Thursday, October 15, 2009
Thai Stir-Fried Beef with Basil
The ONE food I miss here on the island more than any other is Thai food. Despite my slight addiction, I have been too intimidated to put any real effort into learning how to cook Thai. The flavors seem so complicated. Last year, while perusing the clearance shelves of Borders, I came across an enormous, hardcover, full-color Thai cookbook for $5.00. Really, there was no question in my mind if I should buy it and bring it home and place it on my cookbook shelf...where it sat until a few days ago. I really didn't think of it as a gratuitous purchase. I think that I thought I had to psych myself up to be ready to do some elaborate preparation and buy crazy ingredients and spend some mula on things I wouldn't use in any other dish. After making some curry the other night, I got so homesick(yes, that is the best description for what I was feeling) for Thai food that I pulled out my cookbook, gave it a good dusting, and sat down just to look, no commitments. A lot of it was exactly what I was afraid of, but there were also little gems in there that I knew I could make with stuff I had in my kitchen. So I did! I did it! I cooked my own Thai dish that wasn't curry(I've got cans of Thai curry paste in my pantry). Well, I did change it a bit. The picture above is the one I scanned from the cookbook, so I'll post the recipe as is, then I'll show you what I did differently for mine.
Thai Stir-Fried Beef with Basil
1 Tbs fish sauce
3 Tbs oyster sauce
4 Tbs chicken stock or water
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbs oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 red chilies, lightly crushed with the side of a cleaver(I used chili oil)
1 beef steak, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
2 handfuls of basil leaves
Mix the fish sauce, oyster sauce, stock and sugar in a small bowl. Heat the oil in the wok or frying pan and stir-fry half the garlic over a medium heat until light brown. Add half the crushed chillies and half the meat and stir-fry over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until the meat is cooked. Remove from the wok and repeat with the remaining garlic, chillies and meat. Return all the meat to the wok. Add the onion and the fish sauce mixture and stir-fry for another minute. Add the basil leaves and stir-fry until the basil begins to wilt. Taste, then adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Ok, so my version was a little different, as you can see. I did the garlic and beef per directions, but didn't return it to the pan. Instead, I drizzled a little more oil in the pan, then added some shredded savoy cabbage and thinly sliced yellow squash, and quickly cooked them until starting to wilt and take on some brown marks. Then I removed the vegetables and drizzled a bit more oil into the hot pan, and added the onions and beef, and stir-fried a few minutes. Then I added the vegetables back in, and also added in the sauce. I salt-n-peppered the whole thing, and just cooked until the sauce was bubbling hot up through the veggies. Then I threw in the basil leaves and stirred for another few moments(I should have taken the pan off the heat, though, after adding in the basil, as the leaves looked like cooked spinach at the end). Served it with rice.