Basil Beef is called Neua Pad Bai Horapha in Thailand and is one of the most popular Thai recipes served in Thai restaurants. Served with steamed jasmine Thai Hom Mli (new crop) rice makes for a perfect meal. This recipe is also excellent if made using venison or elk or other game meats, as the flavour compliments these dark meats very well. Just don't overcook the meat!
Serves 2 as one dish meal or 4-6 for a full Thai meal
1 lb. beef cut into 3" long stips-tender cut
6-8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6-8 shallots, thinly sliced
1 red onion cut in half and sliced
1-2 Tbs. peanut oil for stir-frying
1-2 Tbs. fish sauce (nam plah), to taste
1-2 tsp. black soy sauce *optional
1 cup fresh holy Thai basil (bai kaprao), sweet basil (bai horapa)
4-6 small kaffir lime leaves (bai ma-grood), very finely slivered
5-10 Thai Dragon chiles (phrik chee fa) or Thai Bird Chiles (Phrik
Generous Dash of ground white pepper
Prep each ingredient and set aside to allow quick stir fry technique.
Leave the fresh basil leaves whole unless hey are large-then tear in
half; the flowers may also be used.
Heat a wok until the surface is smoking hot. Add oil to one side and
swirl to coat the wok surface.
Add the beef pieces evenly over the surface of the wok. Sprinkle
generously with the white pepper. Do not stir, allow them to brown
and begin to turn colour. Then add garlic, onions, and shallots and
stir fry until the beef is no longer pink. Add the chiles and
slivered kaffir lime leaves continue stir frying.
Then add fresh basil leaves and fish sauce to taste. Stir and mix
well. Stir-fry another half a minute, or until the basil is wilted.
Stir and transfer to a serving dish, or spoon directly over
individual plates of plain steamed Jasmine rice.
This is a favourite one dish meal with my family. The recipe can
easily be doubled for larger groups.
Notes: If large French shallots are used you can decrease the number
Use a tender cut of beef and don't over cook it.