I discovered this recipe in our Costco magazine a couple of months ago. We had two packages of ground beef left, and I wanted to use them to make something other than hamburgers. The flavor profiles in the recipe were a good fit for us, so I clipped it out and finally got around to making it.
Brett and I absolutely loved this recipe, and agreed it was almost enough to keep us eating beef. It was so good in fact that I was actually happy to have a second package of ground beef just so I could make it again. We have a package of plant-based ground meat substitute in the freezer, and I plan to make it with that later.
I was a little concerned the samba oelek called for in the recipe might be too much, but it turned out to add just the right amount of heat. You know it’s there, but it’s not enough to overwhelm the other flavors. I also didn’t have any fish sauce on hand, but substituted a teaspoon of rice vinegar and the sauce flavors were terrific. I don’t think I added anywhere near enough basil – this is the one ingredient where you don’t want to skimp. We got the flavor from the amount I added (about one big handful of leaves), but more would have been better.
We ate this over rice, but I think it would be terrific with soaked mung bean noodles added to the skillet, which is what I’m going to try the next time I make this (which will be soon).
BASIL BEEF STIR FRY
- 3 TBSP dark brown sugar
- 5 TBSP soy sauce
- 2 tsp fish sauce (I substituted 1 tsp rice vinegar)
- 2 tsp sambal oelek (chili garlic paste)
- 2 TBSP water
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
- 1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 2 large handfuls of fresh basil leaves
In a medium bowl, blend together the sauce ingredients and set aside.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef and break up into small pieces. Add the pepper, onion, and garlic and cook until the beef if cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes.
Add the basil leaves to the beef mixture, then pour in the sauce. Stir to combine and let simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve over steamed rice. Makes four generous servings.
(If using mung bean noodles, soak the noodles for at least five minutes in very hot water. Drain the noodles, and then cut with kitchen shears into smaller pieces. Blend the noodles into the beef mixture before serving.)