Thai basil chicken with rice noodles

High iron recipe for carbo-loading diets

Thai basil has a distinctive taste, similar to European sweet basil*, but with a much more pronounced aniseed flavor. You can buy it in most oriental supermarkets, but if you do not have one near you, then just use the standard European variety — not quite as authentic, but delicious all the same. This meal is great because it is packed with goodness but is very versatile.

Chicken cashew nuts meal

It is also fresh and healthy, and provides a really good balance of carbohydrate, protein, vitamins and minerals. I prefer to use free-range organic chicken thighs for this dish — the meat is darker, juicier and contains more iron.


1. Heat the oil (any really but groundnut or sunflower are best) in a frying pan or wok. Add the chili (add more, plus some whole chillis, if you want more heat), ginger and garlic and fry for 20 to 30 seconds.

2. Add the chicken (organic and free range if possible) and stir-fry for a minute or so until sealed.

3. Stir in the sugar (palm sugar if you have some), satay sauce or chopped nuts and the fish sauce and then fry gently until the meat is cooked. Add a little water or stock is it looks a bit dry.

4. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the noodles according to pack instructions.

5. Add the green beans to the wok and continue to stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes.

6. Stir in the oyster sauce and then add the basil leaves. Taste for seasoning — you may need more chili, fish sauce or sugar.

7. Serve with the noodles, garnished with basil leaves and a wedge of lime.


*Basil is an excellent source of vitamin K and a very good source of iron, calcium and vitamin A. In addition, basil is a good source of dietary fiber, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C and potassium.


  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 5 tbs fresh Thai basil leaves (large bunch)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp fresh red chilli, chopped
  • 2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into very thin strips
  • 4 chicken Thai fillets or 2 chicken breasts
  • 1-2 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 50g chopped peanuts, cashew nuts or 1 tbs satay sauce
  • 2 handfuls green beans, cut into pieces
  • 125g rice noodles, cooked according to pack instructions

Vital Statistics

Serves: 2
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 15 minutes
Difficulty: Relatively easy
Good for: Balanced meal — serve as midweek standard fare or as part of a dinner party. Also a delicious way to carbo-load if you are preparing for a race

Calories (kcal): 600.4
Protein (g): 56.3
Carbs (g): 29.4
Fat (g): 29.7
Fiber (g): 2.2

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