Spicy Thai Basil Beef and Noodles

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Thailand  is a country located in Southeast Asia, where it’s people established their first important kingdom during the 1200’s. After being pressed upon by the northern Chinese population, they moved southward out of South China into what is now one of the world’s greatest melting pots.

The food is a balance of salty, sweet, sour and bitter. It is very fresh and flavorful and one of my favorites. Some of the many ingredients used in Thai cuisine are rice and rice noodles, chicken, pork, beef, seafood, eggs, fruits and vegetables. They are flavored with lime juice, brown sugar, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, galangal, chilies, fish sauce, and coconut milk to cool and balance out the heat of the curries and chilies. Herbs such as basil, mint and dill are very popular in Thai recipes and add a bright freshness to the dishes.

Here is just one example of a combination of Thai flavors. Traditionally thinly sliced flank steak is used here, but I happened to have cubed steak on hand and used that. The curry paste adds a good amount of heat, and you can adjust it to your taste. If you’re feeling bold and spicy you can also add a few dashes of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce or a spicy fresh red chili for more heat, but proceed with caution. You can always add more in, but you still want to taste all of the other flavors as well. Fish Sauce is a pretty funky ingredient. If you smell it on it’s own it isn’t very appealing….at all. Trust me, once it is combined with the other flavors the result is wonderful and essential for the salty component of the dish. You can add whichever vegetables you like. Be creative! I happened to have a lot of nice peppers and wanted to use them this time. So here we go!

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Gather all of your ingredients and start prepping your mise en place.

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In a small bowl, add your minced garlic, minced fresh ginger, Thai curry paste, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, and brown sugar and whisk them together. Check to make sure there is a nice balance of flavors. If you’d like, you can add a minced or thinly sliced  hot red chili pepper or a few dashes of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce for more heat. Careful, and add this a these a little at a time.

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Take half of this mixture and add it to your thinly sliced beef, mix, cover and marinate it in the refrigerator for at least half an hour or longer if you’d like. Save the other half of your sauce for later.

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Next slice your peppers and onions into thin strips.

Once your meat has marinated and you have all of your ingredients prepped. Heat a wok or a large saute pan over medium high heat.

Also, in a large bowl, take your rice noodles and soak them in very hot water for about 8-10 minutes until soft, but not cooked completely as they will finish cooking in the stir fry with everything else. Once softened, drain the noodles thoroughly.

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Add your oil to your preheated wok or saute pan. Add your marinated beef, and cook until browned.

IMG_1246 Once the meat is browned, push it to the side and add in your vegetables. Saute until tender-crisp.

IMG_1247You can now add in the other half of the marinade mixture,

IMG_1248along with your softened rice noodles,

imageand toss it all together to combine the flavors and finish cooking the noodles.

imageFinally toss in your chopped basil and mint,

imageand chopped roasted peanuts to finish the dish.

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Serve with extra lime wedges and enjoy!

Spicy Thai Basil Beef and Noodles (yield: serves 4)

Ingredients:

1 8 oz package of Pad Thai Rice Noodles
1 lb Steak, thinly sliced across the grain
3 Tbs Vegetable or Canola Oil
1-1 1/2 Tbs Thai Curry Paste
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Tbs Fresh Ginger, minced
3 Tbs Fish Sauce (found in Asian or International section of grocery store)
3 Tbs Soy Sauce
1 Lime, juiced, plus another cut in wedges for serving
2-3 Tbs Brown Sugar
Fresh Red Chili Pepper, thinly sliced or minced, to taste, optional
Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce, to taste, optional
1/2 Red Pepper, julienned
1/2 Orange Pepper, julienned
1/2 Green Pepper, julienned
1 Medium Onion, julienned
1/2c Fresh Basil Leaves, preferably Thai Basil, coarsely chopped
1/2 c Fresh Mint Leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 c Dry Roasted Peanuts, coarsely chopped

Procedure:

1. In a small bowl, add your minced garlic, minced fresh ginger, Thai curry paste, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, and brown sugar and whisk them together. Check to make sure there is a nice balance of flavors. If you’d like, you can add a minced or thinly sliced fresh hot red chili pepper or a few dashes of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce for more heat. Careful, and add this a these a little at a time.

2. Take half of this mixture and add it to your thinly sliced beef, mix, cover and marinate it in the refrigerator for at least half an hour or longer if you’d like. Save the other half of your sauce for later.

3. Next slice your peppers and onions into thin strips.

4. Once your meat has marinated and you have all of your ingredients prepped. Heat a wok or a large saute pan over medium high heat. Also, take your rice noodles and soak them in very hot water for about 8-10 minutes until soft, but not cooked completely as they will finish cooking in the stir fry with everything else. Once softened, drain the noodles thoroughly.

5. Add the oil to your preheated wok or saute pan. Add your marinated beef, and cook until browned.

6. Once the meat is browned, push it to the side and add in your vegetables. Saute until tender-crisp.

7. You can now add in the other half of the marinade mixture, along with your softened rice noodles,

and toss it all together to combine the flavors and finish cooking the noodles.

8. Finally toss in your chopped basil and mint, and chopped roasted peanuts to finish the dish.

9. Serve with extra lime wedges and enjoy!

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