THAI BEEF IS EASY TO MAKE AT HOME BUT RIVALS ANY RESTAURANT!
This Thai Beef is so good, you’ll be licking the plate! Tender beef is tossed in a multi-dimensional sauce infused with soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, chili paste, basil, ginger, garlic and PEANUT BUTTER! The sauce is savory, sweet, salty, and tangy – everything a Thai sauce should be – and then some. The robust sauce is complimented by the refreshing sweetness of the pineapple and the tender crunch of the broccoli. This Thai Beef recipe is easy to make with its make-ahead-marinade and sauce and then it’s just a quick stir fry to dinner!
Thai Beef Recipe
I am excited to share the birth of this tantalizing Thai Beef stir fry with you because, like my broccoli beef, I think it is going to become a family favorite – I mean it has peanut butter – not to mention tender beef and pineapple!
Even if you aren’t overly fond of peanut butter, I think you will still love this Thai Beef stir fry because the peanut butter isn’t overwhelming but adds a dimension of rich flavor and texture for a sauce that is absolutely sensational. You can customize the sauce with more or less peanut butter, more or less heat, more or less acidity and of course swap in your favorite veggies to make it YOUR favorite Thai Beef!
WHAT KIND OF BEEF IS BEST FOR THAI BEEF?
I recommend flank steak for this Thai Beef recipe because it has just the right amount of marbling for maximum flavor and emerges buttery tender once marinated and cooks up quickly without becoming chewy or rubbery (just don’t overcook!). It is also less expensive than prime cuts but emerges equally delicious.
You are also welcome to use tenderloin, sirloin or ribeye steak for this Thai Beef recipe if you already have it on hand, but otherwise, I wouldn’t spend the extra money for it.
HOW DO YOU MAKE THAI BEEF EXTRA TENDER?
Flank steak is an inexpensive cut of beef that transforms into luxuriously tender from a few simple marinade ingredients. Here’s how it works:
- soy sauce: the salt in the soy sauce helps break down the proteins for a more tender texture and infuses the steak with flavor.
- lime juice: the acid helps break down lean muscle fibers on the surface meat.
- cornstarch: acts as a binder and helps our soy sauce bind to the meat for more flavorful beef. Cornstarch also helps protect the beef from the intense heat when cooking.
Ingredients for Thai Beef
In addition to flank steak, you will also need the following for this Thai Beef recipe:
- soy sauce: grounds the sauce. Please use low sodium soy sauce so your sauce isn’t too salty.
- brown sugar: adds sweetness to balance the soy, lime juice and fish sauce. You may need more or less brown sugar depending on personal preferences.
- fish sauce: will not make your Thai Beef taste fishy, but adds a detectable umami balance of savory and salty. You may substitute fish sauce with soy sauce if you’re in a bind, but I HIGHLY suggest fish sauce.
- lime juice: you may use fresh or bottled lime juice.
- cornstarch: thickens the sauce to its silky consistency.
- ginger: adds a warm spicy, almost pepper taste. You only need 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger so feel free to use 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger instead.
- garlic: use more or less garlic depending on your garlic love.
- dried basil: basil is quintessential to Thai cuisine. It adds a layer of savory, peppery and slightly minty flavor.
- Asian chili sauce: such as Sriracha or Sambal Oelek will add heat to your Thai Beef. If you aren’t sure how much to add, you can start with less then stir in more at the end if needed.
- peanut butter: peanut butter adds a nutty earthiness and creaminess that marries all the ingredients together, because peanut butter makes everything better!
- chopped peanuts: adds a tantalizing CRUNCH. Take care to use roasted UNSALTED peanuts so your Thai Beef isn’t too salty.
- pineapple: you can use fresh or I use 1 20 oz. can pineapple tidbits for convenience.
- broccoli: I love broccoli with beef but you can customize the veggies with your favs.
How To make Thai Beef
- The Marinade: To make this Thai Peanut Beef and Broccoli, thin slices of beef are marinated in soy, brown sugar, fish sauce (don’t be afraid!), lime, ginger, garlic, basil and sriracha.
- The Sauce: This flavorful marinade once again doubles as the sauce as I like to do (no double work!) so when its time to whip up this stir fry, it literally takes less than 15 minutes! So with just a little planning, you can treat yourself or company to this delectable stir fry even on the busiest nights. Can’t beat that!
- The Stir Fry: When its “go time”, simply stir fry the marinated beef for a couple minutes, steam the broccoli in the same pan for a couple minutes, add the sauce (which you have whisked up the night before) and pineapple then simmer until thickened and then its peanut butter time…my favorite time.
- Assemble: Stir in velvety and crunchy peanut butter that adds a rich, nutty, salty flavor and creamy crunchy texture complimented by the refreshing sweetness of the pineapple, the tender crunch of the broccoli and the juicy, tender beef seeping with marinated flavor.
TIPS TO MAKE THAI BEEF
- Thinly slice beef. Slice beef into 1/8” slices – no thicker than 1/4.” The thinner the beef, the more tender it will be.
- Freeze beef. It is much easier to thinly slice your steak if you freeze it for 60 minutes or so; however long it takes so it doesn’t slide when cutting. The frozen beef defrosts quickly, so I will slice the beef in thirds and work with one third at a time while the rest of the beef stays in the freezer. The beef will continue to completely defrost in the marinade.
- Slice your beef ACROSS the grain. Look for the the muscle fibers “grain” running through the meat in one direction. Once you locate the grain, cut perpendicular to the muscle fibers so they become as short as possible, as opposed to parallel which will result in long muscle fibers and chewy, rubbery meat.
- Marinate beef. This Thai Beef marinade not only infuses the beef with flavor but breaks down the muscle fibers so the beef becomes buttery tender when cooked.
- Come to room temperature. Remove the marinating Thai Beef from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. This will ensure it cooks evenly.
- Use a high smoking oil. You can substitute vegetable oil but NOT olive oil for the peanut oil because olive oil has a lower smoking point
- Use a hot nonstick skillet. It is important that the skillet be smoking hot before you add the beef so the beef will sear on the outside while the inside remains tender.
- Cook beef in batches. Cook the beef in batches so it will cook and not just steam.
- Don’t overcook beef. Don’t overcook or it won’t be as tender! The Thai beef should be seared but shouldn’t be cooked all the way through because it will continue to cook while it rests and once again when added back to the stir fry with the sauce.
- Customize veggies. You can swap the broccoli out for your favorite veggies and stir fry them instead of steam them. Bell peppers, onions, snow peas, carrots, zucchini, etc. would all be delicious.
HOW TO PREP THAI BEEF AHEAD OF TIME
This Thai Beef recipe has a few ingredients, but I promise it all comes together quickly! If you want to breakdown the recipe, you can prep everything in advance or make part of it in advance:
- Slice beef: you can do this at any time before marinating or just before marinating then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Make marinade/sauce: whisk the ingredients together up to 24 hours in advance and store, covered in the refrigerator.
- Marinate Beef: marinate your beef 8-24 hours before cooking.
- Chop veggies: you can chop your garlic, grate your ginger and chop your broccoli 24 hours in advance and store in separate air tight containers in the refrigerator.
- Cook! Now all that’s left to do is stir fry and dinner is served in less than 10 minutes!
WHAT SHOULD I SERVE WITH THAI BEEF?
- Thai Beef is explosively flavorful so it pairs well with plain white or brown rice, quinoa and even cauliflower or zucchini rice.
- Instead of rice, this Thai Beef also pairs nicely with different plain Asian Noodles such as rice noodles.
- This Thai Beef is also refreshing with a simple green salad. For a fancier themed flair, it also pairs nicely with Thai Cucumber Salad, Crunchy Chinese Salad or Thai Rainbow Salad.
- If want to make your Thai Beef part of an Asian feast, it pairs nicely with Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Wontons, Asian Salad, Potstickers, Wonton Soup and Chinese Chicken Egg Rolls.
CAN YOU FREEZE THAI BEEF?
Thai Beef freezes very well. Take care not to overcook the beef or it won’t be as tender when reheated.
- Let Thai Beef cool completely in the refrigerator.
- Transfer to an airtight container. If using a freezer bag, squeeze out any excess air to prevent freezer burn.
- Label and freeze for up to 3 months.
- When ready to eat, let Thai Beef defrost overnight in the refrigerator.
- Reheat in the microwave for 60 seconds then at 30 second intervals or gently on the stove.
LOOKING FOR MORE THAI RECIPES?
- Panang Curry
- Coconut Curry Chicken
- Thai Red Curry Chicken
- Tom Kha Gai
- Thai Peanut Chicken Satay
- Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- Thai Chicken Pizza
- Thai Coconut Chicken Rice Soup
- Thai Peanut Dressing
- Thai Pumpkin Curry
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