This incredibly quick Thai chilli beef is stir fried with red chillies and Thai basil. Perfect for a midweek supper if you want restaurant-style cooking at home without spending hours in the kitchen. The fragrant herb and chilli combination will fill your kitchen with beautiful aromas and the dish is ready in just 15 minutes!
What is Thai Chilli Beef
I LOVE this dish! As the name suggests, Thai Chilli beef is made using thinly sliced beef steak stir fried with chillies and garlic, and finished with Thai basil leaves. I came across Thai Chilli Beef at a London restaurant in Waterloo and I fell in love with it! The fragrance of the holy basil and the spiciness of the dish combined with the restaurant atmosphere was the perfect dining experience! Since then I have been going to this restaurant once a month. It took me a few attempts to recreate the dish but the end result was as good as restaurant style cooking.
The difference between Thai basil and basil
It is THE key ingredient that will turn this dish into the most aromatic plate of heaven. Thai basil compared to other basil varieties has a purple stem, has a smell of aniseed and tastes more spicy. Thai basil is nowadays easily available in supermarkets, although it is a struggle to find the seeds to grow at home.
What ingredients make a Thai Chilli Beef
Lean beef steak: This cut of beef is ideal as it cooks quickly. It needs to be very thinly cut against the grain.
Bell Peppers: It gives a peppery flavour to the dish. I use red pepper as its colour contrasts well with the basil.
Thai Basil: It has this aromatic flavour of aniseed and is perfect for this Thai dish.
Chillies: Red hot chillies bring heat to the dish which is traditionally hot. Use mild chillies for less heat.
Onions and garlic: They enhance the flavours of the dish.
Soy and oyster sauces: You need enough sauce to coat the stir fry, as it brings the whole dish together.
Alternative ingredients: If you cannot find Thai basil you can use basil. You can swap beef for chicken, lamb or even Tofu! Try Romano peppers which has a sweeter taste and cooks quicker.
Tips and tricks for the perfect stir-fry beef
- Use a wok and make sure the oil is hot before stir frying the beef. You want the beef to sizzle in oil rather than stew in its own juices.
- It takes only a few minutes to cook the beef. Overcooking it will make the beef chewy.
- Add the Thai basil after turning the heat off. Adding it sooner the basil will wilt and lose most of its aroma.
How to store leftovers
You can store it in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days. It stores well in the freezer. You can either defrost it overnight in the fridge or reheat it from frozen, stirring every 2 minutes. Make sure it is piping hot before serving.
Fragrant Thai Chilli Beef with Basil and Peppers
- 400 g beef steak very thinly cut against the grain
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 cup Thai basil leaves
- Vegetable oil
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- Marinate the beef: Make a marinade with garlic, half the onion, black pepper and a little oil, and add to the beef.
- Sear the beef: Heat the wok over high heat and add a drizzle of oil. Sear the beef for 2 minutes until browned. Fry in small batches if necessary. Set aside.
- Stir fry: Add the chilli, onion and red pepper to the wok and stir fry for 2 minutes.
- Add the sauce: Add the soy sauce and oyster sauce and stir well. Toss the beef in and stir fry for 1 minute.
- Finish off: Turn off the heat and add the basil leaves. Gently toss and season if necessary.
- Serve: Serve with steamed rice and garnish with basil leaves.