Spicy Beef with Peanuts and Chiles

Not a huge fan of take-out—although it does serve its purpose on occasion—here’s a stir-fry that will taste far better than any from the local Asian restaurant down the street. Yes, it is a bit prep-intensive, and uses several bowls, but well worth your time and effort. You could even do a lot of the prep earlier in the day, and throw it all together when ready to eat.

We paired the Spicy Beef with Peanuts and Chiles with a Rice Noodle Salad, that not only complimented the main dish, but shared many of the wonderful flavors. Even though the original recipe indicated to use a 12-inch skillet, next time we’ll use our wok. Keep in mind, you will probably need to sear the beef in two batches, so as not to steam the meat, but brown the slices.

The supermarket was not carrying either serrano or Thai chili peppers so we opted for Fresnos. As the recipe instructs, we did not discard the seeds, but if you can’t tolerate heat, you may want to scale back some, or omit altogether.

Our slices of flank steak measured about 1/4″-thick. If you prefer thinner slices, freeze the steak whole for about 15-20 minutes, then slice to your preferred width.

Spicy Beef with Peanuts and Chiles

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 lb. flank steak, thinly sliced on the diagonal against the grain
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. fish sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. 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)
  • 3 Tbsp. canola or peanut oil
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil


  1. Toss the steak with 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, 1 tsp of the fish sauce, and the salt.
  2. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 tsp fish sauce with 1 tablespoon of the lime juice and the brown sugar and set aside.
  3. Pulse the peanuts, shallots, and chiles in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl.
  4. Set a wok or 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 1 minute.
  5. Add 1-1/2 tablespoon of the oil and once it’s shimmering, add the beef.
  6. Cook, stirring, until the beef just loses its raw appearance, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining 1-1/2 tablespoon oil and the shallot mixture, sprinkle with salt, and cook, stirring, until the shallots are soft, about 2 minutes.
  8. 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.
  9. Serve sprinkled with the remaining lime juice, cilantro, and basil.


Original recipe from the now defunct Fine Cooking


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