In My Kitchen – Chili Basil Beef and Button Mushrooms

I arrived back in Melbourne after spending two weeks at home in Hobart over the Christmas and New Year break. Most workers would have taken only the additional few days over the traditional Christmas and New Year. But, quite often companies would shut down completely for two weeks, forcing their employees to take a mandatory two weeks annual leave. This was what happened to me. I am not complaining, but I would have prefer to take the leave when I want, not as I was told.

I was extremely exhausted when I arrived back in Melbourne. Exhaustion due to a dramatic last night in Hobart after a dinner out at a popular restaurant. My partner came home feeling ill and had to rush to the toilet, with a bad diaarhea. Then, woke up at 2 am exploded uncontrollably with vomit in our bedroom. It was horrific and shocking! He had never been in such worse state after a dinner. We were not sure if the cause was a minor food poisoning with the duck main or caused by some fresh slices of blood orange on his main (my partner does not usually take citrus fruits). We shared an entree and dessert, but had our individual main dish. We had the same amount of drinks as well, and I was fine.

I could not go back to sleep, worrying for him and had my 8:35 am flight to catch to go back to Melbourne. We left for the airport. He dropped me off. I could tell he was very exhausted. He went back to sleep when he got home, while I was waiting for my flight.

The good news was that I spoke to him later in the afternoon. He felt better and regained some strength after a good rest. I had earlier called the chef to ask if any of his other customers who had the duck main had a similar experience. Fortunately, he told me that there was no one. He also explained that he had sold over twenty of the duck main dishes yesterday, which was the most popular dish in the restaurant. The chef was geniunely concerned and responsive to my query. I was glad that this was an isolated incident, which unfortunately happened to my partner. It must be a chef worse nightmare if the food served caused a customer to be sick or worse be hospitalised. Nothing of that happened. I felt relieved, and I am sure the restaurant as well.

Back in Melbourne, I thought I will cook my own dinner tonight. Still feeling very tired, I made my way to Woolies for a bit of grocery shopping. It was a short five minutes walk around the back of my rented apartment building. I love the convenience of living here. I don’t have to drive or take a public transport. Everything that I need is just a door step away. This may all change once I find another bigger apartment to live in the next few weeks, before my partner joins me in Melbourne.

So for tonight I have decided to cook beef. I had a packet of button mushrooms, a big thick slice of beef, a fresh red chili, three stalks of basil leaves, five cloves of garlic and one medium size red onion.


~ peel and thinly slice the onion
~ peel and finely chop the garlic cloves
~ chop the fresh red chili diagonally
~ peel the basil leaves from its the stalk
~ cut the button mushrooms into small quarters
~ slice the beef into small thin slices (and marinate with 1/2 tablespoon light soy, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and a sprinkle of salt)

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a hot wok
2. Toss in beef. Stir fry quickly for two to three minutes. Do not over cook the beef. Remove and set aside
3. Add another 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in the wok
4. Toss in chopped garlic. Stir fry until fragrant
5. Add the mushrooms. Stir fry for two minutes
6. Add chopped red chili and onions. Mix through with the mushrooms for one minute
7. Add the pre-cooked beef and mix through
8. Add the sauces:
~ 2 tablespoons fish sauce
~ 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
~ 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar (optional, only if you prefer a bit vinegary sauce)
~ 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine
9. Mix through and stir fry for another one minute. Then add the basil leaves and quickly mix through for a few seconds. Add starch mixture (starch plus a bit of water) to create a bit of gravy in the sauce
10. Plate and serve with some steamed rice

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-15 minutes (depending on cooktop)
Eating Time: 2 minutes 🙂




About Victor

I live in Melbourne. Blogging as a pleasure. Sharing my thoughts, mostly on food and places I find interesting. I am on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Page which you can follow by clicking on the link on my blog page.
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4 Responses to In My Kitchen – Chili Basil Beef and Button Mushrooms

  1. Emily says:

    Hi Victor, wow so fortunate to have 2 weeks off. Sometimes, some food just disagrees with people like in your partner’s case, sounds more like the orange is to blame, not the duck. I like your beef/mushroom dish, will try it out, I never thought basil is a herb to put in a Chinese dish but then I’m not a great cook haha.

    • Victor says:

      Hi Emily, I am an unconventional Chinese cook. LOL. No rules for me. Like I use fish sauce here, rather than soy sauce, and added the Chinese black vinegar sauce which is not common in Penang style cooking. So almost like a “rojak” style but it works. Also chilies work well with basil in stir fry. 😉

      • Emily says:

        I cooked your dish using basil today. Who’d have thought basil could be used in Chinese stir-fries? I shall use it more often from now on. It works! 🙂

      • Victor says:

        Thanks, Emily. Glad to hear it works for you. 🙂

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