It’s no secret we harbor an undeniable penchant for Asian dishes and this one is right up our alley. Spicy Beef with Peanuts and Chiles is bursting with flavor from all of the savory and spicy ingredients, which are enhanced by an ever-so-slight sweet note from a touch of brown sugar. The addition of peanuts in the shallot mixture, and the toppings of lime, basil and cilantro put it over the top! (For those of you who can’t take the heat, use only one chile and seed it.)
This stir-fry is just as good as—or even better—than anything found in a to-go container. As irresistible as dialing your favorite take-out place and ordering in on a busy weeknight may be, you can throw this dish together almost as quick as it takes to have it delivered to your door.
If serving over plain or brown rice, you might want to add some other colorful veggies such as snow peas, scallions, red pepper strips and/or carrots to give it more color and health benefits. But since we paired ours with the Rice Noodle Salad (below) our side dish already contained ample doses of extra produce.
Make sure to prep all of your ingredients before starting the stir-fry because it all happens quickly once you start. And if you plan to serve with the side of Rice Noodle Salad, make it beforehand because it involves a lot of chopping and measuring (plus the noodles have to dry for 30 minutes after they cook) and you don’t want your main dish to sit once you’re done stir-frying.
Both dishes pack quite a punch—what I would call “Lynnie Hot”—so if you are more sensitive to a high level of spiciness, dial back on the the amount of chiles and make sure to seed them.
NOTE: If you don’t have a stir-fry pan, use a heavy skillet with a large surface area for the ingredients sear properly.
- 1 lb. flank steak, thinly sliced on the diagonal against the grain
- 2 Tbs. soy sauce
- 2 tsp. fish sauce
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt; more to taste
- 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
- 1 Tbs. light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup salted peanuts
- 2 large shallots, coarsely chopped
- 2 Thai or serrano chiles, stemmed and coarsely chopped (don’t seed if you like it real spicy)
- 3 Tbs. canola or peanut oil
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- 3 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
Flank steak is cut on a diagonal against the grain and tossed with soy sauce, fish sauce and salt.
Shallots, chiles and peanuts are put into a food processor and pulsed until finely chopped.
Our flank steak weighed in at 1 1/4 pounds so we stir-fried it in two batches.
The shallot mixture is sprinkled with salt, and cooked until the shallots are soft, about 2 minutes.
The beef is returned to the wok and the soy mixture is added along with some of the herbs.
- Toss the steak with 1 Tbs. of the soy sauce, 1 tsp. of the fish sauce, and the salt. Combine the remaining 1 Tbs. soy sauce and 1 tsp. fish sauce with 1 Tbs. of the lime juice and the brown sugar and set aside.
- Pulse the peanuts, shallots, and chiles in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl.
- Set a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 1 minute. Add 1-1/2 Tbs. of the oil and once it’s shimmering, add the beef. Cook, stirring, until the beef just loses its raw appearance, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
- Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining 1-1/2 Tbs. oil and the shallot mixture, sprinkle with salt, and cook, stirring, until the shallots are soft, about 2 minutes.
- Return the beef to the pan. Stir the soy mixture and add it, along with half of the cilantro and basil, and cook, stirring to let the flavors meld, 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and serve sprinkled with the remaining lime juice, cilantro, and basil.
by Tony Rosenfeld from Fine Cooking
Rice Noodle Salad
For the dressing:
- 3 Tbs. fresh lime juice
- 2 Tbs. rice vinegar
- 2 Tbs. fish sauce
- 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
- 2 to 4 tsp. minced fresh hot green chile, such as jalapeño or serrano (remove seeds to tone down the heat)
- 2 small garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp. finely grated or very finely minced fresh ginger
For the salad:
- 6 oz. medium-width rice noodles
- 1 cup shredded romaine lettuce
- 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped or small whole fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped or small whole fresh cilantro leaves
- 3/4 cup peeled, seeded, and diced cucumbers
- 1/3 cup grated carrots
- 3 Tbs. chopped peanuts
Make the dressing:
- In a small bowl, mix the lime juice, vinegar, fish sauce, sugar, chile, garlic, and ginger. Taste and add more of any of the ingredients to get an assertive but tasty balance of flavors.
Make the salad:
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the rice noodles and stir to disperse them. Cook until strands are opaque white and fully tender, but still resilient, 3 to 6 minutes (check the noodles often, as different brands cook at different rates; ours took 4 minutes).
- Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse them under cold water until the noodles are cool and the water runs clear. Let the noodles drain in the colander for 30 minutes, fluffing every few minutes to make sure they stay loose.
- When ready to serve, put the rice noodles in a large bowl with the lettuce, bean sprouts, mint, cilantro, cucumbers and carrots. Add the dressing to taste and toss well. Sprinkle with peanuts before serving.
by Martha Holmberg from Fine Cooking