This is a super easy stir fry with an unforgettable flavor. In Thailand, 'Holy basil' is typically used, but in the US most people make it with 'Thai basil'. (Now that I've tried the holy basil, I think that Thai basil is better.) You can use any mild meat, like chicken or pork, and either chop it small or buy it coarsely ground. It's traditionally served with an egg that's been fried until crisp in a fairly deep pan of oil, though eaten simply with rice it makes a respectable meal.
1-2 bunches Thai (or Holy) basil, stems removed
3-4 Tbsp. stir fry oil (less if using nonstick)
1.5 lbs chicken or pork, ground or chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-5 hot chilies (to taste), sliced thin
3 large shallots (or substitute 1 large onion), sliced into thin strips
2 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. fish sauce
4 Tbsp. black soy sauce*
OR 3 Tbsp. regular soy sauce + 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
Heat the stir fry oil in a large pan until it's really hot. Add the garlic and stir, cooking just a minute or so until it barely starts to brown. Add the shallots and chilies and continue cooking 2-3 more minutes until starting to brown and soften, stirring frequently. Add 2 Tbsp. fish sauce and cook for a few seconds. Move the shallots and chilies away from the center of the pan and add the chicken. Stir until most of the chicken has turned white and most liquid has cooked off, then add the black soy sauce. Combine well and continue cooking until the chicken is just cooked through. Stir in the remaining fish sauce and the basil, and cook a couple more minutes until the basil is wilted. Serve over fresh, fluffy rice. If desired, top with a crispy fried egg.
*Black soy sauce (also called sweet soy sauce) is a variety of soy sauce that's been sweetened with palm sugar and thickened. It can be bought at the Asian store or simply substituted with regular soy sauce plus brown sugar.