Thai Beef With Jalapeño And Basil

Here’s a slightly spicy family favorite that reminds us a bit of a Thai shepherd’s pie, just coconut rice instead of potato. Jalapeños (the heat source here) provides a mild to low-medium heat, so nearly everybody in the family can enjoy.

Thai beef with jalapeno and basil_2
Thai beef with jalapeño and basil. Delicious exotic comfort food.

The coconut milk-infused jasmine is such a tasty base for the ground beef topping. It’s creamy and subtly sweet, a comfort-food base that complements the savory beef that sits atop.

The ground beef takes on many flavors. The fish sauce and soy sauce give it an exotic flavor, while the basil provides an herbal, garden-fresh twist. Plus, the jalapeño brings more than heat here. The bright bite you get from green jalapeños works extremely well with the cast of ingredients here.

Want it milder? You could simply add less jalapeños. Or another option is to make a slight change in the recipe’s timing with the chilies. We add the jalapeños in two rounds in the instructions. Half are added while the ground beef is cooking, the other half at the end with the basil. You could opt to only add jalapeño at the end, so the beef doesn’t soak in the jalapeños heat quite as much.

See it being made:

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Thai beef with jalapeno and basil_2

Thai Beef With Jalapeño And Basil

4.15 from 7 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 48 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 529 kcal


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
  • 6 jalapeño peppers seeds removed and cut into match sticks, then separated into two halves for cooking
  • 1 can coconut milk 14.5 oz
  • 1 1/2 cups basil leaves torn
  • 1 1/4 cups jasmine rice
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • lime wedges at serving



  • Mix the fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar together. Stir well to make sure the sugar is fully dissolved.

Making the Rice (Start first. You can use a rice cooker with the same ingredients if you wish.)

  • Mix the rice, water, coconut milk, and a half a teaspoon of salt in a saucepan and cover.
  • Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer.
  • Continue to simmer (covered) until rice is tender. Normally about 25 minutes.

Making the Thai Beef with Basil

  • Over medium-high, heat a large pan, skillet, or wok with the vegetable oil.
  • Add the garlic and half of the chili matchsticks. Cook for 30 seconds with constant stirring.
  • Add ground beef, break it up and mix with chilies. Cook thoroughly until brown, typically 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Pour the fish sauce/soy sauce mixture in with beef. Stir occasionally for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Take the beef off the heat and add the remaining chilies and the torn basil leaves. Stir thoroughly.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Serve over the coconut rice with a squeeze of fresh lime.


Adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe.


Calories: 529kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 27gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 19gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 5948mgPotassium: 624mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 469IUVitamin C: 19mgCalcium: 64mgIron: 5mg
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UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on May 15, 2024 to include new content.
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