Thai Basil Beef Recipe

We don't know about you, but we need all the 30-minute-meal ideas we can find. Life is busy: Work obligations are demanding, kids' schedules are exhausting, and a home-cooked meal cannot be burdensome or it, frankly, won't happen. Don't get us wrong, we love our fair share of delivery meals during the week, but we strive to provide home cooked meals whenever possible. This heavily relies on simple, tasty, and quick recipes we can add to our wheelhouse to keep a good variety in rotation.

Enter recipe developer Feta Topalu's Thai basil beef. Topalu notes, "This recipe comes together rather quickly which makes it a wonderful weeknight meal to add to your rotation." It takes just 30 minutes and provides everything we want out of a home cooked meal. It's comforting, flavorful, and nutritionally balanced, meaning you can feel good about providing it for your family. Not to mention, your whole family will actually eat and enjoy it.

Gather your Thai basil beef ingredients

To make this Thai basil beef, you can start by gathering your ingredients. For this recipe, you will need soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, flank steak, vegetable oil, cornstarch, a red bell pepper, a yellow onion, garlic, and basil leaves.

It's important to note that an authentic Thai basil beef recipe, also known as "phat-kaphrao", according to Taste Atlas, will require Thai holy basil leaves. However, they can be a bit tricky to track down. If you can find them, use them, but if not, feel free to substitute sweet basil leaves.

Make the flavorful sauce

In a small bowl, add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, and brown sugar. Use a whisk to combine these ingredients into a combined sauce. Then, set this aside. Don't worry, you'll come back to this sauce in the last step.

Since fish and shellfish are some of the most common food allergens and some people choose to abstain from eating these ingredients altogether, Topalu has some advice. She says, "For those avoiding fish/shellfish, subbing the sauce with a hoisin or a vegan fish sauce would slightly change the flavors of the overall dish, but I would recommend subbing the sauce [rather] than completely omitting it." Not sure where to find vegan fish sauce? Try an Asian grocery store, or even Amazon.

Velvet and sauté the beef

In a large bowl, add the sliced beef as well as the cornstarch. Give the beef a thorough toss until it is completely coated with cornstarch. Not sure why cornstarch is used here? Cornstarch acts as a thickener to sauces and when used to coat meat, is referred to as "velveting", which ultimately helps to tenderize the meat. Once your beef is coated, sauté it in a medium-high heated and oiled pan until it is browned. This should take about 6-8 minutes. Then, remove the meat from the pan.

When asked about different types of proteins to include as a replacement for beef, Topalu notes that "a chicken substitution would be an ideal swap. There would not be any changes to the recipe or steps. It would call for 1 1/4 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs." If choosing chicken instead of beef, still be sure to coat in cornstarch in a similar fashion.

Saute veggies, add cooked beef, sauce, and basil

Lastly, sauté the bell pepper and onion in the skillet. Continue to cook the veggies for about 5 minutes, until they are soft. Then, add in the minced garlic and cook for a quick 30 seconds, or until it is fragrant. Add the beef back to the pan along with the reserved sauce. Give the entire dish a good stir before adding in the basil leaves. Continue cooking the mixture until the sauce has thickened and the basil leaves have wilted.

At this point, you can remove the dish from the heat and serve it on top of cooked white rice. However, if rice is not your favorite, go ahead and skip it. Topalu notes, "Most Thai recipes pair wonderfully with rice, although you can sub the rice out with a fried egg per preference."

Thai Basil Beef Recipe
5 from 29 ratings
Enjoy an at-home version of a takeout favorite: Thai basil and beef stir-fry. Serve with jasmine rice for a complete meal!
Prep Time
Cook Time
Thai basil beef with rice on side
Total time: 30 minutes
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1¼ pound flank steak, thinly sliced against the grain
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup basil leaves, packed
Optional Ingredients
  • Jasmine rice, for serving
  1. Combine soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, and brown sugar in a bowl. Whisk together and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the beef together with 1 tablespoon of oil and cornstarch.
  3. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add half of the beef and cook until browned, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining beef. Set aside.
  4. Add the red bell pepper and onion to the pan. Sauté for 5-6 minutes until vegetables are soft. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 more seconds.
  5. Return the beef back to the pan. Pour the sauce over the beef and vegetables. Add the basil leaves. Stir to combine.
  6. Continue to cook until the sauce has thickened and the basil leaves are wilted.
  7. Remove from heat. Serve with jasmine rice.
Calories per Serving 343
Total Fat 19.0 g
Saturated Fat 5.4 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 96.4 mg
Total Carbohydrates 9.8 g
Dietary Fiber 1.2 g
Total Sugars 4.4 g
Sodium 1,231.4 mg
Protein 32.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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