recipes

Thai Basil Chicken Salad

We all know how to make chicken salad: chicken, mayonaisse, maybe some relish if you’re feeling Midwestern-crazy. It’s basic, it’s boring and I’m not here for it. Today I’ll share my Thai Basil Chicken Salad recipe with y’all. It’s easy enough that Antoni would share it on Queer Eye and pass it off as “fancy” to some unsuspecting middle-aged dude. Here we go:

Ingredient List:

1 chicken breast or 8 oz uncooked chicken
1 bundle of fresh thai basil
2 TBSP mayonaisse
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
1 tsp thai seasoning
1 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp sambal oelek sauce

Notes on Ingredients:

I prefer to get my seasonings in bulk at the River Market, either from a vendor or at Planters. I get my fresh thai basil there– I got the last bundle yesterday, and I think the lady behind me wanted to start something over it. Come at me and my basil, lady; you snooze you lose.

Prep Steps:

1. Dice your basil. I use my ninja chopper. The final yield should be ~1/2 to 1 cup.
2. Add garlic, 1 tsp thai seasoning and chicken. Cook your chicken breast until tender. You can do this in the oven, but I take the lazy way out and cook the chicken for 15 minutes in my Instant Pot.
3. Dice or shred your cooked chicken + basil. I use my Ninja Chopper.
4. Cool your chicken for a half hour. This is important! Think about it: mixing mayonaisse with hot shredded chicken is nasty and you know it; it’s basically like letting a Subway sandwich sit out in the hot summer sun of a construction zone. You get the picture, chill yo chicken. This also lets the seasonings really settle into the chicken.
5. When your chicken has chilled, mix the rest of the ingredients into a small bowl: sour cream, mayonaisse, sambal oelak, the rest of the thai seasoning.
6. Mix your dressings with the chicken. This is obvious, we are making chicken salad after all. Let your chicken salad chill for 5-15 minutes and it should be ready to go.

Epilogue:

Now I wish I could write that this story ended happily– like I was a Food Network host benevolently smiling into the camera with my fancy-ass chicken salad. Instead, I had the Great Instant Pot Mishap of 2018. My Instant Pot hasn’t consistently sealing. I took my flatlay photos of my ingredients, put the chicken and basil in the Instant Pot, set it for 15 minutes and walked off to edit the photos smirking the whole way.

I was on track to the woman in every stock photo who laughs at her salad until I heard an ominous beep coming from the kitchen. The Instant Pot was displaying BURN in bright red letters and when I opened it, smoke billowed out. That’s right, folks: I managed to singe a single chicken breast + basil in 10 minutes in an Instant Pot.

Anyway, all ended well: The chicken was 100% salvageable. I, however, have let my dreams of being a glamorous Food Network host (but you know, actually eating the food and probably opting to wear yoga pants most of the time) drift into the wind. Namaste.

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