From America's Test Kitchen Season 7: Not Your Average Stir-Fry
Most recipes for Thai chile beef require exotic ingredients and three hours of preparation—definitely not suitable for making midweek supper in an average American home kitchen. We wanted to create a sophisticated Thai chile beef recipe built around the traditional Thai flavors—spicy, sweet, sour, and salty—using readily available ingredients and requiring minimal cooking time. A cheap and readily available cut—blade steak—won our taste test for its tenderness and very beefy flavor. We added the beef to our transformed stir-fry marinade—made with fish sauce for its briny flavor, white pepper for its spicy and almost gamy flavor, citrusy coriander, and a little light brown sugar for both sweetness and help in developing caramelization. With these elements, the beef only needed to marinate for 10 minutes to develop full flavor. We also wanted some heat and decided to use both a jalapeño and Asian chili-garlic paste (which added toasty garlicky flavors along with heat). More fish sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, fresh mint and cilantro, a few crunchy chopped peanuts, and a bright squirt of lime juice finished the dish.
Serves 4 with rice
If you cannot find blade steaks, use flank steak; because flank steak requires less trimming, you will need only about 1 3/4 pounds. To cut a flank steak into the proper-sized slices for stir-frying, first cut the steak with the grain into 1 1/2-inch strips, then cut the strips against the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices. White pepper lends this stir-fry a unique flavor; black pepper is not a good substitute. Serve the stir-fry with steamed jasmine rice.