The way of the Osaka barman

17:00, Jul 14 2010
INSPIRING: Stir-fried beef with basil and chilli.

This dish is inspired by a Japanese beef dish.

I have travelled to Osaka six or seven times to visit my brother Scott and it is an amazing place. It is so full of culinary delights that it's good to have local knowledge when you're wanting to explore the many stand- up bars and eateries. This dish was first sampled when a barman in a small stand-up bar cooked it for us. The deep-fried basil leaves struck me as being a beautiful addition to the dish, and I love the bit of mirin - a sweet rice wine - splashed over the hot beef at the end of cooking; it adds a little sweetness that works extremely well with the chilli.

Stir-fried beef with basil and chilli

700g of sirloin steak, sliced thinly across the grain

20 fresh basil leaves, fried in oil until translucent, drained and left to cool

5 Tbsp vegetable oil


2 Tbsp mirin

300g egg noodles. I prefer the thin, fine, narrow ones for this recipe. Cook as directed.

The marinade:

Remember, when marinating meat the longer the better. I would normally leave it overnight, but 20 minutes outside the fridge should do it if you are in a hurry.

3 fresh red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped

4 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped

2cm knob of fresh ginger, grated

2 Tbsp fish sauce

1 tsp palm sugar

Juice of 1 lime

2 Tbsp peanut oil

Black pepper to taste

10 chopped basil leaves, sprinkled over marinating beef.

Place all ingredients except basil leaves into your mortar and pestle. Smash together until you have combined all ingredients well. Pour over beef in a shallow container and sprinkle basil leaves over, cover and set aside. Cook the noodles as per packet directions. Then heat the oil in a wok and fry the basil leaves until translucent. Remove and set aside to cool. They will become crisp as they cool. Drain most of the oil from the wok, then place the wok over a high heat.

When almost smoking, add the beef and marinade. Cook quickly stirring all the time until the beef is cooked.

Splash over mirin and continue cooking for around 30 seconds.

Grind fresh black pepper over the top, cover and rest.

Garnish with the fried crispy basil leaves and serve with the noodles.

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