I love stir fry, and this Thai Style Beef Stir Fry is a very regular meal in our rotation. Whenever my six-year old hears that it’s on the week’s menu, she often replies with an emphatic “YES!”
I like to say that it’s a Thai “style” stir fry, because it’s not actually a Thai dish. It has the flavor profile of a dish that you’d normally associate with Thai food – savory, salty, tart, sweet, and acidic, but it’s not a truly authentic Thai dish. It is made with quintessential Thai ingredients like shallots, fish sauce,lime, and Sriracha sauce. But it has it’s fare share of Americanized substitutions like brown sugar instead of palm sugar. So while it tastes like something that is Thai influenced, the ingredients are all familiar and easily found at your local market.
I love cooking stir fries for a few reasons. One, they’re quick if (and it’s a big if) you prepare the ingredients before hand. I will often cut all the vegetables and meat and measure out the sauce ingredients the night before. That way, I can cook the meal in a matter of minutes.
Another reason I love stir fry is that you can add whatever vegetables you like (or have on hand). All you need to remember is to chop them to a similar size (so they cook evenly) and to add them to your pan or wok from ones with the longest cooking time (like broccoli) to ones with the shortest cooking time (like snow peas). In my Thai Style Beef Stir Fry, I add a ton of red bell peppers. My girls love them, and they’re an excellent source of Vitamin C. Plus, they look beautiful.
As for the meat, again there’s a great deal of flexibility. You can leave it out all together, but we love adding thinly sliced blade steak or flank steak. While I love vegetables and could do without any meat, my husband prefers meat – especially lamb and beef. So this dish is really perfect for the both of us. I go heavy on the vegetables and sauce, while my husband really enjoys the beef 🙂
The one drawback of a stir fry is that it’s really tough to reheat it without losing the crisp texture of the vegetables and the tenderness of the seared beef. My goal whenever I cook is to have at least 2 dinners worth of food because honestly, there are days when I just don’t have time to cook. I have an easy solution to this little conundrum when I make stir fry. Here’s what I do: I prep two days worth of Thai Style Beef Stir Fry (everything from cutting the meat and vegetables to making the marinade, and making the dry spice mixture). I divide the prepared ingredients .On night one I use up those ingredients. Then on night two, I have zero prep. All I have to do is heat up the pan and cook. Dinner is on the table in less than 15 minutes, and nobody is forced to eat soggy vegetables and rubbery meat!
Do you have any tips for stir frying? Let me know in the comment below because I love learning new tricks!
- For the Beef and Marinade:
- ¾ tsp ground coriander
- ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp light brown sugar
- 1 tbs fish sauce
- 1 lbs blade or flank steak cut into thin strips
- For the Stir Fry:
- 2 tbs fish sauce
- 2 tbs rice vinegar
- 2 tbs water
- 1 tbs light brown sugar
- 11/2 tsp Sriracha sauce (or to taste)
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tbs vegetable oil
- 3 medium shallots chopped fine
- 3 large bell peppers, sliced
- lime wedges for serving
- For the Marinade: Combined all of the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix.
- Add the beef, and allow it to marinate for 15 minutes.
- For the Stir Fry: Heat a large, heavy bottomed, wide pan over medium heat.
- While the pan heats, mix the fish sauce, rice vinegar, water, brown sugar, and hot sauce. Stir until the brown sugar is dissolved.
- In a small bowl, mix the garlic with 1 tbs of oil. Set aside.
- Add 2 tsp of oil to the hot pan. It will smoke.
- Then add ½ of the beef to the pan. Cook, without stirring, for about 2 minutes so that the beef can sear. Stir, then cook for about 1 minute longer until the edges of the beef are no longer pink.
- Remove the cooked beef from the pan.
- Add additional 2 tsp of oil and the second half of the marinated beef. Cook in the same manner as the last batch of beef.
- Remove the second batch of beef from the pan.
- Add the remaining 2 tsp of oil to the pan along with the shallots. Stir and cook until soft - about 2 minutes.
- Add the vegetables, and stir fry for about a minute. Then push the vegetables to the sides of the pan and add the garlic and oil mixture to the center of the pan. Smash the garlic mixture with the back of a spoon until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Then stir the garlic into the shallot mixture.
- Add the sauce to the pan and cook until the sauce reduces and thickens - about one minute.
- Add the beef and the accumulated juices back into the pan. Toss well to combine.
- Serve immediately with lime wedges.
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