Stir-Fried Minced Beef With Chiles And Holy Basil

Recipe adapted from Thai Street Food, Ten Speed Press

Stir-Fried Minced Beef With Chiles And Holy Basil
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Stir-Fried Minced Beef with Chiles and Holy Basil
  • Chiles in Fish Sauce
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 10 to 15 Thai bird's eye chiles, finely sliced
  • Pinch of chopped coriander
  • Minced Beef 
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 to 10 Thai bird's eye chiles
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 ounces coarsely minced or ground beef (preferably minced by hand)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce, to taste
  • Large pinch of white sugar
  • ¼ cup beef stock or water
  • 2 large handfuls of holy basil leaves (substitute Thai basil if holy basil is unavailable)
  • Steamed jasmine rice, for serving
  • Chiles in fish sauce, for serving
Optional Ingredients
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced (optional but desirable)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (optional)
  1. Make the chiles in fish sauce: In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, chiles and garlic and set aside until ready to use.* Just before serving, stir in the lime juice and the coriander.
  2. Make the beef: Coarsely chop the garlic and the chiles and mix them with the salt.
  3. Heat a well-seasoned wok over high heat, then turn down the heat and add 2 tablespoons of the oil. Crack in one of the eggs and fry gently, pushing the egg around the wok with a spatula to prevent it from sticking, until it has cooked to your preference. Spoon some of the hot oil over the egg to ensure that the yolk cooks evenly. Using a spatula, carefully lift the egg out of the wok and place it on a warmed plate. Repeat with the second egg. Keep the eggs warm while you cook the beef.
  4. Add the rest of the oil to the wok. When the oil is hot, fry the garlic and chiles for a moment, but don't let them color. Add the beef and continue to stir-fry for about a minute until just cooked through. Season to taste with the fish sauce and sugar but be careful not to add too much fish sauce or the dish will become too salty.
  5. Add the stock or water to the wok and simmer for a moment. Don't let the mixture boil for too long or the meat will toughen and too much liquid will evaporate (there should be enough liquid to form a sauce).
  6. Stir in the holy basil; as soon as it wilts, remove the wok from the heat. The beef should taste rich, hot, salty and spicy from the basil.
  7. Divide the beef on two plates and top each with a fried egg. Serve with plenty of steamed jasmine rice and the the chiles in fish sauce on the side. *Note: The mixture keeps well--in fact it becomes richer and milder as it settles for a day. If you prepare the sauce in advance, make sure to cover it until you are ready to use it. If the fish sauce evaporates, add an equivalent amount of water to refresh it.
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