Stir fry is an Asian staple. Growing up, almost every home cooked dinner would consist of one or several forms of stir-fry. The wok and metal spatula clanking in the kitchen is usually the sound pre-empting a tasty dinner ahead.
I have a few stir fry go-to recipe in my bag. This Thai Basil recipe is one of them. I make this at least once a fortnight or when I run out of ideas on what to cook. It helps that I have a basil pot plant at home and always a stash of ground pork in the freezer. Ground pork should always be a staple in the freezer, because, burgers. And meatballs.
I've been told most Thai basil stir fry uses diced chicken. Which is known to work better because pork and beef tend to overpower the basil herb. But do it your own way. Heck, try it with bacon, why not.
Anyhooo... One other ingredient is key to this dish. Thai fish sauce. It's kinda like the blue cheese of Asian marinades. You either love or hate it.
Stir frying is easy. The usual chopped garlic and onions to be sauteed before adding the meat to brown and finished off with fish sauce and basil. But it is also important to add ingredients to the wok/pot in the correct sequence. Or you'll end up with overcooked meat, over reduced sauce, undercooked vegetables or herbs destroyed.
If you mess up, just remember the key is to add basil leaves at the very last step. Almost after you turn off the heat and just before you serve. I made it a few times adding basil too early and the basil kinda gets drowned out by all the other elements.
It also helps to marinate the ground pork with fish sauce and oyster sauce. You can also interchange the last one with hoi sin. And lots of white ground pepper. Black pepper works as well but white gives it a very distinct flavour.
For the life of me, I haven't been able to find fresh chilli here in Miami. The closest I have found are red peppers - which are not the same thing. But it does the trick visually to add color. To add the spicy kick, I have found that dried chilli, readily available in Whole Foods, does the trick.
On to the recipe proper
Ingredients you will need
- 500g of marinated ground pork*
- Several sprigs of thai basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Several cloves of garlic (chopped)
- 1 large onion (chopped)
- Frozen peas/Carrots/Green Beans
- 2 - 3 Red Chilli/Peppers
- Optional dried chilli for spicy kick
- Sautee chopped garlic and onions in oil till soft, on high heat.
- Add marinated ground pork and fry till they are no longer pink. Or till fragrant. By this stage you can smell the fish sauce.
- Add chilli, dried chilli and choice of vegetables and fry for another 5 minutes on high heat.
- When the vegetables are soft and al dente, turn off heat completely.
- Add basil leaves and stir through. Leaves should wilt in a few minutes.
- Drizzle with sesame oil and serve over rice or quinoa. And top with a sunny side up fried egg with runny yolk!
*marinate ground pork with 2 tables spoons of either hoisin or oyster sauce and one table spoon of thai fish sauce. Combine with one tablespoon of cornstarch.
Asian Australian food adventures in and out of the kitchen. Around the world. Like an oyster searching for it's pearl.