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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Thai One On

My Thai Beef with Basil... Picture Perfect
I'm not usually much for Asian food.  My friend Lisa is always making stir fry dishes but I never do.  In fact, I only recently added sriracha to my pantry.  Both Ted and Charlie think my lack of interest in Asian cooking is my greatest failing.  I figure that if that's my greatest failing, I'm in pretty good shape.

Here's the thing about Asian cooking.  The recipes call for about a zillion ingredients, most of which I don't possess.   I mean, I have soy sauce, and fish sauce, and chili sauce.  And now I have sriracha which, by the way, is delicious.  But it seems like every recipe I come across calls for every sauce imaginable.  It's just too much measuring, mixing, and stirring for me.

But I'm a pragmatic kind of gal and I have to cook dinner every night.  Sometimes I just have to reach into the deep recesses of my pantry and go Asian.

Last night was one such night.  I had been looking through (actually I was searching desperately through) my new Bon Appétit magazine for something... anything... to make for dinner.  And there it was: Thai Beef with Basil.  Quick and easy, at least according to the 25  minute time estimation, and I was sold.  The fact that I also possessed all the ingredients without having to google for substitutions, made me jump with joy.  (Okay, I didn't actually jump, but I was happy).

 Bon Appétit knows their stuff.  The recipe took about 25 minutes start to finish, and came out looking an awful lot like the picture in the magazine.  Score one for me!

Not only was the Thai Beef with Basil pretty, it was delicious.  Quick, easy, delicious.  What more could I ask for, other than a shorter ingredient list?

Recipe:  Thai Beef with Basil
Bon Appétit Magazine, November, 2013


2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 red chiles, thinly sliced, seeded for less heat if desired, divided
1 pound ground beef
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups fresh basil leaves, divided
2 medium carrots, julienned or coarsely grated
2 scallions, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
1 teaspoon sugar
Steamed rice and lime wedges (for serving)


Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add garlic and 1 chile and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook, breaking up with a spoon and pressing down firmly to help brown, until cooked through and nicely crisped in spots, 8–10 minutes. Add broth and 2 cups basil and cook, stirring, until basil is wilted, about 2 minutes.
Toss carrots, scallions, 1 Tbsp. lime juice, and remaining chile, 1 cup basil leaves, and 1 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl.

Mix soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and remaining 3 Tbsp. lime juice in another small bowl until sugar dissolves.

Top rice with beef and slaw and drizzle with soy dressing. Serve lime wedges alongside for squeezing over.

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