Thai-Style Chilli Beef

Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, this recipe is an admitted replica of one of the culinary creations of my good friend, Chalie Amatylakul. He is among the foremost authorities on Thai cookery and has taught me very much about the essentials of this great cuisine.

With the exception of the fresh chillies, it is quite similar to many stir-fried Chinese dishes. It is delightful, aromatic and quick to make. Serve it with rice, as a main course, or with another vegetable dish.


  • 450 g (1 lb) lean beef steak
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Β½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 25 g (1 oz) Chinese dried mushrooms
  • 1Β½ tablespoons groundnut oil
  • 225 g (8 oz) onions, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
  • 4 red chillies, seeded and finely shredded
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Chicken Stock or water

For the Garnish

  • 1Β½ tablespoons finely shredded spring onions


Cut the beef into thin slices 5 cm (2 in) long and 5 mm (ΒΌ in) thick, then finely shred them. In a bowl, combine the beef with the salt, pepper and sesame oil.

Soak the mushrooms in warm water for 20 minutes. Then drain them and squeeze out the excess liquid. Remove and discard the stems and finely shred the caps into thin strips.

Heat a wok or large frying-pan until it is very hot. Add the oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, add the onions and garlic and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Then add the beef and chillies and continue to stir-fry for 2 minutes. Finally, add the Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar and stock or water. Add the mushrooms and continue to stir-fry the mixture for 2 minutes until the beef is thoroughly mixed through. Turn the mixture on to a serving platter, garnish it with the spring onions, and serve at once.