Recipe: Thai beef stir fry

By Danny Margolies, December 3, 2010
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This can be a very depressing time of year. The darkness and cold can be so enervating that after a long day at work the temptation is to stick a ready meal in the microwave when you get home as a prelude to collapsing on the sofa.

However, why do that when you can make this quick Thai stir-fry, which is full of zingy freshness? It takes only a couple of minutes to cook (plus a little extra time to chop things up) and can make the gloomiest winter evening into a festival for the taste buds.

Whether or not this recipe - which was my own invention - is remotely like anything served Thailand is a moot point. However, it does adhere to the Thai code for flavouring dishes in that it incorporates the four essential tastes - sour, sweet, salt and spice.

I use beef here but you could equally use chicken, lamb or even fish. Likewise, the only stipulation with the veg is that it can be stir-fried in a matter of minutes - I advise letting the supermarket do the work for you by buying a pre-chopped stir-fry selection. Kaffir lime leaves can be tricky to find but it is not a huge problem if you cannot locate any. The Thais use fish sauce to give that authentic salty note. However, light soy sauce makes an acceptable kosher substitute.

Serves four people

Ingredients

● 2 medium steaks, fat removed and sliced into thin strips
● 400g wok ready noodles
● Large bag stir fry vegetables
● One onion, peeled and roughly chopped
● Thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
● 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
● One green chilli, finely chopped
● 2 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
● Juice of a lime
● 1 teasp sugar
● Light soy sauce to taste
● Handful chopped mint
● Handful roasted cashews, roughly chopped
● Vegetable oil

Method

● Heat your wok until it is smoking. Add 1 tbsp vegetable oil and sear the beef until browned but still rare inside.
● Remove from pan into a colander.
● Add another tbsp of oil and add the onion, ginger, garlic and chilli. (Depending in how hot the chilli is, you may need breathing apparatus at this point).
● Fry for 1 minute on high heat, then add the vegetables, a good splash of soy sauce, the lime juice, the sugar and the kaffir lime leaves and continue to stir-fry until the vegetables have softened.
● Add the pre-cooked noodles and stir to incorporate, then add the beef and stir for a further few seconds.
● Now add the chopped mint and the cashews.
● Check for seasoning and serve.

Last updated: 12:40pm, December 3 2010