I am crazy about Asian food for so many reasons. There are so many flavors at work in Asian cuisine and so many ways of putting them together. Asian Food generally requires as much cooking time as it does prep time. It works best when you’ve lined everything up, in the quantities you need. The stir-fry technique isn’t at all demanding. And no, you don’t need a Wok to do it. A great non-stick pan will work just fine.
Today’s recipe is a great take on a Thai classic. It can be found on virtually every Thai restaurant menu. It’s a very simple dish just loaded with flavor. And it is a great way to use those 1-lb. packages of Ground Pork you find at Trader Joe’s. Everything else in it is readily available in any good supermarket. The two clearly Asian ingredients—Fish Sauce and Soy Sauce are the backbone of any Asian pantry and great to have on hand along with Jasmine Rice, itself authentically Thai. As to the Thai Basil, this is probably the ingredient that will be hardest to find.
Sweet Italian Basil is ubiquitous in Italian American cooking. Thai Basil is more savory, spicy and has an undertone of licorice/anise flavor. Its leaves are sturdier and stand up to heat in a way that Italian Basil simply does not. It can be added to dishes during cooking rather than the conventional way Italian Basil is used as a finishing touch. That being said, in a dish like this one, the strong flavors of the dish make Italian basil a perfectly reasonable substitute. In fact, it’s what I used here.
To pull this dish off, just stir-fry the ground pork for a couple of minutes until it’s no longer pink. Then transfer it to a bowl and set it aside. Sauté the garlic until it releases its scent, then stir fry the peppers and onion. Once they’re soft in about two minutes, add back in the pork and stir in the fish and soy sauces, the sugar and the basil. Give it one quick stir fry under high heat and this dish is ready to serve. With a spritz of lime juice and some fresh basil as a garnish, it’s ready to go.
This dish just begs to be served over Jasmine Rice so that it’s sauce can flavor every bite of rice. You can serve it with brown rice, if that’s your preference. Or you can serve it over noodles. But whatever you do, serve it with a starch. They’re born for each other. Here is the recipe.
Thai Basil Minced Pork
Asian flavors in a flash. A wonderful burst of taste perfect atop Jasmine Rice.
- 1 cup ground pork
- ⅓ cup diced red bell pepper
- ⅓ cup diced green bell pepper
- ⅓ cup diced onion
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 handful of fresh Thai basil leaves
- half a lime, optional
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Step 1 Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat, stir in the ground pork, stir fry for 2-3 minutes or until changed color, remove from pan and set aside (leave oil in the pan).
- Step 2 Sauté garlic until fragrant, then stir in green and red peppers and onion, stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Step 3 Add the pork back into the pan, and toss in the Thai basil leaves.
- Step 4 Season with fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar, turn to medium-high heat and stir fry for a minute.
- Step 5 Drizzle with lime juice and serve.