That Spicy Chick

Thai Basil Chicken Tortellini

Savory, pillowy parcels of ricotta and spinach tortellini are combined with the classic Thai basil chicken stir-fry dish to create a mouthwatering fusion masterpiece. Ready in under 30 minutes, and exploding with spicy, sweet and savory flavors, this Thai Basil Chicken Tortellini is guaranteed to be a hit!

This stunning Thai Basil Chicken Tortellini dish came about from peeking at a hotel restaurant’s dining menu when I was selecting a hotel to stay at in Phuket for a holiday.

I didn’t end up staying at that hotel but the idea of combining pillowy tortellini with my all-time favorite dish, Thai basil chicken (also known as pad kra pow gai or pad kra pao in Thai), was too good to not try out for myself.

It was a HUGE hit with us all here and I’m now sharing the recipe with you today so that you too can make and enjoy this Thai-Italian fusion masterpiece!

We have here:

  • A classic Thai basil chicken stir-fry with plenty of garlic, chilies, peppery holy basil leaves and a savory-sweet umami-packed sauce
  • Savory, tender parcels of tortellini with a creamy ricotta and spinach filling.

These two combined together is a combination I never thought could work, but it does and it’s GENIUS!

This Thai Basil Chicken Tortellini is also ready in under 30 minutes and calls for basic and simple ingredients which you can easily acquire if you don’t already have them on hand. It also happens to be high in protein and is great for meal prep too.

By the way, if you love Thai-Italian fusion pasta dishes, try my Creamy Tom Yum Pasta or Thai Basil Chicken Spaghetti!

Why This Recipe Works

  • Quick and easy. This dish calls for a handful of simple ingredients and is ready in under 30 minutes. Perfect for busy weeknights!
  • FLAVOR-PACKED! It’s exploding with savory, spicy and sweet flavors, which are the highlights of a Thai basil chicken stir-fry dish.
  • Fusion masterpiece. The pillowy texture and savory flavor of the ricotta and spinach tortellini compliments the flavors of the Thai basil chicken.
  • Customizable. Switch out the chicken for any other lean ground meat, plant-based ground meat substitute or mushrooms. You can also use any other tortellini with a different type of filling!
  • Great for meal prep. Leftovers keep well in the fridge for a couple of days, making this a fantastic meal prep dish that you can reheat for an easy lunch or dinner during the week. 
Top view of white plate with Thai Basil Chicken Tortellini.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutes

Labeled ingredients for Thai Basil Chicken Tortellini on a wooden board.

Thai Basil Chicken Tortellini:

  • Tortellini: I used ricotta & spinach tortellini but cheese tortellini can be used instead. You can use fresh or frozen.
  • Lean Ground Chicken: Alternatively, use lean ground pork, beef or turkey instead.
  • Yellow Onion: Or use red onion, Asian red shallots or regular shallots.
  • Chilies: I use fresh red Bird’s Eye chilies and tiny, but fiery HOT Thai ‘prik kee nu’ green chilies. Feel free to use any type of hot red and green chilies that are easily available to you. Prik kee nu translates to “mouse dropping chilies” in English. The name is derived from their shape. They are optional as they may be difficult to source outside of Asia and also because they are not for the faint hearted when it comes to spicy food! You can try finding them in your local Asian supermarket or Thai grocery store, but feel free to leave them out.
  • Thai Holy Basil Leaves: Known as ‘kaprow’ or ‘gaprao’ in Thai and spicy or hot basil in English. This herb has a unique peppery flavor. Appearance wise, the stems are furry and the leaves have ridges. Grab a bunch in an Asian supermarket or Thai grocer if you are based in the US or outside of Asia. In Asia, you can find holy basil at the Thai stall in your local wet market. If unavailable, substitute with Thai sweet basil (‘horapa’) or regular Italian basil. Italian basil is closer in flavor to holy basil than Thai sweet basil. However, either will work for this Thai basil chicken tortellini dish. 
Labeled stir-fry sauce ingredients for Thai basil chicken.

Sauce:

  • Oyster Sauce: A thick, sweet and savory condiment that is full of umami. Use a Thai one if possible as it’s less sweet and salty than Chinese oyster sauce. If using a Chinese oyster sauce, simply adjust the amount of sweetener you use to taste. 
  • Light Soy Sauce: Preferably a Thai one since it’s less salty and gives us better control over the flavors. If unavailable, use any low sodium light soy sauce.
  • Fish Sauce: For more savory umami flavors.
  • Thai Sweet Dark Soy Sauce: A thick and viscous dark soy sauce which is less salty than light sauce. It is sweet in flavor due to addition of molasses. If unavailable, use kecap manis – an Indonesian dark sweet soy sauce that is commonly used in dishes like Chicken Nasi Goreng.
  • Sugar-free Granulated Sugar: I used Wholesome Zero Sugar which is made from erythritol. Any sugar-free granulated sweetener made from monkfruit, stevia, etc. can be used. Alternatively, use regular granulated white sugar if preferred.

Full ingredient list and amounts are in the recipe card below.

How to Make Thai Basil Chicken Tortellini

  1. Cook the tortellini. Cook the tortellini in a pot of boiling water according to package instructions. Reserve some of the tortellini cooking water, then drain and set aside.
Cooked tortellini in a colander.
  1. Stir-fry the aromatics. Heat oil in a large nonstick wok (or deep sauté pan/skillet). Stir-fry the onion, garlic and chilies until fragrant.
  1. Cook the ground chicken. Add the chicken to the wok and cook for a few minutes, breaking up the clumps with your spatula or a wooden spoon, until just cooked.
  1. Add the baby corn. Add the baby corn and stir-fry briefly to combine.
  1. Add the tortellini and sauce. Add the cooked tortellini and pour the stir-fry sauce over everything. Add some reserved tortellini cooking water and gently mix until the everything is evenly coated in the sauce and it thickens a little. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little more pasta cooking water as needed until it coats everything evenly.
  1. Toss through the basil. Toss through the holy basil leaves until just wilted, then switch off the heat.
Added Thai holy basil leaves to wok with tortellini stir-fry.
  1. Serve! Divide evenly onto plates or in bowls and enjoy!
Top view of white plate with Thai Basil Chicken Tortellini.

Full detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.

Cook’s Tips

  • Mise en place. Like most Thai stir-fry dishes and simple pasta recipes, this Thai Basil Chicken Tortellini cooks quickly and is ready in just a few minutes. Have everything prepped and ready to go by the side of your wok or pan before you switch on the stove. 
  • Do not overcook the tortellini. It is best to cook it 1 minute less than the time indicated on the package as it will continue cooking in the wok when you add it to the stir-fry. This will prevent them from becoming to soft and breaking.
  • Adjust spice level to taste. Although Thai basil chicken is a spicy dish with plenty of chilies, it’s easily customizable to suit anyone’s heat level tolerance. Use less chilies or a milder variety if you are not a fan of spicy food. Or use more chilies if you love spice!
  • Adjust fish sauce to taste. The older your fish sauce is, the darker and saltier it will be. If it’s on the lighter side, it won’t be too salty. Adjust the quantity I have recommended based on this and your salt level preference. Anywhere from half to one teaspoon will be needed.
  • Meal prep option. Double the ingredients and cook in a large wok or heavy bottomed deep sauté pan to make 4 servings. Divide evenly into containers and store in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave for a quick and easy lunch or dinner during the week.
Closeup front view of Thai basil chicken tortellini on a plate.

Variations

  • Make it vegetarian. Use a plant-based ground meat substitute such as OmniPork, Beyond Beef, Impossible Meat, etc. Or you can used finely diced king oyster mushrooms. Use a vegan fish sauce and vegetarian mushroom flavored oyster sauce for the stir-fry sauce.
  • Use a different type of tortellini. While the savory earthy flavor of ricotta & spinach tortellini pairs with Thai basil chicken, cheese or mushroom tortellini can be used instead too. Pick your favorite type!
  • Use a different ground meat. Lean ground pork, beef or turkey would taste great in this Thai basil tortellini dish.
  • Add more veggies. While I kept it simple and used onion and baby corn only, feel free to add any other stir-fry friendly veggies you love. Some ideas are snap peas, snow peas, green beans, blanched carrots, green garden peas, bell peppers, etc.
Closeup of tortellini chicken stir-fry on a spoon in a plate.

FAQs

Can Thai basil be refrigerated?

Thai basil will stay good for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. You can wrap the bunch with the leaves still attached to the stems in paper towels and place in a sealed zipper bag before refrigerating. Alternatively, pick the leaves off the stems, wrap in paper towels and store in a zipper bag in the fridge.

Is Thai basil the same as tulsi?

Thai holy basil and tulsi are the same, but Thai sweet basil is different. Holy basil and tulsi have a peppery flavor profile while Thai sweet basil has a sweet-anise like flavor and is incredibly fragrant. 

How long will leftovers keep and how to store them?

Store any leftovers in a sealed airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Reheat on high in the microwave for 1.5 to 2 minutes or until hot throughout. 

Closeup of tortellini and ground chicken stir-fry and top view on a plate. Text overlay "Thai Basil Chicken Tortellini" and "thatspicychick.com"

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Print

Thai Basil Chicken Tortellini

Top view of white plate with Thai Basil Chicken Tortellini.

Ricotta & spinach tortellini is combined with the classic Thai basil chicken stir-fry to create this mouthwatering 30-minute Thai Basil Chicken Tortellini dish! It’s high in protein and great for meal prep!

  • Author: Lavina
  • Prep Time: 13
  • Cook Time: 12
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Sauté
  • Cuisine: Thai-inspired

Ingredients

Scale

Sauce:

  • 45ml / 3 TBSP Oyster Sauce (preferably a Thai onenote 1)
  • 15ml / 1 TBSP Light Soy Sauce (preferably a Thai one, or use any low sodium light soy sauce – note 2)
  • 5ml / 1 TSP Fish Sauce
  • 3ml / ½ TSP Thai Sweet Dark Soy Sauce (or use kecap manis – note 3)
  • ½ TSP Sugar-free granulated Sugar (I used Wholesome Zero Sugar – note 4)

 

Thai Basil Chicken Tortellini:

  • 50 grams / ¼ medium Yellow Onion – finely chopped
  • 25 grams / 5-6 Garlic cloves – minced
  • 30 grams / 7-8 fresh Red Chilies (Thai Bird’s Eye or any hot type of red chilies), to taste* (note 5) – finely chopped
  • 5 grams / 4-5 small Prik Kee Nu Green Chilies, to taste (optionalnote 5)
  • 30 grams / 2-3 pieces Baby Corn – sliced in half widthwise, then again lengthwise
  • 20 grams / 1 cup Thai Holy Basil Leaves (note 6) – picked off stems, washed, pat-dried
  • 250 grams / 8.8 ounces fresh or frozen Tortellini (I used Ricotta & Spinach) – prepared according to package instructions
  • ½ TBSP Canola Oil (or any neutral flavored cooking oil)
  • 285 grams / 10 ounces Lean Ground Chicken
  • 23 TBSP reserved pasta cooking water, as needed

Instructions

Prep:

  1. Make the sauce: In a small measuring cup (for easier pouring) or bowl, mix together the oyster sauce, light soy sauce, sweet dark soy sauce, fish sauce and granulated sugar-free sweetener until combined well. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the fresh ingredients: Chop/prepare the yellow onion, garlic, chilies as indicated in the ‘ingredients’ section. Pick the holy basil leaves off the stems if they aren’t already. Wash and pat-dry, then set aside.

Thai Basil Chicken Tortellini:

  1. Cook the tortellini: Cook the tortellini in a pot of boiling water according to package instructions until al-dente. Reserve ¼ cup of tortellini cooking water, then drain into a colander and set aside. (I like to run water over the tortellini to prevent sticking and halt the cooking process but this is optional).
  2. Stir-fry the aromatics: Heat ½ tablespoon of canola oil in a large nonstick wok (or deep sauté pan/skillet) over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and chilies and stir-fry for 30-40 seconds until fragrant.
  3. Cook the chicken: Add the ground chicken and cook for 2 minutes, breaking up the clumps with your spatula or a wooden spoon, until just cooked.
  4. Add the baby corn: Add the baby corn and stir-fry for 15-20 seconds to combine.
  5. Add the tortellini and sauce: Add the cooked tortellini and pour the sauce you prepared earlier over everything. Add 2 tablespoons of reserved tortellini cooking water and gently mix until the chicken and tortellini are evenly coated in the sauce and it thickens a little. If the sauce becomes too thick, add ½ to 1 tablespoon of the pasta water or as needed until it coats everything evenly.
  6. Toss through the basil: Toss through the holy basil leaves until just wilted – about 15 seconds. Switch off the heat.
  7. To Serve: Divide evenly onto plates or in bowls and serve immediately.

Notes

  1. Oyster Sauce. Use a Thai oyster sauce if possible as it is less sweet and salty than Chinese oyster sauce. If using a Chinese oyster sauce, adjust the amount of granulated sweetener to taste.
  2. Light Soy Sauce. Thai light soy sauce is less salty than Chinese and Japanese soy sauces and is preferred for this recipe. If you don’t have it on hand, use any type of low sodium light soy sauce.
  3. Thai Sweet Dark Soy Sauce. This is a thick and viscous dark soy sauce which is less salty than light sauce. It is sweet in flavor due to addition of molasses. If unavailable, use kecap manis – an Indonesian dark sweet soy sauce that is used commonly in dishes like Nasi Goreng.
  4. Sugar-free Granulated Sugar. I used Wholesome Zero Sugar which is made from erythritol. Any sugar-free granulated sweetener made from monkfruit, stevia, etc. can be used. Alternatively, use regular granulated white sugar.
  5. Fresh Chilies. I used Thai Bird’s Eye red chilies and prik kee nu green chilies which are both quite spicy. Adjust the quantity of chilies you use based on your heat level preference and how spicy they are. Thai prik kee nu green chilies are tiny, but FIERY hot. They are listed as optional as they might be difficult to source outside of Asia and also because they are not for the faint hearted when it comes to spicy food. You can try finding them in your local Asian supermarket or Thai grocery store, but feel free to leave them out.
  6. Thai Holy Basil Leaves. Known as ‘kaprow’ or ‘gaprao’ in Thai and spicy or hot basil in English. This herb has a unique peppery flavor. Appearance wise, the stems are furry and leaves have ridges. Grab a bunch in an Asian supermarket or Thai grocer if you are based in the US or outside of Asia. In Asia, you can find holy basil at the Thai stall in your local wet market. If unavailable, substitute with Thai sweet basil (‘horapa’) or regular Italian basil. Italian basil is closer in flavor to holy basil than Thai sweet basil. However, either will work for this recipe.
  7. Meal prep option. Double the ingredients by clicking the ‘2x’ button at the top of the recipe card. Cook in a large wok or heavy bottomed deep sauté pan to make 4 servings. Divide evenly into containers and store in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
  8. Storing and reheating leftovers. Store any leftovers in a sealed airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Reheat on high in the microwave for 1.5 to 2 minutes or until hot throughout.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/2 of recipe
  • Calories: 602
  • Sugar: 3.7g
  • Sodium: 3899.4mg
  • Fat: 20g
  • Saturated Fat: 5.8g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 10.6h
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 65.7g
  • Fiber: 8.7g
  • Protein: 40.1
  • Cholesterol: 122.6mg

Keywords: Thai basil chicken pasta, Thai chicken pasta, Thai basil chicken tortellini

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