RECIPES / Beef stir-fried with oyster sauce, onions and thai basil

Beef stir-fried with oyster sauce, onions and thai basil

Beef stir-fried with oyster sauce, onions and thai basil (Neua pat nahm man hoi)

Serves 2, with rice

Beef is the best meat for this dish – and the better the beef, the better the result. I suppose you could also consider chicken or pork, but I really do think beef is best.

This stir-fry calls for an unusual technique – one that’s not at all traditional, but one that works. Dry-frying the onions, almost charring them, gives a rich and smoky finish and then adding the marinated beef before the oil, ensures that it colours and caramelises. After this, just add the oil and continue to fry as you would normally.

Season the wok each time you use it. This is a simple matter of heating the wok until it is red hot and smoking, turning it around to make sure that all parts are exposed to the heat. Carefully wash to remove any flakes of carbon and dry.

After stir-frying, wash out the wok and season it once more before wiping with a little oil and storing. Always season your wok before using. Once done, it is primed and ready to go, and any dish cooked in it will have a smoky tang – this is called the breath of the wok, and is the hallmark of a good stir-fry.


  • 200 g beef rump – or rib, sirloin or skirt
  • ½ large white onion, cut in half and then into elegant wedges
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2–3 tablespoons chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons Megachef oyster sauce – more or less, to taste
  • Pinch of white sugar
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • Handful of Thai basil leaves


  • 1 garlic clove
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cm piece of peeled ginger – optional
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • Pinch of white sugar
  • Pinch of star anise powder – optional
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce

Slice the meat across the grain, making sure there is a little fat still attached.


Using a pestle and mortar, make a coarse paste from the garlic, salt and ginger (if using). Scrape into a bowl, then stir in the pepper, sugar, star anise (if using), soy sauce and oyster sauce. Add the beef and marinate briefly – for about 5 minutes. Heat the wok. Add the onion and dry-fry until slightly charred. Add the beef and allow to caramelise and char slightly, turning once or twice to ensure a deep and even colour. Add the oil and stir-fry over a high heat for a minute. Add the oyster sauce and fry until the beef is starting to colour. Moisten with the stock and season with the oyster sauce, sugar and pepper. Finish with the Thai basil leaves. Serve with steamed rice.

By Mr. David Thomson

06 May 2019 03:21PM
( Updated: 07 May 2019 10:08 PM )

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