May 162011

One of my favorite restaurant genre choices these days is Thai.  It has so many of the components that make a perfect meal to me–lots of vegetables, flavorful sauces, and a whole lot of spice.  One of my go-to’s when I eat out is spicy thai basil sauce, and I’ve been wanting to recreate it for a while.  It had all the things I look for when I get it at a Thai restaurant, but it had two extra benefits: I knew exactly what went into it, and I didn’t pay $15 dollars for it! Win, win.

The process was incredibly simple: mix a sauce that was water, soy, fish sauce, and a touch of sugar.  Then saute ginger, garlic, and chilis, and add the shrimp.  Remove the shrimp, add the veggies, and once those are cooked put it all together again with the sauce.  Let the sauce reduce, toss in the basil and lime juice, and you’re good to go.  Then eat it, and be happy.

I wasn’t able to find “thai” basil (whole foods, I’m disappointed in you) but regular basil seemed to taste just fine.

Nutritional highlights:  This is an amazing, balance meal.  Shrimp for protein (you could easily sub chicken or tofu too), and a big mixture of veggies, amped up by plenty of garlic, ginger, chile, and a sweet/salty/savory sauce.  Served with some brown rice, brown rice noodles, or soba, it’s a really filling meal that gives you a great variety of nutrients (fiber/protein/vitamins/carbs).  It’s also an easily adaptable meals, so include the vegetables that you like!

Spicy Thai Basil Shrimp

adapted from Food Network


  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons Southeast Asian fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grated, peeled, fresh ginger
  • 1 red chili, thinly sliced into rounds(or use red pepper flakes)
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 medium onion, cut in thin slices
  • Vegetables I used:  Red pepper, baby bok choy, green beans, zucchini, and mushrooms
  • Other options: broccoli, snap peas, yellow squash, carrots….
  • 3/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Serve with: brown rice or brown rice noodles


In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, water, fish sauce, and sugar; set aside. Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and chili pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and stir-fry until pink but still translucent in the middle, about 2 minutes (do not over cook because they get more time in the pan at the end). Transfer the shrimp to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon. Add the vegetables to the skillet, and stir-fry until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Return the shrimp to the pan along with the soy sauce mixture. Bring to a boil, and stir-fry until the sauce glazes the shrimp, about 1-2 minute more. Remove pan from the heat, stir in the basil and lime juice. Transfer to a serving dish, serve immediately.

  2 Responses to “Spicy Thai Basil Shrimp”

  1. MMmm.. This looks so delicious! I to have such a soft spot for Thai food these days. I just stumbled upon your blog today. You have so many great recipes it’s really inspiring me. I especially couldn’t rest the Curry Roasted Cauliflower. I noticed you live in the City too and it reminded me of this cauliflower side dish I had at a restaurant called L’Artusi. It was to die for!!

    Thanks for the inspiration :)

  2. This is a wonderful recipe. Tastes just like the Thai restaurant that we frequent. Thank you!!

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>