Stir-fried beef with lemongrass paste and lime basil

March 13, 2017





For lemon grass paste


Lemon grass, diced, discard the green part of the roots, 5 roots
Mixture of green and red chili, 7 pieces
Shallots, diced, 5 cloves
Garlic, 6 cloves
Kafir lime leaf, 3 leafs


For main assembly of stir fry


Tenderloin beef, sliced, 250g
Lime basil, 200g
Fish sauce, 4 tablespoons
Oyster sauce, 3 tablespoons
Sugar, 1 tablespoon
Vegetable oil, 3 tablespoons
Black pepper to season
Spring onion and bell pepper to garnish


Method of preparation


1.   Prepare the lemon grass paste by blending the ingredients together and set aside. This could be prepared several hours ahead as long as it is kept chilled.

2.   When all ingredients are set and ready to cook, set up the frying pan over the medium heat.

3.   Stir-fry the lemon grass paste with the vegetable oil until the paste starts to get slightly smoky and aromatic. Take care not to burn the paste.

4.   Add the beef and to follow immediately by the seasoning of oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar and pepper.

5.   When the beef is cooked to about medium rare, finally add in the lime basil and continue to fry for about 20 seconds.

6.   Top the dish with sliced bell pepper and spring onion before serving. For more elaborated garnish, sprinkle a handful of deep-fried Kraphao leafs over the dish before serving to enhance both the exotic look and the aroma.


My note


‘Phad Kraphao’ is a favorite dish that every Thai seem to grow up having own family version. It is often regarded as a popular one dish meal for lunch, usually served with hot steamed rice and fried egg with brown-crispy-egg white and runny yolks. The variations for main ingredients of Phad Kraphao are chicken and seafood with mushrooms as optional addition to it.


The vegetarian version is Phad Kraphao of mixed mushrooms with white onion. The spiciness from hot chili can be adjusted to personal taste, of course. One of the most country ways of preparing is to mince the chicken or beef together with the lemon grass paste. This will enhance the freshness and more spicy flavour to the meat.


Although the method of preparation is simply uncomplicated and requires only a few minutes to cook, the uncompromising requirement for the ingredient of the dish maybe slight problem for kitchens outside Thailand or for those without access to Thai markets. The lime basil leaf (Bai Kraphao), that is, and we simply can’t make Phad Kraphao without the Kraphao leaf. Just imagine onion soup without onion!


Lime basil is a Thai specialty that grow wild and fast through out Thai backyards and they can be grown at places with a lot of sun. It’s tiny green leafs are slightly hairy with purple flowers when they get old and it is one of the most effective and striking aroma species of all basils. Unfortunately, there is no substitution for this leaf by other kinds of basils.    

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