Beef with Basil Stir Fry Recipe

Thai spicy basil beef

How to Make Thai Spicy Beef with Holy Basil

This is a classic and very popular lunch time dish, served over rice at small eateries throughout the kingdom, often with a crispy fried egg nestling on top. You may easily substitute pork, chicken or prawns in place of beef.

Whilst the flavour of this dish is instantly recognizable and very distinctive, each family or restaurant will prepare it in subtly different ways. Some will keep the meat or prawns dry, whilst others will use a much more generous and thicker sauce. Some will chop the basil leaves finely before adding them, and avoid the use of the basil stalks, whilst others will fry up the dish with most of the basil twigs intact. Our own version refines the dish somewhat by using only the leaves, and aims to achive a palate pleasing suace without excessive thickening.

This is a good dish to learn and is almost guaranteed to become part of your repertory when mastered, allowing you to whip up a spicy, savoury Thai meal in no time.

It is essential to use the correct type of basil. You need Thai purple or green  holy basil - not sweet basil, nor Italian basil.

Classically, this is a spicy dish. If you prefer more bland food, do feel free to reduce the number of chilies used.

Spicy Beef Fried with Basil - Ingredients

250g minced beef
1.5 tbs oil
8 garlic cloves, sliced
10 bird eye chilies, sliced
0.5 cup chicken stock (or water)
25g holy basil leaves

For the sauce:
3tbs oyster sauce
2 tbs fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sweet soy sauce
1 tsp rice flour or corn flour, mixed with 2 tbs water


  • Slice garlic thinly and fry in oil till golden
  • Add beef and chilies and brown
  • Add sauce ingredients. Stir briefly.
  • Add stock and bring back to boil.
  • Add holy basil leaves and stir for 40 seconds until slightly thicker - or add water to thin.
  • Serve over rice, preferably with a fried egg with a soft, melting yolk - the way most Thais will eat it.


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