Recipe: Fish in Thai basil sauce

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Mahi mahi in Thai basil sauce ingredients
Mahi mahi in Thai basil sauce ingredients

This is one of my favorite Thai dishes, not just because of the electric flavor combination, but it’s flexibility also. Not a fish fan? No problem, go ahead and use chicken breast pieces. One jalapeno not enough bite for you? Throw in two or three serranos and really dial up the spice levels!

For me, there are two core elements to this dish. Keeping the ratio of garlic/chillis roughly the same in terms of volume, and likewise keeping the ratio of soy/oyster/fish sauces the same. Actually make that three – it’s essential you have basil too, don’t even think about skipping this critical ingredient. If you can get the stronger, more aromatic Thai basil that’s awesome. If you can’t, the regular Italian basil you find in those plastic packages at your grocery store will do.

Walmart Mahi Mahi in Thai basil sauce
Walmart Mahi Mahi in Thai basil sauce

Don’t be shy with the basil, it really makes the dish sing. Don’t meekly add one or two leaves from a beloved basil plant on your kitchen counter – you want to really go wild with the basil here. If using the plastic packaged stuff, I use the whole package. Be sure to check out your local Asian markets too – they usually stock bags of basil at ludicrously cheap prices.

In this recipe I am using Walmart’s frozen premium mahi mahi – but feel free to use any meaty white fish; it just needs to be able to hold up in the pan to some vigorous sautéing and the strong flavors of garlic, chili and basil too.

Fish in Thai basil sauce
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 

Packed with flavor, this quick stir fry dish can be on the table in less than 30 minutes. 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai
Servings: 2
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 medium sweet onion roughly chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp corn starch
  • 4 tbsp cold water
  • basil leaves
Instructions
  1. Add finely chopped garlic and jalapeno to oil and gently saute for 2-3 minutes until oil is seasoned.  Don't burn or brown the garlic

  2. Add soy, fish sauce, oyster sauce and sugar, stir and cook for one minute

  3. Add your choice of fish to the oil and coat with the oil and begin to cook over medium heat until about half way done

  4. Add bell peppers and onion, stir to coat with sauce.  Continue to saute on medium heat until protein is largely cooked

  5. Mix cold water with corn starch and add to sauce, stir. Add roughly torn basil leaves liberally to sauce. Cook two more minutes till sauce slightly thickens. Add more flour mix, or more water to achieve desired sauce thickness.  Try not to add too much or you'll dilute the flavors

  6. Serve with steamed white rice

Hi I’m Stuart., amateur home cook and professional food writer.  You can find my writing at places like The Salt Lake Tribune and Gastronomic SLC, which I founded more than a decade ago.  As well as writing extensively about restaurants, I’m endlessly curious about that product on the shelf. Is it any good I wonder? If you’re like me, wonder no more.

Tried this? Let us know what you think!