“Do You Talk Thai?” Ginger Basil Chicken




We’re back on the Thai Train and this one’s a doozie!

I learned so much on my recent trip to Chiang Mai and I am going to use my “Do You Talk Thai?” series to convey as much of this information as possible.

Two of the things I point out in this video are:

  1. They don’t use much salt, but rely on fish sauce instead.
  2. They use water (instead of oil) as their main cooking agent.

I hope you’ll follow along of the rest of the “Do You Talk Thai?” series. Thai cuisine is unbelievably simple and tasty and it’s a great please to sharpen your teeth as a Culinary Ninja. I’ll also encourage you to visit your local Asian market. You’ll be exposed to new ingredients and you’ll be able to easily source things like today’s Thai Chiles. While most big name grocers now carry them in the produce department, you’ll definitely find them at the Asian market.

February is upon us and the CrossFit Games Open starts at the end of this month. It provides a great opportunity to test your fitness and see where you stack up in your age group and how much you’ve improved since last year. Whether these things are important to you or not, I encourage you to sign up and test yourself.

When I used to own CrossFit gyms, I would always ask my members when the last time they climbed a rope was. They’d usually respond, “well, I guess it would have to be elementary school.” Then, I’d ask them if they were ever planning to climb a rope again and most would say no. So, I’d encourage them as I’m encouraging you now to dust off the climbing skills, or whatever skill it is that you’ve decided to hang up, and give it another go. I’d take great pride on the day they’d again climb a rope and I’ll smile the day I hear from you. How you tested yourself, or how you got back in the kitchen and cooked a meal you didn’t think you could or how you fell in love with cooking for the first time. Life is all about living skillfully and I hope that you’ll do just that. And while you do, please follow along as I teach you to…

“Keep It Paleo!”

Your Pal,

Paleo Nick

(Throwing down with my pals at CrossFit Blizzard…)

Ginger Basil Chicken

Ingredient List:

  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 2 – 8 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, large dice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (I use Red Boat)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 6 Thai chiles, split and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 oz. fresh basil leaves (about a handful), whole, but pulled from the stem
  • Water, as necessary

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Season the chicken with the fish sauce and toss to coat evenly. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a wok, cast iron skillet or sauté pan over medium high heat.
  3. When oil is hot, but not smoking, add the ginger and stir. Cook for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the chicken and stir to incorporate ginger and oil.
  5. Cook for 2-3 minutes stirring regularly and adding a bit of water as needed.
  6. When chicken is 90% cooked, add the basil and Thai chiles and stir. Then, add the maple syrup and cook for one minute longer, stirring constantly.
  7. Cut the heat and serve it up!

“Keep It Paleo!”

Zone Breakdown:

Proteins: (14)

We have 16 ounces of chicken breast. We’ll estimate this cooks down to 14 ounces. Chicken breast is 1 oz. per block, so 14 protein blocks.

Carbohydrates: (1.5)

Maple syrup is 2 teaspoons per block. We have 3 teaspoons, so 1.5 carb blocks.

Fats: (14)

I estimate that you will need equivalent fat blocks worth of oil as you have of chicken, so 14 blocks worth, which is 1.5 tablespoons.

Balancing Act:

We have equal protein and fat and negligible carbohydrates. So, you’d need to add 14 blocks worth of carbs to make this a balanced meal. You could do this through 56 cups of broccoli, or 7 cups of blueberries or any variety of fruits and vegetables in between. Be creative and use some veggies to pair with the chicken and some fruit as dessert. However you mix it up, smile and be productive because you are a Culinary Ninja and you are In The Zone!

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