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Spicy Beef with Peanuts & Chiles

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Serves 4

As seductive as picking up the telephone and ordering in on a busy weeknight may be, you can throw together a stir-fry quicker than it takes a delivery person to get to your door. Even better, this dish is just as good as—or even better than—anything you'll find in a to-go carton. If you don't have a stir-fry pan, use a heavy skillet with a large surface area for the ingredients sear properly.  

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

Toss the steak with 1 Tbs. of the soy sauce, 1 tsp. of the fish sauce, and the salt. Combine the remaining 1 Tbs. soy sauce and 1 tsp. fish sauce with 1 Tbs. of the lime juice and the brown sugar and set aside.

Pulse the peanuts, shallots, and chiles in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl.

Set a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 1 minute. Add 1-1/2 Tbs. of the oil and once it's shimmering, add the beef. Cook, stirring, until the beef just loses its raw appearance, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining 1-1/2 Tbs. oil and the shallot mixture, sprinkle with salt, and cook, stirring, until the shallots are soft, about 2 minutes.

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. Season to taste with salt and serve sprinkled with the remaining lime juice, cilantro, and basil.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with Rice Noodle Salad on the side.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on four servings; Calories (kcal): 350; Fat (g): fat g 23; Fat Calories (kcal): 210; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 5; Protein (g): protein g 27; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 12; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 8; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 1040; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 45; Fiber (g): fiber g 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I made this tonight and it was delicious. I removed the stems and seeded the peppers because I didn't want it too spicy. I substituted red onion for scallion because that's all I had. I'll be making this again. Thank you Fine Cooking for another great recipe.

I liked this but was not blown away by it as the other reviewers were. The spice was just right for me with the full two chillies, and I did not add salt since there was enough with the soy sauce, fish sauce and peanuts. I will possibly try it again with some more veggies added in, and a few tweaks to the seasoning.

Our grocery's flank steak was 1.5 pounds, so I made a 50 percent larger portion ... and my wife and son nearly ate it all themselves. This is one of the first recipes my wife reacted to by saying, "Make this again!" The two serranos (sans seeds) gave it tang; not too hot by any stretch. I did omit some of the extra salt, as I had salted peanuts on hand. The one tweak I'll make next time is to pulse the peanuts in the food processor first, by themselves, before adding the shallots & serranos. When they're all pulsed together from the start, the soft stuff gets chopped finely and mushed long before the peanuts are chopped much at all.

This is great--savory, spicy, beefy. I did use just one serrano pepper (seeds and all) and made about 1.5 times the sauces. I didn't add salt except to the shallot/pepper/peanut mixture as I added it to the pan.

Excellent. Wonderful with white rice. But after reading some of the reviews, I was glad I cut the chile from 2 thai unseeded to only 1 and seeded. I would also recommend that the 1/4 tsp kosher salt be skipped, and that the peanut be unsalted. Other than that, it's a wonderful dish. Next time I make it, I will double the recipe! One more think, it took me more than the 2 minutes indicated on the recipe to get the beef to lose its raw appearance color; or maybe it is just me because I like my meat well done. Either way, use your own cues rather than the time listed on the recipe.

Very good but too spicy. I cut the recipe in half so used just 1 serrano chili with the seeds, and it was too hot. Next time I will try it with half the seeds removed. Very good with the suggested rice noodle salad, but both were time consuming.I'm retired so have the time. Will definitely make it again.

Great! An easy stir-fry that is adaptable and great for the family. We usually sautee some snap peas or some other vegetable first, then add them back with the meat at the end. Highly recommended!

I just came across this recipe the other day and made it tonight. WOW. The flavors were perfect. The chiles add a nice kick. For anyone not liking it too hot, you might want to only use one chile. Two were fine for me. I am glad there are leftovers because now I can look forward to lunch tomorrow. Wish I would have found this years ago.

This recipe doesn't really need another great review but it was so good, that I just had to add my 5 stars. Like jlilius, I added some slivered red bell pepper (for color) "to the pan and stir-fried it for a few minutes before adding the onion/peanut/chili blend". And, like JoyArcher, I "doubled both the sauce that the meat rests in and the sauce that was added to the saute' at the end". Thanks to both of them for their suggestions. I served it with steamed jasmine rice, and Ginger Garlic Green Beans from Gourmet. We'll be having this again - soon!

A wonderful dish -- we have this one often! A fortuitous misread of the recipe had me using scallions instead of shallots the first time I made it, and I have never gone back! Adds nice colour and flavour. I also work vegetables right into the dish -- add red pepper, carrots, zucchini, snow peas to the pan and stirfry for a few minutes before adding the onion/peanut/chili blend, then meat. We always have it beside garlic mashed potatoes. Yum.

This has become a family favorite over the last year. It is very adaptable, too. I have used top round instead of flank steak. I have use dry roasted cashews or honey roasted peanuts instead of regular peanuts. (the honey roasted nuts I get are very lightly sweet, they do not have a heavy, sweet coating) I have used jalapenos, both fresh and pickled, in place of the serrano chiles. Each substituion is a bit different in taste, but not markedly so, and always makes for an enjoyable dinner. It cooks very quickly and the basil is a nice touch.

Ah, so good. Fairly simple to make and was really tasty. Served this over white rice and it was a hit. Lots of flavor and I learned an interesting way to add spice to a dish--blending/chopping peanuts and spices. Really enjoyed this quick dish.

yummy success!

Very good...I like spicy food but this was almost too spicy for me. Next time I think I'll use a chile and a half rather than two. My picky husband even liked it.

I love this dish and have made it often and it always comes out well. I add a small clove of garlic to the shallot/peanut mixture and it adds a nice little bit of flavor. A perfect, easy dish to make on a rainy Friday night after an exhausting week when you're too tired for take out. It's so much better than take out.

This was really nice. It doesn't need any added salt. There is enough salt in the soy sauce and the peanuts. Serve with sticky rice and sauted long beans.

My family loved it. I did use sirloin instead of the flank steak, simply because I had found the sirloin on sale. It still came out delicious. I served it with Asian rice and an asian style salad and it was a wonderful meal.

My family loved it. I did use sirloin instead of the flank steak, simply because I had found the sirloin on sale. It still came out delicious. I served it with Asian rice and an asian style salad and it was a wonderful meal.

This has become a mainstay at our house and I change the protein depending on what's available or what we feel like eating. Tonight's it'll be ground pork. I also add broccoli. One note: I always double both the sauce that the meat rests in and the sauce that we add to the saute' at the end, and this has made a big difference for us. We like a bit of sauce with our Thai. Excellent recipe!

This dish was yummy. Easy to make, and very flavorfull. I only use 2tbs of oil,and it work very good.

This dish is fantastic! I used stir-fry strips to cut my cooking time and it worked out great! I served it over rice and it was a major hit at the dinner table! I added snow peas just to add some greens to our meal and that was good. It will become one of my signature dishes!

Great dish for entertaining ... easy prep work can be done in advace.

Fantastic recipe! My husband and I both loved it. I'm not a fan of flank steak so substituted top sirloin, but otherwise didn't change a thing. I made this a few weeks ago and have been craving it ever since...will definitely make again and again.

Our family absolutely loves this! It is my college age son's very favorite, and he feels abused if we don't have it at least three times a month. We serve it with coconut rice and stir-fried vegetables. The cooking is quick and the result is just delicious. It has a wonderful balance of flavors, with savory beef, fresh herbs, tart lime juice and the heat from the serranos.

I loved this recipe. Even my super picky, won't eat anything with flavor, fiance liked it. I couldn't get skirt steak, but found flat iron steak in the butcher's case. Super tender and yummy. Although fish sauce smells pretty nasty and if you get it on your hands it's impossible to completely get rid of, it adds the perfect authentic thai flavor. This is not an ingredient that can be left out and still get the proper results. Kind of like anchovies in ceasar dressing.

This dish drew absolutely rave reviews from my family and disappeared in a flash! I cook a lot of Thai and other Asian dishes and this dish is right up there as an instant favorite. I'll probably make it again this week!

I love it. I grew up in Asia Pacific and this remind me of Thai food. I will make it again.

this dish was great, way better then anything i could have gotten from a fast food chinese place. I used left over london broil, instead of flank and it was still great..

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