This take on a Thai dish only involves one weird ingredient. Promise!

Scroll me down, LWK!

I’ve taken the traditional Thai Chicken Basil dish and used venison instead. While these two meats are not always interchangeable, it worked out quite well with the venison! The best thing about this recipe is that it comes together lightening fast, so fast it will probably be ready to go before your rice is done cooking. You know what that means: weeknight meal!

The only ingredient you might not be familiar with is the fish sauce. Since this dish has so few ingredients, it’s kind of hard to omit anything without sacrificing the flavors. If you really can’t find fish sauce though, use a little soy sauce sparingly (maybe 1 T, taste, sprinkle a little more in if need be), refrain from making the chile sauce and just squirt lime juice on at the end. No, it won’t really be “Thai Basil” without the fish sauce, but it will still be a delicious, quick and not to mention cheap meal. One more thing about fish sauce: if you do acquire a bottle and this is your first time using it, it will likely sit in the back of your fridge/cupboard for a while. Make sure it’s closed and sealed well before storing and for the love of God, DON’T SPILL IT. We had a bottle of fish sauce spill in a box during a move and it was horrible, just horrible.

ground venison recipe

The recipe says to use 4-8 chiles. This is really to taste. I used some home grown cayennes (I think they were cayennes anyway). If you really like spice, feel free to use more. If you’re drawn in by a super speedy recipe but have kids that don’t do spice very well, tell them the children in Thailand have no problem with spice and that they need to suck it up! Haha, I kid. You can use a seeded and veined jalapeño that’s thinly sliced or even thinly slice some bell pepper, and add the spice to your own dish with the lime sauce if desired. A slap chop (or something similar) makes quick work of chopping the chiles and keeps those spicy oils off the ends of your fingers.

One last note, this recipe uses a lot of basil. If you grow basil, this is what you make at the end of the season right before a freeze when you are cutting down all your plants and don’t feel like messing with making pesto. However, if you’re not sure you have enough, think about the amount of basil you would need to put in a batch of pesto and that’s about what goes in this dish, if not more. The basil is the star player here.

Venison Basil


  • 1lb ground venison
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 4-ish cloves, give or take)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup fish sauce
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves (packed)
  • 4-8 chiles (thai bird, cayenne, serrano or jalapenos, use as much as you can handle!)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

Chile sauce

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • juice of 1/4 lime
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot or garlic
  • 1-4 chiles (sliced)


Step 1
Heat the oil in a skillet or sauté pan over medium high heat and fry the garlic and chiles until the garlic just starts to turn golden. Add the meat and brown, stirring often, until all of the liquid released from the meat is gone (5-10 minutes). Add the fish sauce and stir around. Then add the basil and turn everything over a few times until the basil has wilted. Serve with rice and wedges of lime to squeeze on top or chile sauce.
Chile sauce
Step 2
Mix all the ingredients in a dish and set on the table.
Non game substitution: Umm.. ground chicken! Obvi. But really you can use ground anything.

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