Stir Fry Beef with Lemongrass

If you have been following my recipes you will notice that I rarely cook with beef. It’s because I prefer to cook my beef the day of purchase or within the next day. I don’t like to freeze my beef and then defrost and cook it – it’s just not the same, IMHO. So I did my grocery shopping, a fairly small one which included some meats and herbs. Barely any vegetables because they tend to go bad faster than I can get to them.

Anyhow, I went through a couple of my cookbooks to get some ideas on what I can do different with my beef. The one that interest me was a recipe from The Elephant Walk Cookbook called Stir-Fried Beef with Lemongrass (Cha Sachko Kroeung) ឆារសាច់គោគ្រឿង. I technically borrowed this book from my BFF like 3-4 years ago. One of these days I’ll return it to it’s rightful owner plus a some cook dishes from this book for her to taste. :) According to the authors Longteine De Monteiro & Katherine Neustadt this dish is an Indian-Chinese hybrid. I read the recipe through and applied the concept but tweaked the flavors and measurements accordingly to my taste. As a result, I really really love the dish! I was blown away by surprise. At first I was wary of the flavor afraid it might be too nutty and that it would not pair well with my steamed rice. I was totally wrong. The lemony flavors from the Khmer Kroeung (lemongrass paste) and the spicy jalapenos really help balance out the nutty flavor.

Stir-Fried Beef with Lemongrass
(Cha Sachko Kroeung) ឆារសាច់គោគ្រឿង
adapt from The Elephant Walk Cookbook

Ingredients
½ cup Khmer Kroeung (lemongrass paste)
¾-1 lb beef, cut into 2 inches strips
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 small onion, sliced into wedges
6 red jalapeños, quartered length-wise (substitute red bell pepper for color and a mild flavor)
4 tablespoons unsalted roasted peanuts, coarsely ground in a mortar & pestle
2 stalk green onion, cut into 2 inches & split length-wise
2 tablespoons oil for frying

Method:
Mix sliced beef with Khmer Kroeung and set aside. Use your hands to massage and work the Kroeung into the beef.

Heat oil in a pan. Depending on the size of your pan you might have to fry the beef in batches. Fry them in single layer and do not crowd them. Once you set it in the pan do not move it. Leave it there un-touch for a couple of minutes. This will ensure that you get a nice crusty brown on the beef strips. Then flip to the other side and repeat this step until all the strips are fried.

Sprinkle sugar and add fish sauce. Do a quick stir to incorporate the ingredients.

Toss in the onion, peppers and ¾ of the peanut. Give it another stir and cook for about 3 minutes until onions are soften.

Remove from heat and add green onion reserving a few for garnish and sprinkle with remaining peanuts just before serving.

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