Basil Chicken Stirfry

I’m not much of a carnivore. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I like eating meat. But unlike many other people I know, I don’t *need* meat in my diet. My choice for breakfast and lunch is usually vegetable, grain, and pulse-based. Well, on the paleo diet my usual oatmeal and lentil soups are off the menu. Unfortunately that cuts many of the vegetable-based proteins out, too. So I’ve had to increase the amount of meat in my diet to make up for that lost protein. So I’m exploring new lunch options that contain meat.

The only ingredient in this stirfry that might be difficult to find is the fresh turmeric. Turmeric grows here so I bought a bunch at the farmers market a few weeks ago and I’ve been using it in small amounts ever since. The flavor is brighter than powdered turmeric and slightly sweeter. It has a thin tender skin, and after peeling looks exactly like a tiny carrot… a tiny carrot that will stain everything it touches.  Turmeric powder has been touted in the American media recently as having all kinds of wonderful health benefits. This probably amuses the heck out of Ayurvedic practitioners, who have been using turmeric for millenia. I’m hoping to have a few nodes left to try and plant, because I really love fresh turmeric. If you can’t get fresh turmeric root, substitute 1 tsp powdered turmeric or leave it out altogether.

Basil Chicken Stirfry

2 lb ground chicken
3 tbl coconut oil
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 1/2 tbl fish sauce
1 tbl coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
1 tbl honey
1″ fresh turmeric
1″ fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic
1 fresh red chile (I used a cayenne chile, which isn’t super hot)
2 big handfuls of fresh basil

Peel and mince the ginger and turmeric. Peel and slice the garlic as thinly as possible. Slice the chile as thinly as possible. Heat a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Fry the ground chicken, breaking up the big pieces, until it’s no longer pink. Dump into a bowl with the juices and set aside. Put the pan back over the heat, add 1 tbl coconut oil, and stir-fry the peppers and zucchini until browned. Dump into the bowl with the chicken.

Put the pan back on the heat and add the other 2 tbl coconut oil. Add the ginger, turmeric, garlic, and chile. Stir carefully just until the garlic is golden- don’t let it burn! Add the chicken and vegetables back to the pan with all of the juices accumulated in the bowl. Then add the fish sauce, coconut aminos, and honey. Let cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquids have reduced and the mixture is frying in its own oil. Take the pan off the heat, add the basil, and stir. The heat in the pan will wilt the basil. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary and serve. Also really good with a squeeze of lime.

Enjoy!