I received some thai basil leaves in my CSA box last week and I finally got around to using them. I have never cooked with thai basil before and wasn't really sure what to do with it. Therefore, I turned to a cookbook I bought a couple of months ago called Food of Thailand. There was a great recipe for beef with thai basil that was super easy and nice and healthy, so I decided to use my new found basil in this recipe. In the book, it was served as is, but I think in hindsight I would have liked to have served this with some rice.
The thai basil had a very different flavor to regular basil. It is said to have more of an anise flavor, but it tasted more lemony to me. Anyhow, if you can get your hands on some of this interesting herb, I would recommend this recipe as a way to try it.
Beef with Sweet Thai Basil Leaves
1 tbs fish sauce
3 tbs oyster sauce
4 tbs vegetable or chicken stock, or water
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbs vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 bird's eye chillies, lightly crushed with the side of a cleaver
1lb beef rump or fillet steak, finely sliced
1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
2 handfuls of thai sweet basil leaves
1. Mix the fish sauce, oyster sauce, stock and sugar in a small bowl.
2. Heat the oil in the wok or frying pan and stir-fry half the garlic over medium heat until light brown. Add half the crushed chillies and half the meat and stir-fry over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until meat is cooked. remove from the wok and repeat with the remaining garlic, chillies and meat. Return all the meat to the wok.
3. Add the onion and the fish sauce mixture and stir-fry for another minute. Add the basil leaves and stir-fry until the basil begins to wilt. Taste and then adjust the seasoning if necessary. Spoon onto serving plate.