Flavor-Bomb Thai Beef Stir Fry


I learned to make this Thai beef in my cooking class, and I’ve made it a bunch of times since then. I can’t believe I haven’t shared it with you yet, and I hope it becomes a reliable go-to meal that you can rely on like I do. Thai cooking balances savory, sweet, spicy, and sour for a really delicious and complex flavor. You can increase or decrease any of the components to suit your own tastes, and you can replace the beef in this recipe with any other protein or use only vegetables. This recipe is a springboard, so dive into deliciousness.


To make this stir fry, use either pre-sliced beef from the store (Trader Joe’s sells sliced ribeye that works perfectly in this recipe) or slice your own meat. To slice your own, get a flank steak and, preferably, a flexible boning knife. Use the knife to trim any excess fat or silver skin from the steak.


Use the flexible knife to slice the beef as thinly as possible against the grain. To get the thinnest slices, make your cuts at a horizontal diagonal rather than vertically. Press the knife’s blade against the beef so that the slices shave off. Slicing the flank steak thinly against the grain helps keep it from being too chewy.


Heat a large pan with a drizzle of vegetable oil. Drop a few pieces of beef around the pan, being careful not to overcrowd them. It is important not to overcook flank steak or it will become too chewy, so let the pieces of beef sit in one place until the bottoms are brown but the tops still have some pink. Give the beef a quick stir, and then transfer it to a bowl. Continue browning the rest of the beef in batches.


While the beef is cooking, chop up 1 jalapeño, 2 shallots, 2 garlic cloves, and a green vegetable like broccoli, asparagus, or snow peas. When the beef is done and removed from the pan, add 2 teaspoons of sesame oil (or a vegetable oil) to the pan, and then add the jalapeño, shallots, and garlic to soften. Once they have softened, pour over approximately 1/2 cup of low-sodium soy sauce, and use a wooden spoon to scrape any brown bits up from the bottom of the pan. It’s important to use low-sodium soy sauce so that you can get enough sauce without making everything too salty.

Add the green vegetable to the pan to cook as well. While the vegetables are cooking, finish adding components to the sauce: add a few dashes of fish sauce, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, some lime juice (or rice vinegar if you don’t have lime on hand), and some chopped basil. Stir the sauce, taste it, and adjust any of the ingredients to taste.


Once the sauce is to your liking, add the beef back into the pan to warm through. Stir everything together, and then serve the beef and vegetables over rice. Top the stir fry with sesame seeds for an added flair. The beef is tender and tasty, and the vegetables do a great job of soaking up the delicious sauce and acting as little flavor bombs. I really, really love this meal. It’s even delicious cold as leftovers. This is one dish I can’t get tired of.

Shopping list:

  • Flank steak- 1
  • Sesame oil and vegetable oil
  • Jalapeño- 1
  • Shallot- 2
  • Garlic- 2 cloves
  • Soy sauce, low sodium- 1/2 cup+
  • Green vegetable
  • Fish sauce
  • Brown sugar- 2 tablespoons+
  • Lime or rice vinegar
  • Basil
  • Sesame seeds
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