Stir Fried Basil Chili Beef is a wonderful dish to banish the weeknight blues. There is a little heat from the chilies, the wonderful aroma of the basil, and the umami of the fish sauce. This stir fry is easy to make and all you need is a bowl of rice or noodles on the side. A simple meal but one that hits all the right spots. Dairy Free Gluten Free
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Who says spicy treats are not for weeknights? When it is as easy as this Thai Inspired Stir-Fried Beef with Basil and Chilies you will find an excuse to make it on a weeknight. Stir-fries are a sure way to make an easy meal. It takes no time at all to cook. The usual sides are steamed rice or noodles, but tacos and bread are great too.
Choosing the Meat
Pretty much any cut can be used to make this dish. The key is to slice the meat into thin strips. Thin cuts need just a few minutes to cook and they don’t need long marination either. The more surface area that gets exposed to the marinade the faster it gets into the meat.
Often you will find stir fry slices in the meat section – these will be tender cuts and make the job all the easier. If not get your own and slice the meat thin.
Tender cuts like sirloin, tri-tip, or ribeye need just a few minutes of marination while the not so tender ones like flank, top round, round tip, need to be marinated a little longer say 20 minutes. The important thing to remember is to have thinly sliced meat. And do not marinate it for long.
When you slice your own remember to slice across the grain.
I use Thai chilies for heat when I can. These are spicy, so be careful when you use these. They look small but do pack a punch when it comes to heat. I love the flavor of these, but not so much the heat. So I often leave these whole to add the flavor of the chili without making the dish extremely spicy.
I use Italian basil in this dish because I usually have it on hand. If you have Thai basil add those. Each of these has a slightly different aroma, but either will work well in this recipe.
There are many versions of this Thai-inspired stir fry. This is the simplest one. You can add a few sliced onions or bell pepper for crunch and color.
All the other ingredients in the recipe balance the flavors.
Making the Chili Basil Beef
Stir-fries are self-explanatory.
- Slice to desired sizes
- Fry in batches
- Serve hot
Tips to Make a Great Stir Fry
- Slice the meat thin.
- Use a large pan, you should be able to toss everything in it easily.
- Do not overcrowd the pan-fry in batches if necessary.
- No nonstick pans – preferably use an iron wok.
- High Heat – most homes do not have high output wok burners. This means that even with the largest burner on high you are getting about a quarter or less heat than a wok burner. As soon as the meat hits the pan the heat dissipates faster. To avoid a soggy, tough mess cook in small batches.
- If at any point if you see juices pooling in the pan then stop, drain, remove most of the meat and flash fry in batches.
A stir fry, when done correctly, is juicy tender, and flavorful.
Thai Inspired Beef Stir Fry With Basil And Chilies
- 3/4 lb Beef 300g
- 15 -20 Basil leaves About 1 bunch Notes 1
- 6- 8 Thai Chilies Notes 2
- 6 Tbsp Neutral flavor oi l Notes 3
- 1 Tsp Dark Brown Sugar
- 2 Tbsp Thai Fish Sauce
- 3 Cloves Garlic
- 1 Tsp Fresh Ginger Minced
- 1 Shallot
- ½ Tsp Lemon Juice To Taste
- 1 Tsp Corn Starch
- 2 Tbsp Water
- Salt If Needed
- Jasmine Rice
- Wash and dry the basil leaves thoroughly. Take about 4 to 5 leaves and finely chop them to make about 2 Tbsp of chopped leaves.
- If the beef is not sliced, slice it against the grain into thin strips. Mix the fish sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, corn starch, and water. Pour over the beef and toss well to coat. Set aside for 5 minutes.
- Heat the wok with 6 tbsp of oil.
- Fry the basil leaves until they turn bright green and crisp. Drain and reserve. Remove 4 tbsp of the oil and add the chopped ginger, garlic shallots, and chilies. Stir fry for 30 seconds. Drain the beef from the marinade, reserving the juices. Stir fry the beef over high heat ( if needed do it in 2 to 3 batches.). It takes about 3 minutes for each batch to cook. As soon as the beef browns stop cooking.
- Move the meat to the side (if the wok is small then remove it from the wok ). Add the reserved marinade to the wok. As soon as it boils toss the meat to coat and turn off the heat. Taste and adjust salt and lemon juice.
- Toss the fried basil leaves over and serve hot.
- Use Italian basil or Thai basil – whichever is available
- Thai Chilies are spicy. Leave them whole to reduce heat or slice into thin rounds for an added kick.
- Oils that have a high smoking point are preferred while stir-frying. Use Peanut oil or similar.
- For a saucier version, mix 1 tsp cornstarch with 2 Tbsp water and a dash of fish sauce and add to the wok along with the reserved marinade.
- For a colorful version add sliced red Bell peppers or other crunchy vegetables to the stir fry. If using stir fry them for 30 seconds right after the shallots are stir-fried.
Important: Nutrition Values are estimates. Actuals vary based on ingredients and serving size.