Thai Basil Beef (or Pad Krapow) is a quick and flavorful beef stir-fry dish! Browned ground beef, stir-fried shallot, red bell pepper and lots of garlic tossed in a flavorful sauce and lots of Thai basil. Yields 4 servings.
Thai Basil Beef is One Of My Favorite Thai Dishes to make at home.
And is also one of the reasons why I grow thai basil every summer. Living where I do, I’ve only found thai basil in my local grocery store once or twice – and then never again. However every spring, I do find thai basil starter plants in our local nursery. So I’ve started planting it in my herb garden so I can make my favorite thai dishes.
Thai Basil Beef (or Pad Krapow) is a super simple thai dish that’s quick to prepare and tastes incredible. It consists of browned lean ground beef, shallots, bell pepper and garlic in a slightly sweet and flavorful sauce. But the thai basil is where this recipe shines. It adds that distinct flavor that makes this dish so addictive.
I serve it over cooked thai jasmine rice and sometimes I whip up a quick carrot slaw to go with it.
To Make This Thai Basil Beef Recipe You Will Need:
for the sauce:
- sambal oelek – A spicy chili garlic paste that adds delicious heat. Can be found in most major grocery stores.
- low-sodium soy sauce – Lends a salty and savory (umami) flavor.
- dark soy sauce – Is sweeter and lends more of a full body flavor.
- oyster sauce – Tastes like the combination of soy sauce, fish sauce with the consistency of barbecue sauce.
- fish sauce – Adds a salty, slighlty briny fish flavor. I use the Red Boat brand. (not sponsored)
- sugar – Lends a touch of sweetness that balances out the salty flavors from other ingredients.
- white pepper – Brighter, a little sharper and more herbaceous notes than regular black pepper.
- lime juice – For acidity and subtle bright citrusy flavor.
for the stir-fry:
- avocado oil – Use any neutral oil meant for high heat cooking (like avocado, grapeseed or sunflower)
- lean ground beef – (90/10) ground beef is recommended as it yields little fat once browned (no need to drain it!)
- small red bell pepper – Adds a pop of red and a touch of sweetness.
- shallots– Or thinly sliced yellow onion can be substituted.
- garlic – This adds distinct and punchy flavor to this dish.
- thai basil (or use holy basil) – This has distinct basil meets anise or black licorice flavor. Italian (genovese) basil is not recommended – in my opinion.
- cooked rice – We like Thai jasmine, but brown rice or cauliflower rice would also work!
Make The Sauce:
In a medium bowl, measure and add; 1 tablespoon sambal oelek, 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce, 1-1/2 teaspoons dark soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon white pepper and juice of 1/2 a large lime.
Whisk to combine and set off to the side.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok or large deep-sided chefs pan over high heat. Once hot add in 1-1/2 pounds of lean (90/10) ground beef.
Use a wooden spatula to break up the beef. Cook until no longer pink and the edges of the beef gets browned and caramelized. Once browned, remove and transfer to a clean plate.
Add the last tablespoon of oil to the pan, along with 1 thinly sliced red bell pepper, 2 thinly sliced large shallots and 6 cloves of minced fresh garlic.
Stir fry the vegetables and garlic for about a minute or until the edges of the onion caramelize.
Add the browned beef back in.
Pour in the sauce.
And stir fry for 10 to 20 seconds until heated through.
Lastly, add in 1 cup thai basil leaves.
Stir fry until just starting to wilt.
Serve over cooked rice and if looking for a fresh side to go with it, try this quick Thai carrot slaw!
CAN ITALIAN BASIL BE USED INSTEAD OF THAI BASIL IN THIS RECIPE?
Thai Basil has such a distinct flavor that is incomparable. While in a pinch Italian basil can be used, you would be missing the specific flavor profile that Thai basil brings.
WHERE CAN I FIND THAI BASIL?
Asian markets should have it, along with some grocery stores and markets. I grow thai basil every year in my herb garden because where I live, it’s not readily available.
Enjoy! And if you give this Thai Basil Beef recipe a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!