Beef goes very nicely with the distinctive seasonings that characterize Thai cookery. Here we have a popular first course, refreshing and appetizing. The slices of beef are stir-fried quickly, then mixed with the vegetables and simply dressed with a sauce made from the deglazing of the pan. A delicious and easy-to-make starter.
Put the beef in the freezing compartment of the refrigerator for 20 minutes. This will harden the meat slightly for easier cutting. Then cut it into thin slices 4 cm 1½ in long. Put the beef slices into a bowl and add the soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, salt, pepper and cornflour. Mix well and let marinate for about 20 minutes.
Peel the cucumber, slice in half lengthways and, using a teaspoon, remove the seeds. Then cut the cucumber halves into slices. Thinly slice the spring onions on the diagonal. Seed and coarsely chop the chillies.
Heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat until it is hot. Add the groundnut oil, and when it is slightly smoking, add the beef and stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Remove the meat and drain it in a stainless-steel colander, and leave the wok off the heat. Combine the drained meat with the cucumber, spring onions, chillies and pepper. Reheat the wok over high heat. When it is very hot, add the fish sauce, lime juice and sugar and deglaze for 30 seconds. Pour this sauce over the meat and vegetables. Mix well, then turn the mixture onto a platter, garnish it with the chopped peanuts and coriander sprigs, and serve at once.
© 2001 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.