Oh, the wok puns I could use here, but I won’t. Consider it an exercise in self-control. Make that great self control. It’s just so tempting.
Let’s start over. How much do you love Asian food? I’m seriously all about it, like in a totally high school “no you hang up” kind of way. Maybe it has something to do with my upbringing, where Four Season Crab and Hamburger Helper both held their own on the dining room table. (I still love boxed ground meat kits.)
Maybe it has to do with the fact that, more often than not, Asian food is straight-up cheap, tasty eats. Sure, I’ll take an 11 lb bowl of noodles for $6. Why not.
But really, I think it has to do with something much more visceral than both of those items. Yep, what I’m talking about trumps even nostalgia. And that something?
Salt. Glorious salt!
Soy sauce, fish sauce, tamari. Ohhhhhh, salt. Both balanced and highlighted by sweet, spicy and and sour tastes, Asian-salty is complex, aromatic and completely addictive. There’s a reason it’s pronounced OOH-MAMI, you know. Because it’s run-to-your-mother-good.
That’s right. Run. To. Your. Mother.
Or, should I say Wok?
Crap, I’m sorry, I couldn’t hold it in.
The point is, I love Asian food, and this super simple, spicy Thai dish embodies all that I adore. It’s the equivalent of King of Thai takeout — made right in your kitchen. Chris even claimed it was as “fresh tasting at Little Noi’s.” Read the yelp! reviews, guys and gals. That fresh?! This ‘ere is no joke!
So seriously. If you have a passionate love affair with food of the Asian persuasion, this dish is going to wok your world.
Steady wok’n all night long.
Wok it to me.
Wok are you waiting for?
Wok like a man.
Phew. This is a lot of wok!
West side wok it out.
Thai Beef Broccoli with Basil & Rice Noodles
By Emily Stoffel
Cook Time: 30 mins | Serves 4
Note: As with all stir-fries, you’ll be best served by having your mis en place (read: all your veggie cutting n’ stuff) pretty dialed before you heat your oil. I also have a certain method of developing a bit of sear on the broccoli to really boost its flavor. If you like this idea, too, read through the entire recipe below before getting started. It sounds weird, but the whole “broccoli smoking in the wok” thing makes all the difference. And if it seems tedious, don’t worry — that’s just my verbose nature. (Verbosity?) This is much easier done than said, I promise. A wok in the park, really.
- 1 T light cooking oil, such as canola
- 1 lb 85% lean ground beef (preferably all natural grass-fed)
- 1/2 onion, sliced very thinly
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced very thinly
- 1″ fresh ginger, julienned
- 1 large head broccoli cut into florets + stem peeled and julienned
- 2 carrots, shredded (either by box grater or food processor)
- 1 large handful of fresh basil, roughly torn or shredded (about 20-30 leaves)
- 4 tsp fish sauce, divided
- 2 tsp agave, divided
- 2 tsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp crushed red chili flake
- 1 tsp sriracha (or more to taste)
- splash water
- 4 oz dry bun tuoi (rice vermicelli)
- sliced almonds for serving, optional
Prepare the noodles:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Immediately drain noodles and rinse under cool water. Drain thoroughly. Toss noodles with 2 tsp fish sauce, 1 tsp agave and white vinegar. Set aside.
Prepare the beef:
Mix together 2 tsp fish sauce, soy sauce, 1 tsp agave, chili flakes, sriracha and splash water in a small bowl. Set aside.
Add oil to a large wok or saute pan set over high flame. When oil just begins to smoke and moves very easily around pan, add onion, garlic and ginger. Stiry-fry 30-60 seconds, then add beef, quickly breaking up the meat and moving it evenly around the surface of the pan. Try to avoid allowing it to steam, but if the full lb of meat doesn’t leave a lot of room to groove in your pan, so be it. (You could also do these first couple steps in two batches if you’ve got a small pan.) When meat is cooked through, about 3 minutes, transfer to platter. Note that beef does not have to brown.
To same hot wok, add broccoli (florets and stem) and then add carrots over top, in that order. DO NOT STIR for 1-2 mins. Broccoli will begin to char lightly and develop a lovely smoky flavor. Your nose will know. Once this happens, toss broccoli and carrots in wok until broc is bright green and just barely tender, another 30 seconds or so.
Return beef to pan and combine with veggies. Add shredded basil and fish sauce mixture and stir, allowing basil to wilt slightly. Serve atop (or alongside) rice noodles topped with almonds, if using. Extra sriracha optional.