Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Thai Beef and Basil with Rice Noodles

I usually include a variety of crunchy, savory vegetables in stir-fries, but this recipe is all about the meat, herbs, and sauce—thin slices of tender flank steak, lots of bright, floral basil and a bit of fresh mint, and a pleasantly sweet and spicy sauce that delivers delicious Thai flavor to every bite. Thai noodles add soft, chewy texture for a very satisfying (but not heavy) dinner for four.

Note: I used a large, deep skillet for this dish instead of a wok because—although there’s only one pound of beef—cutting the steak into very thin slices amounts to a whole lot of slices.

In turn, those slices can release a whole lot of liquid when beginning to cook. Stir-frying them in a wider pan allows the meat to spread out and the juices to absorb/evaporate more quickly. You can use a wok, of course, but the meat may sit there and steam for a few minutes before losing the liquid.  

Also note: With “regular” basil teeming in the garden, that’s what I used for this recipe. For a recipe using actual Thai basil (and a little info about it), see Thai Basil Pork with Carrot Slaw.

Serves 4

  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp tamari (or other soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 5 oz Thai rice noodle sticks
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 Thai chiles, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 1 lb flank steak, cut across the grain into short, thin strips
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup torn mint leaves
  • lime wedges, for serving (optional)
Thai Red Curry Paste
Herbs and Vegetables
  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients (through lime juice) in a bowl, whisking well to dissolve the curry paste and sugar. Set aside.
Stir-Fry Sauce
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and remove from the heat. Add the noodles to the hot water, submerging completely. Let stand, covered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are soft but still a bit firm.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large, deep skillet (or wok) over medium-high heat and add the peanut oil, swirling to coat. Add the chiles, garlic, and shallot and stir-fry 1 minute, until very fragrant.
  3. Add the beef and stir-fry until cooked through and most of the liquid has evaporated, 6-7 minutes.
  4. Add the basil and mint and stir-fry until beginning to wilt, 20 seconds.
  5. Re-whisk the sauce and add to the pan. Cook until hot throughout, 2-3 minutes.
  6. Drain the noodles and add to the pan, tossing to combine with the sauce. 
Beef Beginning to Cook
Cooked Beef 
Basil and Mint Added
Wilted Herbs
Sauce Added
Divide the stir-fry among 4 shallow bowls and serve lime wedges on the side, if desired.

Thai Beef and Basil with Rice Noodles

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