Simple chili beef with peanuts

Here is another simple recipe. Thinly cut beef is quickly stir-fired with aromatics and then given some heat with dried chiles. Peanuts and soy sauce contribute some wonderful depth of flavor. The whole recipe is fast, simple, nourishing, and delicious.

Simple chili beef

Simple chili beef

You can use any kind of beef that you’d like. I used some chuck that had a bit of marbling in it. Make sure you slice it very thin.

Thinly sliced beef, marinating

Thinly sliced beef, marinating

Mince the garlic and ginger into pieces that are about the same size. Many of the recipes here at TastyAsia call for about equal amounts of ginger and garlic, but this recipe works better with about a 3:1 ratio, heavy on the garlic.

2013-6-6 Chili Beef_Garlic and ginger

Onions give both flavor and crunch. When stir-frying, cook them until they just begin to soften. Don’t let them get limp.

Red onions

Red onions


  1. 1/2 lb beef (such as chuck, roundsteak, or flank steak, preferably with a bit of marbling), cut into very thin slices; marinated for 30 minutes in 1 Tbsp Shaoxing rice wine, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, and 1 tsp potato flour
  2. 4 cloves garlic and 1/4″ ginger, minced
  3. Half a red onion, sliced into bite-size pieces (see photo)
  4. 10 dried red chili peppers, snapped into 1″ lengths, loose seeds discarded
  5. 2 tsp soy sauce, 2 Tbsp dark soy sauce, 2 tsp potato flour, 1 tsp sesame oil
  6. 1/2 cup peanuts
  7. 1/2 cup cilantro and 2 scallions, chopped, for garnish


  • Heat your wok until barely smoking. Then add 1 Tbsp peanut oil and swirl it around. Add the beef (#1) and stir-fry for about 1-2 minutes until cooked through and beginning to brown.
  • Add the garlic and ginger (#2) and stir-fry for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
  • Then add the red onion (#3); stir-fry until it is heated through, about a minute. Don’t overcook, as the onion should retain some crunch.
  • Add the chiles (#4) and stir-fry for another minute or so. Then add the sauce (#5) and stir until heated. Add the peanuts and stir again until everything is coated.
  • Garnish with chopped scallions and serve with rice and contrasting dishes.

Variations: You can serve the garnish along side, letting diners use it at their own discretion, or garnish the whole dish before serving. You can substitute any protein for the beef, including tofu. If you add black vinegar to the sauce in #5, you’ll start to get a taste very similar to kung pao (宫保, gōng bǎo).

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