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Dinner Tonight: Thai-Style Minced Chicken with Basil and Chiles

[Photo: Blake Royer]

Making a stir-fry is one of the most satisfying ways to cook, because it happens at very high heat and very quickly. There's no messing around: you have to have every single ingredient chopped, measured, poured, and ready to go. This frees you to concentrate on the task at hand, instead of frantically chopping some onions while the garlic is on the stove burning. In French cooking, mise en place is a virtue; but when you have a screaming hot wok and literally seconds between success and disaster, it's a requirement.

I found this recipe in Linda Carucci's Cooking School Secrets For Real World Cooks. It's a simple, excellent recipe. The flavors revolve around two Thai sauces: fish sauce and black soy sauce, for saltiness and sweetness, respectively. While it's easy to find fish sauce, black soy sauce is a little trickier, but you can add a little molasses or even brown sugar to regular soy sauce to approximate. Add in some fragrant basil leaves and some fresh chiles, and you've got a tasty ten-minute dinner on your hands.

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