Thai Chile Beef

Article first published as Thai Chile Beef on Blogcritics.
When it comes to making dishes for the family, it can be challenging to keep food preferences in mind... especially when you're craving something you know others just won't eat. Such was the case at our house the other night when I was in the mood for this Thai Chile Beef. I like beef and peanuts. The husband isn't a fan of either, especially together. But that didn't stop me from satisfying my cravings. This dish brings Thai take out into your kitchen and it's easy to do too! Marinated beef is tossed with jalapenos, basil, cilantro and a spicy sauce to bring it all together...

The first time I made this, it was way too salty for our tastes. It was no wonder since the original recipe called for a total of 3 tablespoons of fish sauce! Normally recipes from Cook's Illustrated work wonderfully for me but this one had to have a few tweaks. I tried it a second time with some changes and the recipe below reflects what was a much better ratio of saltiness in the dish. If you cannot find Thai basil, you can substitute it with regular basil. Since my husband doesn't eat beef (for health reasons), I made him the same dish separately using sliced pork which is just as good. You can even substitute chicken in the dish for beef as well.

Thai Chile Beef
recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated

Marinade:2 pounds blade or flank steak, trimmed and cut into 1/4 in strips
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
2 t
easpoon brown sugar
tablespoon fish sauce

tablespoon fish sauce
tablespoons rice vinegar
tablespoons water
tablespoon brown sugar
tablespoon Asian chili paste
4 garlic cloves, minced

Stir Fry:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 jalapeno pepper, ribs and seeds removed, sliced thin
3 medium shallots, chopped
1/2 cup Thai basil leaves
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/3 cup roughly chopped peanuts
Lime wedges for serving
Place the beef in a medium sized bowl and add the marinade ingredients. Toss to combine and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients (
fish sauce, rice vinegar, water, brown sugar, and chili paste) and set aside.

Heat 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet or wok over high heat. Add a third of the beef and brown; transfer the beef to a bowl and repeat with remaining beef in 2 batches using 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil for each batch. Doing this in batches allows a better browning so it's best not to add all the beef at once.

After the beef is cooked, reduce the heat to medium, and add 2 more teaspoons of oil to the skillet. Add the garlic, shallots and jalapenos, cooking until softened, stirring frequently.

Add the sauce mixture to the skillet and increase the heat to medium high until the sauce thickens a bit. Add the beef and any juices back to the skillet and toss in the sauce.

Take off the heat and stir in the Thai basil leaves and cilantro. Add half of the chopped peanuts and toss.

Serve over rice with lime wedges on the side.


  1. I can't get over how your hubs doesn't like beef and nuts. That's foodie crazy...we love Thai food to a tee. Sounds fantastic Joelen, I need to give this recipe a try. ;-)

  2. I like the idea of substituting it with other meat such as chicken breast of even fish...I go for fish and would love to try this my husband also avoiding beef. =)