Oh, how I long for the days of my next adventure. Lately, I have been reminiscing on the 12 days I spent in Thailand in late 2016 which was a whirlwind of culinary and other incredible experiences; from bathing elephants to late night markets and the most incredible mango sticky rice. Counting the days until I return, however, for now, I’ll leave you with a memory from our first night in Chiang Mai and this delicious recipe for Thai basil beef.
We arrived at our accommodation late in the evening and exhausted after a day in transit coming over from Vietnam (cheap flights at inconvenient hours will do that to you – lesson learned!). Determined to explore and quite peckish, we wandered down the street and came across the most gorgeous riverside courtyard. With fairy lights strung and views of the night time riverside, we settled in for our first Thai meal. I opted for the spicy basil beef with rice and Adele had the first of many Thai Green Currys.
The meal was insane and I suffered through the heat as I stupidly poured all the hot sauce over my dish in excitement – had a bit of a sweat going by the end. Back in Auckland, the weather’s turning and autumn is near which has me craving sunnier days, warmer evenings and many adventures. I think it’s time to book another trip overseas…but where to this time? For now here’s my interpretation of a delicious Thai basil beef.
Carrot Pepper Salad
2 large carrots cut into matchsticks
4 baby bells peppers sliced
1 hot red peppers sliced
2 green onions chopped
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 cloves garlic minced or grated
2 teaspoons fresh ginger grated
500g beef mince (you could also use pork or chicken)
pinch of black pepper
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup sweet Thai chilli sauce
1 cup fresh basil leaves or fresh coriander sliced or chopped, plus extra for serving
Toasted sesame seeds + chopped roasted peanuts for serving
Juice of 1 lime plus lime wedges for serving
1. Add the carrots, peppers, hot red pepper, green onions fish sauce, honey, lime juice and 2 tablespoons soy sauce to a medium bowl. Toss well and set aside while you make the beef.
2. Heat a large wok or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the oil, once hot add the garlic and ginger. Cook 15-30 seconds and then add the beef. Season the beef with salt and pepper and cook until brown all over, breaking it up as you go.
3. Once the beef is browned, add 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1/3 cup sweet Thai chilli sauce and 1/2 cup of fresh chopped basil/coriander. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the sauce for 3-5 minutes or until the beef is well coated. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 1/2 cup fresh basil/coriander.
4. Divide the rice noodles among the bowls, top with equal amounts of beef. Add the carrot salad on top. Garnish with chopped peanuts, fresh basil, and toasted sesame seeds.
Sit back, enjoy and start planning your next trip to Thailand!