Thai Minced Beef, Green Beans and Basil


This – and variations of it – is a standard home-style Thai dish to be served with plenty of fragrant Thai rice. You can use any kind of green bean (or yellow wax beans), with long beans (snake beans) being the most common type available in Thailand.

2 cups / 500 mL (approx.; 8 to 10 oz/250 to 325 g) green beans, chopped into 1”/2.5 cm pieces

10 oz / 325 g minced beef

4 slices ginger

1 tbsp + 1 tsp / 20 mL fish sauce

3 kaffir lime leaves (optional)

⅓ cup / 75 mL minced shallots

2 tbsp / 30 mL oil

4 to 5 red Thai chilies (seeded if desired), thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp / 10 mL Thai red curry paste

2½ tbsp / 40 mL lime juice

1 tbsp / 15 mL fish sauce

1 tbsp / 15 mL hoisin sauce

2 tsp / 10 mL palm sugar or other sugar

1½ cups / 375 mL Thai basil leaves

Blanch beans in boiling salted water until tender-crisp; drain, chill under cold water and drain well. Set aside.

Bring 2 cups/500 mL water, ginger, 1 tsp/5 mL of the fish sauce and lime leaves (if using) to boil; simmer for 4 minutes. Add beef and, stirring to break up meat, simmer until meat is no longer pink. Drain through strainer, removing ginger and lime leaves.

Heat oil in wok or sauté pan over medium-high heat, add shallots and chilies. When shallots are softened, add garlic and stir-fry until fragrant. Reduce heat to medium/medium-low and stir in curry paste; when fragrant, stir in lime juice, fish sauce, hoisin sauce and sugar. When sugar is dissolved, stir in beef. Stir-fry slowly until mixture is dry and beef is lightly browned. Stir in beans and stir-fry until beans are hot. Stir in basil leaves and plate.

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