Optional Toppings: Pickled jalapeños, banana peppers, finely chopped bell pepper (any color), etc.
To Serve: Chopped fresh coriander, Mango salsa, sour cream, guacamole (store-bought or homemade)
For the Thai Basil Chicken:
Prepare the fresh ingredients: Using a mortar and pestle, smash the garlic, Bird’s Eye red and chilies, and green Prik Kee Nu chilies into a coarse paste and set aside. Thinly slice the large red chili at an angle, and finely chop the shallots. Pick the holy basil leaves off the stems, then wash and pat-dry.
Make the sauce: Combine the oyster sauce, light soy sauce, fish sauce, sweet dark soy sauce, and white sugar in a small measuring cup. Mix until evenly combined, then set aside.
Make the Thai Basil Chicken: Heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a large wok over high heat. Once hot, add the shallots and stir-fry for a minute until slightly softened. Then add the garlic chili paste and sliced large red chili, and stir-fry for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the cooked shredded chicken and pour the sauce on top. Toss for 1 minute until combined well and everything is fully coated in the sauce. Stir through the holy basil leaves and switch off the heat. Set aside until ready to assemble the nachos. If not using immediately, cool quickly then transfer to a sealed airtight container and store in the fridge.
For the Mango Salsa:
Combine everything in a small bowl and toss together until evenly combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
To Assemble the Thai Basil Chicken Nachos:
Prep: Preheat oven to 200°C / 400°F.
Assemble the layers: Spread half of the tortilla chips evenly on a large ovenproof plate (or a large cast iron skillet, round cake pan, shallow baking dish, or on a parchment paper lined baking tray for easier cleanup). Top the tortilla chips evenly with half of the Thai basil chicken, half of the pickled jalapeños (or any other toppings you’re using), half of the sharp cheddar cheese, and half of Monterey Jack cheese. Repeat the layers with the remaining tortilla chips, Thai basil chicken, pickled jalapeños, and sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.
Bake: Bake until the cheese has melted – about 8-10 minutes.
Serve: Garnish with chopped fresh coriander and serve with the mango salsa, sour cream, and guacamole if desired.
Shredded cooked chicken: I seasoned some chicken breasts with a little kosher salt and used the method for these Juicy Baked Chicken Breasts before shredding them. But you could also use store-bought shredded rotisserie chicken (without the skin) to save time, or any leftover cooked shredded chicken that you have on hand that’s not heavily seasoned.
Mortar & pestle: If you don’t own one, just finely chop the garlic and chilies instead.
Thai holy basil leaves: Look for this peppery herb in a Thai grocery store or Asian supermarket. You can use Thai sweet basil if you prefer, or even Italian basil if unavailable.
Make ahead: You can make the Thai basil chicken up to two days in advance and store in a sealed airtight container in the fridge. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before assembling the nachos to take the chill off. The mango salsa can be made in the morning on the day of serving the nachos, and stored in a sealed airtight container in the fridge. While it’ll keep for two days in the fridge, the taste and texture will be best on the day of making it.
Can these nachos be reheated? Unfortunately, even reheating in the oven will not bring back the same level of freshness and crispness that these nachos have when they first come out of the oven. I recommend assembling and baking just before serving.
See ‘Variations’ section in the post above for tips on making this gluten-free, vegetarian/vegan, and other protein options.