Beef Pad Thai With Crunchy Peanuts
This easy, less-than-30-minute recipe for Beef Pad Thai with Crunchy Peanuts is a beautiful bowl of tender beef and silky rice noodles with dry-roasted peanuts in a delicious creamy sauce.
Tamarind paste, a basic ingredient in traditional Pad Thai, is not always readily available at mainstream grocery stores. Instead, to avoid a trip to the Asian market, this Beef Pad Thai recipe uses a tablespoon of ketchup, extra rice wine vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce to mimic the sweet, tangy tamarind paste flavor.
Not only that, these Beef Pad Thai noodles gets added umami, or savory, flavor from a generous splash of fish sauce.
What is Beef Pad Thai?
Beef Pad Thai is a stir fry dish with savory, sweet flavor made with rice noodles and thin slices of steak, either sirloin or a flat iron steak will work. The sauce can be mild or spicy, depending on your preference.
- Dried Pad Thai rice noodles (or linguine) — Made with rice and water, Pad Thai rice noodles are soft and silky. They are not cooked like pasta, but instead are softened by pouring boiling water over them in a bowl to soak for about 10 minutes. If Pad Thai noodles are not available at your grocery, you may substitute cooked linguine noodles.
- Sirloin steak, thinly sliced — Cutting the steak across the grain is the secret to getting tender pieces of meat. To locate the grain, look for the long parallel lines or muscle fiber, in the meat. Hold your knife perpendicular to those lines, or grain, and slice.
- Rice wine vinegar — adds acidity
- Fish sauce — A bit pungent (it is made from FISH after all), fish sauce adds earthy, savory flavor
- Dark brown sugar — for sweetness
- Worcestershire sauce — added to the sauce (along with ketchup) instead tamarind paste to add tangy flavor
- Ketchup — added to the sauce (along with Worcestershire sauce) instead tamarind paste to add sweet, tomato flavor
- Peanut butter — to enhance the peanut flavor in the sauce
- Minced garlic — for added flavor
- Red pepper flakes — for a little heat
- Canola oil — for frying
- Carrots — julienned (or buy matchstick/shredded carrots in the produce aisle)
- Bean sprouts — optional, but if you like them, add 1 can, drained
- Dry-roasted peanuts — for crunch
- Fresh cilantro or sliced green onions — for garnish
- Lime, cut into wedges — for serving
How to make Beef Pad Thai
Soak the rice noodles. Pour boiling water over the noodles in a large bowl and let stand 8 to 10 minutes, until soft, but still firm. Drain well.
Whisk together the sauce. In a small bowl combine sherry vinegar, fish sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce, ketchup, peanut butter, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
Heat up the wok. Stir fry the sliced steak until cooked through, then add the carrots, bean sprouts, drained noodles, and sauce. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
Garnish and serve. Ladle into bowls and top with dry-roasted peanuts, green onions or scallions, and chopped fresh cilantro, if desired.
Don’t be tempted to cook the rice noodles as you would regular pasta or they’ll become mushy. If you can’t find rice noodles, linguine can be used as a substitute.
Beef Pad Thai With Crunchy Peanuts
- 8 ounces thick rice noodles
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 pound sirloin steak, thinly sliced
- ½ cup matchstick carrots
- 1 (14-ounce) can bean sprouts, drained
- ½ cup dry-roasted peanuts
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, optional
- 1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving
- Place the noodles in a large bowl, pour boiling water over to cover and let stand 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. The noodles should be soft, but firm. Drain well.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sherry vinegar, fish sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce, ketchup, peanut butter, garlic, and red pepper flakes until smooth.
- In a large skillet or a wok over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the sliced steak and cook, stirring, until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the carrots and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the bean sprouts, the drained noodles, and the sauce mixture, cooking and stirring until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the dry-roasted peanuts and scallions. Top with the cilantro, if desired.
- Don’t be tempted to cook the rice noodles as you would regular pasta or they’ll become mushy. If you can’t find rice noodles, linguine can be used as a substitute.