Thai Beef with Basil

Did You Know Walmart Has Thai Basil?

Thai Beef with Basil, came about on a fluke. One day, I was strolling through the produce section of Walmart. Out of the corner of my eye, there was something so astonishing to me.  Thai Basil. At. Walmart.  Without even thinking, I grabbed about four packages.   Placing them into my cart, it occurred to me:  “What are you going to make with this?” Seriously, there wasn’t a clue to be found to answer that question.  I just knew I had to have it.  

Buried deep in the back of my mind, I remembered seeing a recipe for Thai Beef in one of my cookbooks.  After making a beeline to the meat department, it was clear I have no idea what type of beef I needed.  In my cart went flank steak, top sirloin, and round steak.  If the recipe didn’t call for one of those, I knew I could make it work regardless.

Upon returning home, I flipped through several of my cookbooks until I finally found the recipe. It was in The All-New Good Housekeeping Cookbook copyright 2001.  This book has seen better days is quite the understatement.  The spine is destroyed and, being held together with clear packing tape. The book is out of print, but I did find a few copies on eBay. That is if I ever get around to replacing it.

Huh? Thai Beef with Basil with no Thai basil?

Reading through the recipe, I realized I have all the ingredients; however, something was off.  It called for basil, regular ole basil.  Glanced at the title again: “Thai Beef with Basil.”  Thai Beef? Check!  Thai basil?  Missing.  Of course, I had to make a substitution—the best decision I made that night, outside of buying the Thai basil in the first place.

This dish is incredibly simple.  As with all stir-fry dishes, prep all the ingredients before the cooking starts, and things will go so well.  Not only is it fast cooking and simple to make, it is delicious. The saltiness from the fish and soy sauces and sweetness from the sweet onion play exceptionally well with the beef.  The Thai basil is out of sight.  I would make this dish over and over again if I weren’t trying to broaden my list of go-to recipes. 

If you try this Thai Beef with Basil recipe, let me know what you think!

Thai Beef with Basil

Tay M.
Super simple, fresh-tasting beef, and sweet onion stir-fry seasoned with salty fish and soy sauces; Thai basil gives a slight anise flavor.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 51 minutes
Cuisine Asian Inspired
Servings 4 recipe
Calories 292.38 kcal


  • 3 tbsp Asian fish sauce nuoc nam
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 lb beef top round steak
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil plus 1 tsp
  • 1 jumbo sweet onion 1 pound, cut into ¼ inch-thick slices
  • 3 garlic cut into long thin slices
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger minced, peeled
  • 1 cup Thai basil loosely packed


  • In a medium bowl, combine fish sauce, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Cut round steak lengthwise in half, then cut into ⅛-inch thick slices across the grain. Add beef to the fish-sauce mixture, tossing to coat well; cover and refrigerate beef 30 minutes to marinate.
  • In a 12-inch skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon oil over high heat until very hot. Add beef mixture and cook, stirring frequently (stir-frying), just until the beef is no longer pink, about 1 minute. Transfer beef to a bowl.
  • Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to skillet/wok. Add onion and cooking, stirfrying until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes.
  • Stir in chiles, garlic, and ginger; cook 30 seconds
  • Return beef to skillet and add basil; heat through.