Basil Beef

I have been wanting to make this ever since I first planted my Thai basil seeds early this spring.  I love anything and everything with Thai basil; I add a ton when I eat Pho, I love it in Vietnamese summer rolls and it is fantastic in the Vietnamese Rice Noodle Bowls topped with stir-fried meat.

Just look at that Thai basil; it’s just so pretty.  Both of my basil plants have done really well this year, to the point where they are out of control.  They are absolutely huge, and it’s starting to get cold which means I need to start preserving them ASAP, or keep dragging them in the apartment at night.  The sweet basil will probably turn into pesto or tiny little oil-basil packets for sauce and then frozen.  I’m not quite sure what to do with the Thai basil, to preserve it for the winter – that might become an Asian pesto of sorts, for seafood, and chicken – we’ll see…

The veggie prep is the most time-consuming part of this dish; once all the vegetables are cleaned and cut, the rest of the dish comes together in about 10-15 minutes.

I recommend frying the beef in batches to get a better sear; also resist the urge to move the meat around constantly, it will cook better if you leave it alone at first.

The Thai basil is my favorite part of this dish.  You can find Thai basil at some Asian grocery stores; if you can’t find Thai basil, the sweet basil can be substituted, but the flavor will be slightly different.  I left my leaves whole because they were fairly small; if you have larger leaves, you can tear them if you like.



Basil Beef  

1 pound of beef (flank, blade, flat-iron, or sirloin) 
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of corn starch
1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of minced ginger
3 cloves of garlic, minced 
2-3 Thai or Serrano chilis, thinly sliced
1 large onion, sliced into 1/4″ sections (about 2 cups)
2 medium red, orange, or yellow bell peppers cut in 1/2″ strips
3 medium carrots, sliced on a bias, 1/8″ thick (about 1 cup)
6 ounces of white button mushrooms, quartered
1 cup of Thai Basil leaves
1/2 cup of chicken stock, beef stock or water
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon of chili garlic sauce
1 tablespoon corn starch

Place beef in the freezer while you are prepping the veggies; do not leave it in the freezer for more than 30 minutes.  This will make it easier to slice the meat thin.

Remove beef from the freezer and slice across the grain of the meat, in 1/8″ wide strips.  If your beef steak is wide, you may want to cut it into two sections and then slice against the grain so the pieces of beef are more bite size.  Toss sliced meat with soy, brown sugar, corn starch and sesame oil.  Set aside and let beef rest for 10 minutes.  Mix sauce ingredients in separate bowl and set aside.

Heat a non-stick or cast iron skillet on high heat with a thin layer of vegetable oil.  Add half of the beef and top with half of the ginger, garlic and hot peppers; let the meat sear for 45 seconds to a minute before stirring.  Stir, and cook meat until pink just disappears; transfer to plate and cook remaining beef, adding more oil to the pan if needed.  Add second batch of beef to plate and set aside.

To cook the veggies, place a large sauté pan on high heat (I use a 14″ stainless pan because it is the largest sauté pan I have), and add a thin coating of vegetable oil.  Add veggies all at once (except for basil), stirring only occasionally, so they develop some color.  Cook 4-5 minutes until they are just slightly tender.  Return meat to pan, and sauté for 1 minute.  Add sauce to pan and sauté for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute until the sauce has thickened and is at the desired consistency.  Remove from heat and toss quickly with basil leaves.  Serve over white rice.


  1. Zade Faraj says

    Absolutely perfect! Unfortunately i only had regular basil, and I skipped out on the carrots, but the dish was better than any ive had. Many many thanks!!!

  2. Mom says

    This recipe is fantastic I can not believe I’ve waited two years to try it i can’t wait to grow more Thai Basil next year. My friend Tulie makes it with chicken all the time. I’m hoping the cold weather will hold so I can try that!

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