Cooking School – Thai Beef

By / Food / August 29th, 2011 / 1

Thai food is notable for its full flavour, fresh ingredients and spice. The beauty of it is that it can be just as delicious with or without the addition of chilli. Thailand is hot and humid for most of the year, so spicy dishes function to cool and refresh the body. Typical ingredients used are ginger, garlic, soy, basil, mint, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and cilantro. Fish sauce, made from fermented fish, is a staple condiment found on tables at every meal.

Thailand is a large country populated by a huge variety of ethnicities, all of whom have contributed to Thai cuisine. Ingredients and cooking methods vary depending on whether the person doing the cooking is living in a mountainous region or by the sea. Despite the variations, there are some general characteristics that can be seen throughout the country. One of those similarities is in how beef is prepared. Rarely will you find a large portion of it presented on a plate. Instead, meat is chopped, julienned or ground. Each ingredient is more or less the same size adding to that sense of balance that characterizes Thai cuisine. Beef, depending on the cut, can be grilled, sautéed, stir-fried, steamed or poached.

Two features ultimately differentiate Thai cuisine from that of its neighbouring countries. First, ingredients, like ghee, are switched for more traditional ones, like coconut  oil. Second, centuries of isolation separated by times of contact with other peoples (Portuguese, Dutch, French, Chinese) have allowed Thais the opportunity to play with new ingredients (chillies were introduced by the Portuguese in the 1600s) and interpret their use in their own special ways.

The result is sublime. You’ll see for yourself when you try this very tasty main dish meal.

Gingered Beef and Potatoes in Seasoned Broth
Serves 4

1/4 cup coconut oil
4 cups red potatoes, diced
1 Tbsp small, fresh chilli pepper, diced (optional)
1 lb sirloin steak, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 cup Seasoned Broth (recipe follows), or more as needed

Seasoned Broth
5 cups beef broth
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
4 cardamom seeds, husks removed and seeds crushed
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp anise seed, crushed
1/4 tsp cumin seed, crushed

1. Set large pan over medium heat. Add coconut oil. Sauté steak until cooked; set aside. Sauté potatoes until cooked, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and chilli; stir-fry until softened. Add steak and toss ingredients together.

2. Meanwhile combine all ingredients for the broth in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Evenly distribute steak mixture into 4 bowls. Ladle 1 cup of broth into each bowl.

Serve with iced tea.


Rosemary Mantini has always loved words. When she isn't working as the Associate Editor at Tidings Magazine, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams, and sometimes she even relaxes with a good book and a glass of wine.

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