Stir-fried Beef with Cashews

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Cashews are a ‘New World’ nut, native to the Amazon region but instantly popular wherever they are introduced, and Thailand is no exception. They add a crunchy and flavourful dimension to this beef dish.

Here again we have what seems to be a staple from Chinese cuisine, but one transformed into a Thai delicacy through the action of Thai seasonings, in this case most particularly the distinctive fish sauce.

Ingredients

  • 450 g (1 lb) lean beef steak
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • 3 tablespoons groundnut (peanut) oil
  • 2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons finely sliced shallots
  • 6 spring onions, finely sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce or light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 50 g (2 oz) roasted cashew nuts

Method

Put the beef in the freezing compartment of the refrigerator for 20 minutes. This will allow the meat to harden slightly for easier cutting. Then cut it into thin slices 4 cm ( in) long. Put the beef slices into a bowl and add the soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of the rice wine, the sesame oil and cornflour. Mix well and allow to marinate for 20 minutes.

Heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat until it is very hot. Add the groundnut oil, and when it is very hot and slightly smoking, add the beef from the marinade and stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Remove the meat and drain it in a stainless-steel colander set inside a bowl, leaving about 1 tablespoon of oil in the wok. Reheat the wok, add the garlic and shallots and stir-fry for 1 minute. Then add the spring onions, fish sauce and 1 tablespoon of the rice wine and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Finally, add the oyster sauce, cashew nuts and drained beef, stir-fry for 1 minute, then turn onto a warm platter and serve at once.

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