Chili Beef with Basil

This is a dish for chili lovers! It is very easy to prepare all you need is a wok.
Although not so familiar to western cooks, Thai fish sauce is as widely used in Thai cooking as soy sauce is in Chinese cuisine. In fact, they are not dissimilar in appearance and taste. Called nan pla, Thai fish sauce is available at oriental food stores, but if you cannot get it, soy sauce is an adequate substitute.


serves 2
about 90 ml (6 tbsp) groundnut oil
16 - 20 large fresh basil leaves
275 g (10 oz) rump steak
30 ml (2 tbsp) Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
5 ml (1 tsp) dark brown soft sugar
1 - 2 fresh red chilies, sliced into rings
3 garlic cloves, chopped
5 ml (1 tsp) chopped fresh root ginger
1 shallot, thinly sliced
30 ml (2 tbsp) finely chopped fresh basil leaves, plus extra to garnish
squeeze of lemon juice
salt and ground black pepper
Thai jasmine rice, to serve


1. Heat the oil in a wok and, when hot, add the whole basil leaves and fry for about 1 minute until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper. Remove the wok from the heat and pour off all but 30 ml (2 tbsp) of the oil.

2. Cut the steak across the grain into thin strips. Mix together the fish sauce and sugar in a bowl. Add the beef, mix well, then leave to marinate for about 30 minutes.

3. Reheat the oil until hot, add the chilli, garlic, ginger and shallot and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Acid the beef and chopped basil, then stir-fry for about 3 minutes. Flavour with lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Transfer to a warmed serving plate, scatter over the basil leaves to garnish and serve immediately with Thai jasmine rice.

What did you think?

15 people have helped to review this recipe. Thankyou!

Thai basil
posted by Morten @ 10:51AM, 3/25/09
It is really important to use the special, thai basil available in some specialty stores for this dish. It is much more fragrant, and gives the meat mint-like flavor.
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