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Healthy Living: Spicy Basil


I have two herbs that grow in containers on my back porch: rosemary and spicy basil.

I first purchased the spicy basil by accident, grabbing for regular basil and probably distracted by a kid or two. But, I love it and it’s now a favorite I won’t ever give up.

Spicy basil is basil that is…well, spicy. Profound, huh? Spicy basil, or “spicy globe basil,” can also be called “green basil” and is hugely popular in Europe, although it originated in India. It features small leaves, tender stems and huge flavor. You can use spicy basil in anything you’d use regular basil for and as Chef Emeril Lagasse says, it will “kick it up a notch.”

Studies have shown that compounds in basil oil have potent antioxidant, antiviral and antimicrobial properties, as well as a potential use in treating cancer. Basil is also traditionally used for herbal treatment of stress, asthma and diabetes.

Spicy Basil Chicken
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 large shallot, minced
1.25 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp chili paste, like sambal oelek
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp water
1.5 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup spicy basil leaves, sliced

Directions:
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; swirl to coat. Add shallots and cook for 1 minute. Add chicken and garlic to pan. Cook 8-10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, whisk the fish sauce and the next 6 ingredients (through cornstarch) together in a small bowl. Add fish sauce mixture to cooked chicken, and cook for 1 minute or until mixture thickens, stirring to coat chicken. Remove from heat and stir in basil.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 340, Calories from Fat: 132, Fat: 15 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 127 mg, Sodium: 983 mg, Carbohydrates: 8 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 43 g


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