Blog Repost: Thai Basil Chicken and Loneliness

Yousif Al-Amin, 129 TCCS

Today we will be learning how to cook the world-famous dish Pad Krapow Gai or Thai Basil Chicken. And how to combat loneliness. You will need:

  • 3-4 tbsp oil
  • 5 Thai bird’s eye chilis, thinly sliced
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced (red onion works)
  • 5 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 8-12 oz chicken breast, diced  (thigh meat or ground chicken is fine)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup water or your choice of stock
  • 1 bunch Thai holy basil
  • 1 egg

You will also need:

  • the courage to force yourself outside
  • some new hobbies
  • a sense of humor
  • a journal
  • patience
  • more patience
  • friends
  • the ability to live in and enjoy the present
  1. Turn burner on to the highest setting and add oil. Once warm, add chilis, shallots, and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes (or until brown).
  2. Leave your bedroom. Go outside. Go on a walk, a run, a bike ride, or just sit outside your house. Feel the sun on your face. Play with the kids. Talk to your neighbors. You will feel better. You will think, “if only I had come outside earlier.”
  3. Add the diced chicken and cook for about 2 minutes, or until brown.
  4. Have you tried knitting? Watercolors? Jazzercise? Keep yourself busy. For me, kombucha does the trick. Brew a new batch every 2 weeks, try out new flavor combinations. Some will be amazing. Some will be awful. Such is life.
  5. Add the soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar (if desired, raw honey can be substituted for sugar) and stir-fry for 1 minute.
  6. Laugh. Laugh at yourself. If When you do something stupid, laugh it off. Don’t be embarrassed. Laugh at others. Laugh with others. Don’t take yourself too seriously (or anything for that matter). Smile more. Make jokes. Happiness is only real when shared, and what better way than through laughter?
  7. Deglaze your pan with your liquid. Stir occasionally.
  8. Do you have a journal? If you answered yes, great – move on to step 9. If not, go out and buy one. Write in it frequently. Write about your thoughts. Talk about the highs, the lows. Confide in your journal. Write down random things (like this recipe). Draw pictures. Read posts from the past to see how you were feeling days, months, or years ago. Repeat.
  9. Add the holy basil. Breathe it in. Doesn’t that smell amazing? Stir-fry until wilted.
  10. Be patient. With yourself. With others. Believe me, I understand that certain things that people say can get on your nerves, can make you feel othered.
    1. Why do you have so much body hair?”
    2. “Why is your nose so big?”
    3. “Can I have your sperm so I can make foreign babies?” (Yes, actually).
    4. “Why is your skin dark? That isn’t attractive.”
    5. “Why are you single?”
  11. Be more patient. Sure, comments on your appearance or your personal life may bother you on a whole, but one individual comment does not warrant an angry, upset reaction. Take a deep breath. Don’t let questions like those get to you (refer to step 6).  Use those opportunities as teachable moments to show that we are more alike than we are different.
  12. Serve over rice.
  13. Friends. Reach out to old ones. Make new ones. You are only as lonely as you allow yourself to believe.
  14. Fry 1 egg and place atop your lovely creation.

I would end this by saying “Live in the present,” but that isn’t quite the message I want to get across. Enjoy living in the present. Happiness if fleeting, joy is not. Joy is a choice, a lifestyle. Pain is inevitable – suffering is optional.

For more from Yousif check out his blog: so much to do, so little thai

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