DALLAS - Basil pork is as ubiquitous in Thai food as cheeseburgers are in American food. This is a street food version, very different from the one I shared in 101 Asian Dishes. This one is distinctly Thai with the use of Thai oyster sauce, sweet soy sauce and cut green beans. No bell peppers, and way more gravy and richness. I love this version over hot jasmine rice and fried runny egg on top.
- 4 tbsp (60 ml) canola or other high-temperature cooking oil
- 12 oz (340 g) ground pork (ideally course ground)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-4 fresh Thai chilies, minced
- 2 cups (200 g) green beans, cut into ¼-inch slices
- 1 cup (240 ml) chicken stock
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) sweet soy sauce
- 1 ½ tbsp (23 ml) fish sauce
- 1 ½ tbsp (23 ml) oyster sauce
- 2 tsp (9 g) MSG
- 2 cups (48 g) holy or sweet basil leaves, loosely packed
- 1 tsp white pepper
- Cooked jasmine rice, for serving
- Fried runny eggs, for serving
Heat a heavy-bottomed 9 to 11-inch pan over high heat for about 1 minute to preheat. Swirl in the oil, making sure to touch every inch of the pan. When you see wisps of white smoke, add the ground pork and start to press down to spread it across the pan. You want maximum coverage to use the pan’s surface area to start the browning.
Allow it to cook without stirring or breaking up the meat. After about 1 to 2 minutes, the bottom of the pork will be light to medium brown. Fold the pork over, making sure the raw side sears for another 2 minutes. While the second side is light to medium brown, start breaking the pork into smaller bits.
Add the garlic, Thai chilies and chopped beans to the pan and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes until the garlic starts to brown and the beans turn from leathery to bright green.
Stir in the chicken stock and use it to scrape up any delicious bits stuck to the pan. The stock will boil and start to reduce. Reduce the stock by half, stirring occasionally for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in sweet soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce and MSG until well incorporated. Let the sauce stay at a boil and continue to reduce until it thickens into a beautiful gravy.
Stir in basil leaves during the last 30 seconds, but don’t let the sauce over reduce; you want a decent amount of gravy left in the pan. Divide among plates and top with white pepper. Serve with rice and fried eggs.