Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thai stir fried minced meat with basil leaves

It is 12:50 at night, and I am staying up because I can't put down this book I'm reading - The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo by Stieg Larsson. Mid-way through the book, I decided to check out what everyone else has been cooking and here I am writing a post! No one has ever managed to tear me away from a book...such is the lure of blogging!

Other than Italian food, Terradaze and I generally tend to agree on all other cuisines and Thai cuisine is one of our favourite; the use of spices and herbs and coconut milk is something that totally suits our palette. Needless to say, Thai food is something that features very regularly on our table. Since I have a book to return to, I will cut the crap and leave you with something I make very very often at home...this one is ridiculously easy to put together resulting a tongue tickling delight of flavours. Enjoy!


Mince (chicken/pork/meat/beef) - 500 gm (the mince used here is pork, but I have made this with the others as well)
Garlic - 8 cloves
Chillies - 5 birds eye red chillies (adjust according to spice tolerance)
Coriander leaves, stem and root - 6 stalks
Fresh sweet or holy basil leaves - 3/4 cup, firmly packed
Fish Sauce - 1 1/2 tbsp
Oyster Sauce - 1 tbsp
Soy sauce - 1 tsp
Stock - 1/2 cup (or use 1 stock cube in 1/2 cup of water)
Brown Sugar - 1 tsp
Oil - 1 1/2 tbsp
deep fried basil leaves - 1 tbsp, optional, for garnish
(there is no salt in this list of ingredients - the sauces used are very high in salt, so add some only if you need to)


Wash and pat dry the coriander stalks. Pound the chillies, coriander stalks and garlic together.

Heat oil, fry the paste till fragrant. Turn up the heat to high and then add the mince in small batches - ensure that every batch you add is nicely browned before adding the next batch in; as you stir, the mince will release water. Keep cooking till the water dries up - by this time, the mince would be almost done.

Add all the sauces, sugar and half the basil leaves. Next add the stock, a little at a time and cook till the mince is well done.

Before serving, add in the remaining basil leaves, stir till they wilt. Garnish with the fried basil leaves and some sliced red chillies and serve with steaming hot rice.

Note: I have made the exact same thing with cauliflower. Steam the cauliflower till it is half cooked, mash it into tiny bits and proceed as above, just use vegetarian fish sauce in place of the real thing - it tastes just as good!

Sending this to Yasmeen who is hosting Weekend Herb Blogging this week , a lovely event conceived by Kalyn and now conducted by Halo.


  1. Excellent recipe. Very herby and must smell divine with Basil in the kitchen! My Basil died this Winter, bought seeds again, will see!:)

  2. Basil leaves is a wonderful herb.. I love the pleasant smell of that! Any suggestions for substituting veggies instead of meat?

  3. The meat sounds really flavourful...looks delicious.

  4. Lovely dish..flavourful meat dish Aqua:)

  5. I loev basil! the entire kitchen smells so good when i get them. Love to make this.

  6. Cery different ur recipe, all the ingredients sounds goood :)

  7. This looks really appetizing with loads of herbs

  8. Asha, even i have contemplated growing basil, but I get it so easily here that I guess all motivation to grow my own vanishes!

    Anu, try making it with cauliflower as mentioned at the botton of my post, you'll love it!

    Thanks, Poornima, Purva and Priya!The herbs simply enhance the flavour of the meat - really a case of less is more!

    Soma, yes, the kitchen does smell divine with all the does my bath - well, I tie kaffir lime leaves in a cheesecloth and immerse them in my bath - it is awesome, cheap aromatherapy!

    Cham, true, it is quite different - I mean I would never have dreamed of using coriander roots, but the person who shared this recipe insisted that it would make all the difference - well, it does.

  9. Basil sure is a very earthy herb,sounds perfect to flavor minced meat.Thanks for sending this over to WHB,aquadaze:)

  10. Nice one, love basil leaves...unique flvour.

  11. Such a great recipe.I loved it..!!!

  12. haha im on my balcony searching for this typical dish while my girlfriend is in the hammock reading 'the girl with the dragon tattoo!!"guess i look no further. thanks!


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