Friday, July 29, 2011

Thai Beef with Shallots and Chiles

This is a favorite dish of my oldest son, Sean. Don't get intimidated by the ingredient list....while there are a lot of ingredients, this is really easy recipe to prepare. And it is absolutely delicious. The beef by itself is incredible, but you add the heat of the chiles, the mild taste of the shallots and the incredible contrast of mint and cilantro along with peanuts...this is over the top! This stir fry recipe is from Cook's Illustrated (if you are serious about cooking, you should really subscribe: It serves 4. I recommend serving it with either basmati or jasmine rice.


2 pounds flank steak, cut into 1/4 inch thick strips and cut again into 2" lengths*
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons of water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon of Asian chili-garlic paste
3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
3 serrano or jalapeƱo chiles, halved, seeds and ribs removed, chiles cut crosswise 1/8 inch thick
3 shallots, trimmed of ends, peeled, quartered lengthwise and layers separated
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, torn into bite size pieces
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup chopped, roasted peanuts
lime wedges for serving


  1. For the beef and marinade: Combine coriander, white pepper, brown sugar and fish sauce in a large bowl. Add beef, toss well to combine, marinate 15 minutes.
  2. For the stir fry: In small bowl, stir together fish sauce, vinegar, water, brown sugar, and chili-garlic paste until sugar dissolves; set aside. 
  3. In small bowl, mix garlic with 1 teaspoon oil; set aside. 
  4. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until smoking; add one-third of beef to skillet in even layer. Cook, without stirring, until well browned, about 2 minutes, then stir and continue cooking until beef is browned around edges and no longer pink in the center, about 30 seconds. Transfer beef to medium bowl. Repeat with additional oil and remaining meat in 2 more batches.
  5. After transferring last batch of beef to bowl, reduce heat to medium; add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to now-empty skillet and swirl to coat. Add chiles and shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. 
  6. Push chile-shallot mixture to sides of skillet to clear center; add garlic to clearing and cook, mashing mixture with spoon, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir to combine garlic with chile-shallot mixture. 
  7. Add fish sauce mixture to skillet; increase heat to high and cook until slightly reduced and thickened, about 30 seconds. Return beef and any accumulated juices to skillet, toss well to combine and coat with sauce, stir in half of mint and cilantro; serve immediately, sprinkling individual servings with portion of peanuts and remaining herbs, and passing lime wedges separately.
Wine pairing: New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

*Cut across the grain into quarter inch thick strips. Each strip will be approximately 6-8 inches long and a quarter inch thick. Slice the strip so that you end up with 3 or 4 pieces, each piece being 2 inches long (and a quarter inch thick)


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