The other day I was hosting girls night at my place and the girls had decided on bringing take away Thai food. So as the host, I decided to make a little appetizer to have with drinks, while we were waiting for everyone to get there. I’m a huge fan of Thai food and I wanted an appetizer to keep with the Thai flavors we would be having for dinner so I thought of spring rolls/egg rolls. I knew, I wanted a Thai chicken filling and I also knew, I didn’t want to deep fry before people came over. So, after a little dinking around online for inspiration, I thought of using phyllo pastry sheets instead of egg roll wrappers.
For the filling for these rolls, I came up with my very own version of Thai Basil Chicken using thai flavors and ingredients I had in my pantry or I could easily find at a local store. I would have loved to have found birds eye chili, but I didn’t, so I simply used crushed red pepper flakes (which I always have on hand). It turned out super delicious and I could have eaten the chicken as is, in fact I ate quite a bit of it just pretending that I needed to taste it for seasoning. It’s fairly simple to make too, as it’s marinated chicken, tossed in a pan and stir fried together. The only tedious task to it, is chopping everything up really fine. Which, if I were simply making Thai basil chicken to have with rice or vegetables, I wouldn’t bother dicing everything up so fine, except for the lemongrass maybe.
This was also my first time using phyllo pastry sheets which are very delicate and tear quite easily. I read the packet a few times on how to thaw and handle it, but I also learned that it is a pretty forgiving dough and if you happen to tear it a bit here and there while rolling the chicken in it (which did I lot!), don’t worry it all turns out fine in the end. Just try not letting it dry out too much while working with it and you’ll be fine. I almost scrapped the idea of posting a recipe of this when I was rolling them and they seemed like a mess but look how pretty they turned out finally…
No one would be able to tell there are tears inside. All the stuffing stayed inside too…so I would call it a success! They tasted great, crispy on the outside and moist and delicious on the inside. I even got a few compliments for them. So here’s the recipe…
**Serving Suggestion: Serve with some of this Thai Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce**
Thai Basil Chicken Phyllo Rolls
1 chicken Breast
4 cloves of garlic (1 1/2 tbsp)
1/2 inch ginger (1/2 tbsp)
2 stalks lemongrass
1/4 red pepper
1 handfull thai basil
1 tbsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tbsp corn starch
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp oil + olive oil for brushing
16 phyllo sheets
White sesame seeds
– Firstly you have to prep all the ingredients. Start with the chicken. Dice the chicken breast into tiny cubes. To save on time you can use ground chicken instead, but I just feel the white meat of chicken has a good bite to it in these rolls.
– Then you have to finely mince the garlic & ginger. It’s handy to have a nifty garlic chopper like I do, but if not, just mince it with a knife.
– Next, finely slice the lemongrass and then run your knife through it to make the pieces as small as you can.
– Dice the red pepper into very small pieces too.
– To cut the Thai basil. Stack 4-5 leaves on top of one another. Roll them like a tight cigar and make thin slices (the fancy term for this is called to Chiffonade)
– Now toss all the ingredients you just chopped up (except the chicken) into a mixing bowl. So that is…the garlic, ginger, lemongrass, red pepper & a tablespoon or so of the Thai basil (save the rest for later).
– Add to the mix…1 tablespoon (or less, if you don’t like spicy) of crushed red pepper flakes, a couple teaspoons of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of fish sauce, 1/2 a tablespoon of corn flour and a squirt of lemon juice (the juice of about a quarter lemon) and mix all the ingredients up well.
– Toss in the chicken and mix well to coat all the chicken pieces with the flavorful marinade.
– Season the chicken with a little salt, cover and let the chicken marinade for about 30 mins or longer in the fridge.
– Once the chicken has marinated, heat a tablespoon or so of oil in a skillet/wok.
– When the oil becomes very hot add the chicken and stir fry it on high heat. Break the chicken up into little pieces and stir continuously to keep it from sticking to the pan.
– The chicken cooks fast within a few minutes 5-7 minutes. So once it’s cooked, pour the chicken into a bowl to cool off. Squeeze in the remaining lemon juice and thai basil and mix.
– Thaw the phyllo pastry sheets according to the instructions on the packet.
Taking one sheet at a time, brush the sheet with olive oil. (keep the rest of the sheets covered with plastic and a damp cloth.
– Fold the long ends in about an inch on both sides.
– Spoon in a couple tablespoons of the cooked chicken on one end of the sheet in the middle like so.
– Wrap the chicken filling over from the right with the pastry and make on roll. Then fold the sides in again to keep the filling from spilling out.
– Continue making the roll till the end of the sheet and repeat the process to make the other rolls, placing them on a baking sheet when done.
– Lastly, brush the phyllo rolls with egg wash (one egg beaten with a tablespoon of water) and sprinkle some white sesame seeds over the top.
– Bake at 400F for about 15-20 minutes until the pastry turns golden brown.