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Thai stir-fried minced beef with chilli and basil

Thank you very much to Suzanne Barnes, our new neighbour, for this recipe, which she made for her family using West Ilkerton minced beef. Bizarrely, although Suzanne and her family live only half a mile away at The Homestead we have never met because the Covid-19 'lockdown' happened just after they moved in. However, we're in touch via Facebook and have delivered beef boxes to her door!

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 15 minutes

This recipe is for 2 people


  • For the sauce: 35 ml fish sauce
  • 2 bird's-eye chillies (finely sliced)
  • 1 garlic clove (very finely sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon of lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander (finely chopped)
  • For the beef: 6 red or green bird's eye chillies (fewer if you want to make the dish less hot)
  • 4 small garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil (more if you deep fry the eggs)
  • 200g good quality minced beef
  • Pinch of caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • A big handful of Thai basil (or holy basil from specialist Asian shops)
  • 2 large free range eggs


Suzanne says this recipe is very hot but you can leave out some of the chillies if you want to calm it down, especially if children are going to eat it.

The egg on top mollifies the heat and is a lovely addition. Ideally it should be deep-fried to get a gorgeous crispy edge with a runny yolk in the middle, but regular fried eggs are fine. 

For best results, use a Wok and get it really hot. Pour condiments down the inside of the Wok so that they are hot when they reach the other ingredients and everything stir-fries rather than boils.

For the serving sauce, mix together the fish sauce, chillies and garlic and set aside for the flavours to meld.
Meanwhile, for the beef, coarsely chop the chillies with the garlic and a pinch of salt.
  1. Heat about 10cm of oil in a saucepan (for the deep-fried eggs) while you cook the beef. (Though if you prefer, you can shallow-fry the eggs in a regular frying pan.)
  2. Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a wok then fry the garlic and chilli mixture, but don’t let it colour. Add the beef and stir-fry for a minute, until only just cooked.
  3. Season to taste with the sugar and fish sauce but be careful not to make it too salty. Add 50ml water and gently simmer for a minute, but don’t let it boil or the meat will become tough. There should be enough liquid to make a bit of a sauce.
  4. Stir in the basil and remove from the heat.
  5. Fry your eggs. To deep-fry, have the oil really hot and crack in an egg so it’s submerged. Fry until the white is crispy and the yolk still runny (it should take less than a minute). Drain well.
  6. Add the lime and coriander to the sauce and serve alongside the beef with boiled rice, noodles or pasta plus a fried egg on top of each dish.