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Under 30 Minutes

Thai Beef with Chiles and Basil Over Coconut Rice

Turkey, lamb, pork, or chicken would also work in this recipe in place of beef.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6
Thai Beef with Chiles and Basil Over Coconut Rice


  • 1 1/4 cups jasmine rice
  • 1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 long hot peppers or red jalapeno chiles, seeded and sliced into 2-inch matchsticks
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground beef sirloin
  • 1 cup loosely packed torn fresh basil leaves
  • Lime wedges, for serving


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine rice, coconut milk, 3/4 cup water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook
    until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, about 25 minutes.

  2. When rice is almost done, combine
    fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar in a
    small bowl; set aside. Heat a cast-iron
    skillet or wok over high. Add oil and
    heat; add garlic and half the chiles. Cook,
    stirring constantly, 15 seconds. Add
    beef and cook, breaking up meat with
    a wooden spoon, until completely
    browned, about 4 minutes. Add soy
    mixture and cook 30 seconds. Add
    basil and remaining chiles and stir to
    combine. Serve beef over coconut
    rice with lime wedges.

Cook's Note

Cast-iron skillets and woks are both great for stir-frying. If using another pan, cook the beef in batches. Find fish sauce in the Asian-foods aisle of most supermarkets.

Reviews (24)

  • Lily-11 2 Oct, 2014

    Hi! I want to tell you that the title of the recipe is with beef and the video shows it with porc.

  • MirToniR 19 Aug, 2014

    Easy and satisfying meal! A few minor changes to the ingredients-peanut oil instead of vegetable oil, light coconut milk for coconut milk, low sodium soy sauce for soy sauce. Drained the meat after browning and before adding the sauce (as another reviewer suggested). Squeezed the lime wedge over the beef and rice just before serving. All the favors worked together perfectly!

  • celyne 8 Aug, 2014

    WOW! Excellent recipe! I added some green bell pepper for contrast and freshly grated ginger because it can be asian otherwise.... I also added the juice of a lime before serving instead of serving with pieces of lime. Great leftovers fot lunch tomorrow.

  • pasmal 10 Apr, 2014

    The family loved this! More importantly, the 5-year-old loved it--she didn't even complain about the coconut milk, which is always a problem for her. I left out the chiles but included a pinch of red pepper flakes. I reduced the fish sauce because I was afraid it might overpower the flavors (and smells).

  • Flavorfulandfit 9 Jan, 2014

    I used flank steak and trimmed the fat off and diced it into small bites, I replaced the fish sauce with Thai Red Chile Garlic Paste and a can of green chilies because that is what I had on hand. I cooked it covered and slow to not dry out the lean flank steak. Also, use reduced sodium soy sauce, (I saw the salty comment.) When it was almost done, I added about 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder to thicken up the excess liquid to create a sauce since I didn't drain the beef after it was brown. Amazing

  • Mims Smith 6 Nov, 2013

    This was extremely salty. I will not be making this again. The flavors were drowned out by the extreme salty flavors from the soy and fish sauce. I am going back to my favorite basil pork recipe, this is going in the trash.

  • TabbyHill 6 Sep, 2011

    This is a house favorite-the coconut rice really makes it. To get more veggies in the dish, I stir fry 2 carrots cut in short matchsticks, a medium onion cut in thin crescents, 7-8 thinly sliced mushrooms then add about 1 cup of frozen peas - to avoid overcooking the veggies remove from the wok before cooking the beef. I also add 1 T grated ginger with the garlic and peppers. Proceed with cooking and seasoning beef per the recipe, add the veggies back in at the end. So delicious and satisfying.

  • Cameron 8 Sep, 2014

    This is my favorite review and I always look back on it, to read how this user altered the recipe. Thank you!

  • kgibson9 2 Sep, 2011

    would cilantro be good in this instead of the basil? i want to take this to a more citrusy level rather than traditional.

  • MarisainBKK 26 Jun, 2011

    I don't mind if people like fusion food.... but claiming to something which is not correct, I don't think it is right way to learn about other nationality. I do cook fusion food at home too.... but I would not claim that I cook french or Italian when I use Thai noodle rather than italian pasta to cook pasta dishes.

    Also, we don't eat every dish with Lemon... (in fact we don't use lemon at all... we use lime. If you are good cook, you would know the difference....

  • deytech 26 Jun, 2011

    Loved the coconut rice. Who cares about authenticity? It's all about flavor and taste. The coconut rice works really well with this dish. Yummy and easy. I will make it again!

  • MarisainBKK 26 Jun, 2011

    Just want to share that Thai people never eat coconut rice as main dish.... If it would happen, it would only be for desserts with fresh Mango, Durian or custard.... For this kind of dish, we normally go with plain rice - just cook rice with water.

    Jelapino Chillies are acceptable, but pls. be careful it would be too spicy.... even I am Thai, I have to be careful when I cook with this mexican spice.

  • Lindsay 17 Feb, 2011

    I love this recipe, I make it all the time! Especially when I want to make something relatively quick and easy. Though I do add extra peppers, and I would suggest draining the meat before adding the sauce. Makes the dish a little healthier and actually helps add flavor because the sauce isn't diluted by the beef fat.

  • Bayshore 31 Jan, 2011

    Loved this. I didn't have basil leaves so I used bokchoy. I also added green onions, dried basil and some mushrooms to it. Many new flavors to me, and I liked the new experience.

  • Bayshore 31 Jan, 2011

    Loved this. I didn't have basil leaves so I used bokchoy. I also added green onions, dried basil and some mushrooms to it. Many new flavors to me, and I liked the new experience.

  • Puyi 10 Dec, 2010

    This was just bland... not horrible, but definitely not great. There's no spice or heat to this dish which was surprising to me since it has 3 chiles. In the end it was edible but not worth a do-over. :-(

  • deannatheresa 10 Dec, 2010

    Delicious!! All of the FLAVORS incorporate!! I live here in Alaska and found the ingredients no problem! I also added fresh mushrooms and onion. CREATE!!

  • cycloneusa 8 Nov, 2010

    L-A-M-E. After investing in the peppers (which aren't easy to find here), Jasmine rice, fish sauce, and the cup of basil, I would say that this dish is not worth the cost of the ingredients. I was left wondering where the taste was suppose to be. It was all such a let down because the TV chef RAVED about the smell and taste. I ended up adding some fire from chili sauce and some Thai paste to try to improve it. You could probably get more taste from a box of Hamburger Helper.

  • hudson2001 2 Oct, 2010

    I finally made this tonight and it was good, but didn't knock my socks off. Next time I will make some alterations while sticking closer to the recipe--I thought I had fish sauce until it was too late to get some, so substituted oyster sauce; I used more meat and less chiles than recommended, I didn't use Jasmine rice, and the meat was a little greasy. The next time I want to add some salt, red onion, more spice (chilis), more basil, and use non-ground beef. I can see it becoming a favorite...

  • lpeter01 28 Jun, 2010

    Fantastic recipe. My grocery store didn't have red jalapeno chiles, so I used green... it still tasted great. Next time, I'll probably try to experiment with leaner meat and light coconut milk, possibly adding a veggie or two. All in all, it was easy and delicious and I will definitely be making this again!

  • Suurje 25 May, 2010

    I love this recipe! It's a really delicious and different way to cook boring old ground beef.

  • jennsavich 7 Apr, 2010

    This is a great reicpe, fast, easy, and tastes great! I live in an area where asian/thai ingredients are plentiful and was looking for new recipes to try. I used chicken cut into bite-size pieces and needless to say I was very pleased with the outcome, so was my husband !

  • clar0101 22 Mar, 2010

    This too is one of my favorites. I make it almost weekly its so easy and tasty. It's now a favorite of my sister as well. I use ground turkey and like to add sliced bell peppers and onions in order to get more veggies in. It's good even without the basil, which I dont always have on hand.

  • lasaunda 16 Jan, 2010

    DELICIOUS!! I have made this over and over. Often recommend it to friends as well. Great with ground turkey and ground beef. I wouldn't change a thing about this recipe.

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