauce from being too salty.
- Rice vinegar – A mild vinegar often used in Asian cooking.
- Hoisin sauce, check brands for gluten free – Sometimes thought of as an Asian barbecue sauce. It’s thick, sweet, and tangy.
- Fish sauce – While it smells pretty awful, you won’t notice it once it’s incorporated into the sauce. It’s salty, funky, and adds great flavor to the dish.
- Chili paste (sambal oelek) – Spicy!
- Fresh basil – Regular “sweet” basil is what I used for this recipe, but if you can find Thai basil feel free to use it. It has more of an anise flavor compared to regular basil.
- Cashews – I used raw, but roasted unsalted will work too.
- Mango – Adds a nice sweet flavor that pairs well with the spicy notes in the sauce.
- Rice – White or brown rice can be used. I particularly love using jasmine rice.
What is Umami Flavor?
As I mentioned above, these Thai basil chicken bowls have a lot of umami flavor. So what exactly is umami? It’s been termed as our fifth basic taste alongside sweet, salty, sour and bitter.
Umami is a pleasant savory taste that you can’t quite describe, but will likely detect when you’re eating it. Some foods that are described as having umami are meat, seafood, tomatoes, seaweed, cheese, soy sauce, fish sauce along with a handful of others.
How to Make Thai Basil Chicken
Making this recipe is as easy as making a stir fry. Everything is cooked in one pan and can be on the table in 30 minutes.
- In a glass measuring cup or bowl whisk together the chicken broth, soy sauce (or tamari), rice vinegar, hoisin, fish sauce and chili paste.
- In a large skillet, sauté and crumble the ground chicken, shallots, garlic and ginger until the chicken is cooked through.
- Pour in the sauce and the cashews stir everything together. Lower the heat and let it simmer until the sauce thickens. Turn off the heat and stir in the basil.
- Fill bowls with rice and top with the Thai basil chicken. Finish the bowls with sliced mango and thinly sliced Thai chile pepper if desired.
A few ingredients that you’ll find in my Thai basil chicken recipe that you may not find in others are hoisin sauce, low sodium chicken broth and cashews.
Many recipes call for oyster sauce, however, after going to 3 stores I wasn’t able to find it. I Googled substitutions online and found that equal or near equal amounts of hoisin and soy sauce will create a similar flavor.
Cashews are another ingredient you don’t generally see in Thai basil chicken. You certainly don’t have to add them if you don’t want to spend the money or have an allergy. However, I highly recommend using them if you can. They add great texture, crunch and a subtle nutty flavor.
Low sodium chicken broth was another ingredient that isn’t typically used in the sauce. I chose to use it because it makes the sauce go further without having to add extra hoisin or soy sauce. While both of these ingredients are great and packed with flavor, they are high in sodium and sugar. I like to keep them in check so I can still get the flavor without over doing it.
I love using Pacific Foods Low Sodium Chicken Broth because it has great flavor and uses simple ingredients. The low sodium version is the way to go in this recipe since there’s already plenty of sodium in the soy sauce.
Do I Have to Use Fish Sauce?
No, but you should. If you’ve never cooked with fish sauce or know what it is, here’s the scoop. It’s a sauce made from fish coated in salt that have been fermented. Sounds gross and honestly it smells gross too. However, it adds a lot of depth of flavor and umami to sauces and it won’t make the dish taste like fermented fish.
More Bowl Recipes
- Honey Chipotle Meatball Bowls
- Ground Chicken Taco Bowls
- Spicy Salmon Bowls
- Southwest Steak Bowls
- Spring Roll Bowls
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil or sesame oil
- 1 pound lean ground chicken
- 1/4 cup sliced shallots
- 2 cloves of garlic, grated
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup basil leaves, torn or roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup Pacific Foods Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce (gluten free if needed)
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce or tamari for gluten free
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoon chili paste (sambal oelek)
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1 mango, sliced thin
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 1 Thai chile pepper, sliced thin (optional)
- Extra fresh basil leaves for topping
- In a small bowl whisk together the sauce ingredients and set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Add in the ground chicken, season with black pepper and use a wooden spoon to break it up. Cook for about 4 minutes and then add in the shallots, garlic and ginger. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the cashews and pour in the sauce. Stir until everything is coated in the sauce. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens and coats the chicken, about 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the basil. Serve the chicken over rice and topped with sliced mango, Thai chile and extra basil.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 530Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 803mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 5gSugar: 17gProtein: 44g