Thai Beef Stir Fry
Spice up your menu with this mouthwatering Thai beef stir fry recipe! Combining the fiery kick of Thai bird chiles, the fragrant aroma of basil, and classic savory Asian sauces, every bite is an explosion of flavor. Whether you're looking to diversify your menu or just try something new, this easy-to-follow stir fry recipe is a must-try.
Thai Beef Basil Stir Fry
This easy Thai beef stir fry comes together in just 45 minutes and is full of flavor with a pleasant kick of heat. It can be easily customized to your liking, too. This stir fry recipe works just as well with chicken and can even be used with your favorite Asian noodles. For the best stir fry, try using a wok pan instead of a standard frying pan. The shape of a wok pan makes it easy to toss the ingredients for fast, even cooking.
As you gather your ingredients, make sure to choose a cooking oil with a high smoke point. Since you'll be cooking over high heat, you'll want an oil that doesn't smoke at high temperatures. Peanut oil, soybean oil, or canola oil are all good options for cooking stir fries. Ensure all your ingredients are prepped before you start cooking since they cook fast once they're in the wok!
Recipe by: Ronne Day, WebstaurantStore Food Stylist
Yield: 4 servings
Total Time: 45 minutes
- 2 Tablespoons oil
- 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 Tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 Tablespoon minced lemongrass
- 1 Tablespoon Thai bird chile or other hot chile, chopped
- 1 lb. beef tenderloin or another tender cut of beef, thinly sliced
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- 1/4 cup carrots, julienned
- 1/2 cup snow pea pods
- 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 5 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup fresh Thai or Italian basil leaves, more for garnish
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
- 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 3-4 scallions, sliced (about 3/4 cup)
- 8 ounces sticky rice, prepared
- Preheat seasoned wok over medium-high heat and add oil.
- Swirl oil around pan and add garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and chiles.
- Add beef and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
- Add onions, vegetables, mushrooms, and basil to pan and stir fry for 2 minutes.
- Add oyster sauce, fish sauce, chili garlic sauce, and sugar.
- Stir fry until cooked (about 5 minutes).
- Add tomatoes and half of scallions, then remove wok from heat when scallions begin to wilt.
- Top stir fry with remaining scallions and basil leaves.
- Serve immediately with prepared sticky rice on side.
This dish comes together quickly and fills the air with the tempting aroma of sizzling beef, basil, and stir-fried vegetables. You can find more recipes like this on the WebstaurantStore Instagram.
What Is a Bento Box?
A bento box is a Japanese single-portion boxed meal consisting of several different food types. Bento boxes have multiple compartments, allowing the preparer to separate the various foods into neat and aesthetically-pleasing portions. Bento boxes initially gained popularity due to their convenience and ease of preparation, and today they are a well-known food trend due to their variety of flavors, unique designs, and portability. Below, we’ll cover everything you need to know about bento boxes, including how to make one and how you can utilize popular bento box ideas in your establishment. Shop All Bento Boxes Use these links to learn more about bento boxes: What’s in a Bento Box? How to Make a Bento Box Bento Box Origin Bento Box Ideas What's in a Bento Box? Although there are different types and styles of bento boxes, most contain a starch, a protein, and an assortment of fruits and vegetables. One of the reasons bento boxes are so popular is due to the balanced nutritional profile they offer. With bento, the customer has access to several food groups, creating a well-balanced meal. Due to the portability of bento boxes, customers can take their healthy lunch or dinner options on the go. How to Make a Bento Box Some of the main attractions of bento boxes are their simplicity and ease of assembly. Although you can get creative with your bento box designs, standard bento boxes have three main components of a starch, a protein, and vegetables. You can mix and match different options within each food group, creating wildly different flavor combinations with the same base idea. Here are some of the most common food items to consider when making a bento box: Starch - The most common starch found in bento boxes is rice, but there are other options to consider. Asian noodles are a common alternative, or you can get creative and include onigiri, Japanese rice balls made from cooked sushi rice. Protein - The proteins in your bento box are where you can get the most creative due to the variety of foods you can include. Some potential proteins you can add to your bento box include chicken, beef, pork, seafood, and eggs. Fruits and Vegetables - Sliced fruits and vegetables are often included in bento boxes as a side to the main course. Some examples of bento box vegetables include broccoli, carrots, peas, and edamame while you’ll find fruits such as grapes, apple slices, and cherry tomatoes. Bento Box Origin Bento boxes have been a part of Japanese culture for a long time, dating back almost a thousand years. The idea gained newfound prominence in the early 1900s as parents started using them as lunch options for schoolchildren. Around the same time, train stations became more common in Japan, turning bento into a popular travel food. The emergence of convenience stores and similar quick-service locations in the 1980s was also key to the recent growth in the popularity of bento boxes, launching them into the global trend they are today. Bento Box Ideas Bento boxes are a unique way to package and present on-the-go lunch options, allowing you to get creative with your ideas. Over time, many different variations of bento boxes have been created. Some types of bento boxes may have unique ingredients, while others may be styled into specific designs. Here are some of the most common bento box ideas that you can utilize in your establishment: 1. Ekiben Ekiben or “train station bento” is one of the most common forms of bento found around the world. This type of bento tends to be more extravagant than other types, often using high-end ingredients like salmon or crab. Although ekiben is “travel food”, traveling is often seen as a luxury in Japan, and ekiben is designed to be a luxurious food that showcases regional flavor and ingredients. For upscale restaurants, Ekiben bento is a fantastic way to explore Japanese cuisine while providing a great take-home option for customers. 2. Konbini Konbini is the abbreviated form of konbiniesu sutoru, the Japanese word for convenience store. In Japan, bento boxes are common in konbinis, with konbini bento being a common affordable lunch for many working-class individuals. Konbini bento is a basic bento box with the standard makeup of rice, fish, and vegetables. Although this type of bento may not be as intricate as other types, it’s simple to make and provides customers with a fantastic affordable lunch option. 3. Koraku The literal translation of Koraku is “picnic lunchbox”, an apt name for a type of bento designed to be shared outdoors among multiple people. Traditionally, these bento boxes are enjoyed in March and April and are closely related to the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival. Koraku bento is much larger than other bento boxes, as they are meant to serve multiple people. These are great to offer during the spring and summer months, providing customers with their very own picnic in a box. 4. Kyaraben Kyaraben, also known as character bento, is a type of bento that consists of food cut and decorated to resemble characters from popular media. Kyaraben started as a way for parents to entice their children to try a variety of foods, presenting healthy meals in the form of cute character designs. Due to the global rise in the popularity of Japanese media such as manga and anime, kyaraben has become a popular form of bento around the world. Kyaraben is now much more than an attractive way to present healthy foods to children, as many adults love both the aesthetics and taste of kyaraben boxes. 5. Hinomaru Translating to “circle of the sun”, Hinomaru bento is designed to look like the Japanese flag. Hinomaru bento consists of steamed rice and a pickled plum called umeboshi in the center, a display of red and white colors just like the Japanese flag. This type of bento is one of the easiest to create, making it an easy addition to your establishment's offerings. 6. Aisai Aisai bento translates to “Bento made by loving wife”, and is typically made by a partner for their significant other or children. This type of bento is also made and given by young romantics to show their affection. Aisai bento boxes consist of a well-balanced flavor profile and contain strong motifs of love and romance. As a result, this type of bento is perfect as an addition to your Valentine's Day menu. Bento boxes have been a staple in Japanese culture for years, but since it has become a global trend in recent times, it presents the perfect opportunity for restaurants and businesses. Creating a bento box is a straightforward process, but allows plenty of room for creativity and expression. A well-designed bento box filled with quality foods and ingredients can serve as the perfect take-out or delivery option for customers. The various types and styles of bento also allow you to experiment and create different bento boxes, expanding your delivery and take-out menu and keeping customers coming back to try new bento boxes.
Gochujang: What It Is and How to Use It
A staple in Korean cooking, gochujang is a thick, vibrant red pepper paste that adds a fiery kick and depth of flavor to a wide range of dishes. Thanks to several emerging food trends, it has experienced a surge in popularity in the United States. The growing appreciation for Korean cuisine, continuous innovation of fusion cooking, a love for spicy flavors, and the increasing interest in fermented foods have all contributed to gochujang's rapid rise as a sought-after ingredient in America. Discover the ingredients and taste of gochujang and learn innovative ways to incorporate this Asian sauce into your recipes. What Is Gochujang? Gochujang is often referred to as hot pepper paste or Korean chili paste because of its main ingredient, Korean red chili peppers, and its thick consistency. It is made from a combination of fermented soybeans, glutinous rice, red chili pepper powder (gochugaru), and salt. The result is a savory, spicy, earthy, and slightly sweet flavor that is truly one-of-a-kind. The process of making gochujang is quite involved but gives this condiment its distinct taste. The ingredients are mixed and then left to ferment for 60 to 90 days or longer, allowing the flavors to develop and mellow. This fermentation process also gives gochujang its thick and sticky consistency. Gochugaru vs Gochujang Gochugaru is dried and ground Korean chili peppers. It has a vibrant red color, smoky flavor, and a moderate heat level, making it perfect for adding a spicy kick to dishes. Gochugaru is used in various Korean dishes, including kimchi, stews, and marinades. Gochujang is a fermented paste made using gochugaru as one of its main ingredients. Making gochujang involves mixing gochugaru with glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, salt, and sometimes sweeteners like sugar or honey. This mixture is left to ferment for several months, resulting in a thick, spicy, and slightly sweet sauce. While gochugaru provides heat and flavor, gochujang takes it a step further by combining those elements with a complex umami taste. Its versatility allows it to be used as a condiment, a marinade, a base for sauces, or even as a dip. What Does Gochujang Taste Like? Gochujang is a fermented hot pepper paste made from red chili peppers, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. These ingredients create a unique and versatile savory, smoky, and spicy flavor profile. Gochujang's spiciness varies by brand, but it generally packs a punch without being overwhelmingly hot. When it comes to flavor, gochujang hits on three of the five basic tastes: umami, salty, and sweet. The fermented soybeans and rice contribute to the umami flavor, enhanced by the addition of salt. The glutinous rice produces sugar over its fermentation period, giving gochujang sauce the subtle sweetness that balances out the smoky, spicy flavor of the red chili peppers. Gochujang vs Sriracha If you're a fan of sriracha, odds are you'll love gochujang. Think of it as sriracha's more complex, fermented relative. Both gochujang and sriracha are made from chili peppers and deliver that coveted umami flavor. However, while sriracha's umami flavor comes from garlic, gochujang gets its umami flavor from fermented soybeans. Its fermentation process gives gochujang a subtle sweetness whereas sriracha tends to have a more overt tangy sweetness. How to Use Gochujang Gochujang is a versatile and flavorful ingredient that can add a punch of heat and depth to dishes. Although gochujang can be enjoyed on its own, it is not commonly used as a standalone dipping sauce. Instead, it is often combined with other ingredients like sesame oil or soy sauce. It is typically used as a marinade for meats, in stir-fries, or to add a kick to soups, stews, and sauces. Here are some traditional and non-traditional ways to incorporate this versatile ingredient into your recipes: Marinades and Sauces: Gochujang is a key ingredient in traditional Korean dishes like bibimbap, tteokbokki, and bulgogi. Its rich and complex flavor adds a depth of taste to meats, seafood, and vegetables. Mix gochujang with soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and a touch of honey for a mouthwatering wing sauce or glaze for pork. Or, whisk it with some vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar to create a tangy and spicy dipping sauce for dumplings or spring rolls. Stir-Fries and Noodles: Gochujang can be a game-changer when it comes to stir-fries and noodle dishes. Add a spoonful or two of gochujang to your stir-fry sauce for an instant kick of heat and umami. Its thick consistency helps to coat the ingredients evenly, ensuring that every bite is packed with flavor. Toss some soba or udon noodles with gochujang, soy sauce, sesame oil, and your favorite vegetables for a quick and satisfying meal. Soups and Stews: Korean stews, or jjigae, are hearty and comforting dishes that often feature gochujang as a key ingredient. Whether you're making a spicy kimchi stew or a hearty beef soup, a dollop of gochujang can elevate the flavors to another level. Its spiciness can be adjusted to your preference, making it a versatile ingredient for all taste buds. Dips and Spreads: Thinking outside the box, gochujang can also be used to create unique dips and spreads. Mix it with mayonnaise or Greek yogurt for a spicy kick to your sandwiches or burgers. You can even blend gochujang with cream cheese and scallions for a flavorful twist on a classic dip. Gochujang Substitutes If you don't have gochujang on hand or you can't find it at your local store, several gochujang substitutes exist and can be used in a pinch. These alternatives may not be an exact match, but they can still add a spicy kick and unique flavor to your dishes. Let's take a look at some of the best gochujang substitutes: Gochugaru: If you don't have gochujang on hand but you can find gochugaru, this is your best substitution. This coarse chili powder is made from dried Korean red peppers and is a main ingredient in making gochujang sauce. While it won't deliver the same complex flavor profile as gochujang, gochugaru can still provide the desired heat and color. Sriracha: If you're a fan of spicy foods, chances are you already have a bottle of sriracha in your pantry. This Thai hot sauce is known for its tangy and garlicky flavor. While it lacks the depth and savoriness of gochujang, sriracha can still add a fiery kick to your dishes. Hoisin Sauce: While hoisin sauce is not as spicy as gochujang, it can still substitute for a similar umami-rich flavor. Hoisin sauce is a thick, dark sauce made from soybeans, garlic, sugar, and various spices. It has a slightly sweet and tangy taste that can add depth to stir-fries, marinades, and glazes. Harissa Paste: Hailing from North Africa, harissa paste is a spicy chili paste made from red chilis, garlic, and various spices. While it may not have the same Korean flavor profile as gochujang, harissa paste can still provide a fiery heat to your dishes. Harissa paste tends to be spicier than gochujang, so adjust the quantity according to your tolerance level. Miso Paste with Chili Flakes: Although miso paste cannot fully replace gochujang, it can contribute a comparable umami flavor and richness to culinary creations. By combining miso paste, chili flakes or cayenne powder, and sugar to taste, you can create a savory, spicy paste to use in your recipes. How to Store Gochujang Similar to miso, gochujang has a relatively long shelf life thanks to its fermentation process. Store unopened gochujang in a dark, cool place, and once opened, it is best to store it in the refrigerator. The cool temperature helps extend the paste's shelf life and maintain its freshness. Gochujang can last several months in the refrigerator without compromising its taste or quality. If the paste looks dried out, has changed in color, or is past its expiration date, it is time to throw it out. Whether you're looking to add depth to soups and stews or elevate the flavor of your marinades and dressings, this versatile Korean condiment is sure to impress. Its unique blend of fermented soybeans, red chili powder, and glutinous rice creates a rich umami flavor that enhances everything from stir-fries to grilled meats. With its bold and addictive taste, gochujang is the secret ingredient that will take your signature creations to the next level.
Hoisin Sauce Explained
If you love Asian cuisine, you've probably encountered hoisin sauce at some point. This sweet and savory condiment is a staple in Chinese cooking and is known for its rich, thick consistency and complex flavor profile. Made from a blend of soybeans, garlic, chili peppers, and types of spices, hoisin sauce adds unique flavor depth to dishes. From marinades to dipping to stir fry, hoisin sauce can elevate a wide range of dishes with its distinct taste. Shop All Hoisin Sauce What Is Hoisin Sauce? Hoisin sauce is a tangy, thick, dark Asian sauce used as a marinade, condiment, and mixer. Its rich umami flavor has a sweet finish, making it perfect for entrees with meat or noodle bases. Though "hoisin" means "seafood" in Cantonese, hoisin sauce contains no ocean elements and is rarely used with seafood dishes. Chefs incorporate this delicious sauce in authentic Chinese, Vietnamese, and Cantonese dishes, and its versatility has earned it the title "Chinese Barbecue Sauce." Is Hoisin Sauce Gluten Free? If you choose to make hoisin sauce in-house, traditional recipes are gluten-free. However, commercially processed hoisin sauce sometimes contains wheat to thicken the texture. Check the ingredients and inform customers of the potential allergen if necessary. What Is Hoisin Sauce Made Of? Though hoisin sauce recipes vary, a few ingredients are staples in every variety. Fermented soybean paste Red chili peppers Garlic Vinegar Sesame seeds or oil Starch - sweet potato, wheat, or rice Sugar Salt Water Does Hoisin Sauce Need to Be Refrigerated? Hoisin sauce is very shelf-stable, but it does need to be refrigerated after you open the bottle. Not doing so results in bacteria growth stemming from the unsafe temperature. When stored in the refrigerator, hoisin sauce remains usable for six months after opening. What Does Hoisin Sauce Taste Like? Since the primary ingredient of hoisin sauce is soybeans, many assume it tastes like soy sauce. However, hoisin sauce has a tangy flavor with sweet undertones. Its thick, smooth profile is similar to barbecue sauce, and chefs can add ingredients for more exotic tastes. Is Hoisin Sauce Spicy? Traditionally, hoisin sauce is mild and tangy. However, chefs add spices to provide an extra kick. Common additions include sriracha, chili powder or paste, pepper, or spicy chili flakes. What Is Hoisin Sauce Used For? The beauty of hoisin sauce lies in its versatility. It's sometimes used as a dipping sauce for spring rolls or dumplings. Some chefs use it as a marinade or glaze on meat entrees, while others mix it into stir fry for flavor complexity. Many Chinese and Vietnamese dishes have hoisin sauce drizzled over the top as a finishing touch. If you are looking for ways to incorporate hoisin sauce into your menu, try one of these dishes: Peking duck Stir fry Char siu Pho nam Moo shu chicken Asian meatballs Meat and vegetable lo mein Hoisin Sauce vs. Oyster Sauce Though very similar in appearance, hoisin sauce and oyster sauce have distinct characteristics that make them unideal for substitutions. Hoisin sauce has a sweeter flavor profile than its counterpart with a soy base. It also does not contain animal or seafood products and has a thicker consistency. The primary ingredient of oyster sauce is oyster extract, giving it a distinct seafood flavor. It does not contain soy or many other ingredients found in hoisin sauce. Given its simple profile, oyster sauce is more versatile than hoisin sauce. Hoisin Sauce Substitutes Unfortunately, hoisin sauce does not have many options for substitutions. If you can't find hoisin sauce, your best option is making the sauce from scratch. It's a simple process, but it might not be convenient if you're in a rush. However, a few ready-made hoisin sauce substitutions match specific dishes. Be careful when using these options, as they will alter the final product's flavor. Garlic teriyaki: A garlic teriyaki sauce has a similar flavor as hoisin sauce, but its acidity prevents it from being a true substitution. It fits well with meat entrees, though consider using a thickener to mimic hoisin sauce's texture. Kecap manis or traditional soy sauce: The Indonesian sauce kecap manis is thin but sweet, making it an ideal replacement for hoisin sauce in stir fry. Traditional soy sauce is another option for savory dishes, but its saltiness makes a 1:1 substitution impossible. Oyster sauce: If you're making seafood, oyster sauce's natural, fishy flavor will enhance the dish's flavors without the extra complexities of hoisin sauce. Incorporating hoisin sauce into your culinary repertoire is a game-changer, allowing you to create authentic Asian cuisine. Whether you're grilling meats, stir-frying vegetables, or creating a delicious dipping sauce, hoisin sauce will enhance the flavor profile of your dish. If you want to add a touch of sweetness and umami to your culinary creations, hoisin sauce will elevate your entrees from ordinary to exceptional.