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Stir-fried beef with holy basil

Serves: 4

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Authentic Thai cuisine

beef, stir fries, the classics,

Difficulty: Super Easy

This dish, known as pad kra prow (‘stir-fried with holy basil’) in Thai, is something of a national dish, available at street food stalls and in restaurants all over Thailand. We sometimes call it ‘no idea’, because if you have no idea what to order, you often just order this – it’s so good you don’t even have to think about it. You can make it with anything from beef to chicken; mixed seafood to mushrooms and tofu, and it always tastes great (spicy and salty, with a hint of sweetness). Whenever you tuck into this dish, you’ll be one of the millions of people enjoying it that day.


Tools: Wok


This recipe serves four. Simply halved the ingredients for a meal for two.

6 garlic cloves
6 red bird’s eye chillies (adjust the spiciness level as preferred)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
400g beef tenderloin, sliced (or any protein you prefer)
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon granulated sugar (brown or white is fine)
1 small onion, chopped
1⁄2 red and green chillies
60g yard-long beans (or green beans), chopped
Large handful of Thai holy basil or Italian basil leaves
4 lime leaves, chopped

To serve:
Steamed jasmine rice
Crispy fried eggs


  1. Using a pestle and mortar or food processor, pound or blitz the chillies and garlic to a paste.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok set over a medium heat and fry the chillies and garlic paste until golden brown.
  3. Add the protein and stir in the fish sauce, light soy sauce, sugar and oyster sauce. Toss to mix well, then stir-fry for roughly 1-2 minutes until the meat is cooked.
  4. Add the red/green chillies and long beans, cook for 30 seconds, then mix in the basil and lime leaves.
  5. Remove from the heat and serve at once with steamed rice, topped with a slightly runny fried egg.

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