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Beef With Crispy Basil

1 pound beef flank steak or top round steak
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon pepper
32 fresh basil leaves
oil for frying
vinegar dipping sauce
shredded carrot, optional
edible flowers, optional

Trim any fat from beef. Partially freeze beef. Thinly slice across
the grain into bite-size strips. In a bowl combine the fish sauce,
soy sauce, sugar, garlic and pepper. Add beef strips, tossing to
coat. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, stirring once
or twice.

Wash the basil leaves. Pat leaves completely dry with paper towels.
Then place leaves in a single layer on paper towels. Let stand at
room temperature for 30 minutes; pat leaves dry again with paper
towels. Meanwhile, in wok or 3 quart saucepan heat 1 1/2 to 2
inches of cooking oil or shortening to 365. Place some of the meat
strips in a wire strainer or frying basket. Fry strips in hot oil
for 30-45 seconds or just till brown. Remove from oil and drain
on paper towels. Repeat with remaining beef. Keep warm in 300 oven
while frying basil.

Carefully fry the basil leaves, about one-third at a time, for 5-10
seconds or till glossy green. Using a wire strainer or slotted
spoon, remove from the hot oil. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle
over beef. Sprinkle with Vinegar Dipping sauce. If desired, garnish
with carrot shreds and edible flowers. Makes 4 servings.


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