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Thai Hot and Spicy Beef

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Thai hot and spicy beef turns up the heat with a quick and fiery stir-fry that’s unrivaled by any takeout order. With a rich and savory sauce, red curry paste, and fresh kaffir lime leaves, you’ll forget about its counterpart Chinese szechuan beef in an instant.

Top-down view of Thai hot and spicy beef stir-fry in a golden dish and wooden chopsticks.

What is Thai hot and spicy beef

Hot and spicy beef is a Thai dish that sets your taste buds ablaze with a perfect mix of Thai herbs and traditional seasonings. You may have heard of Chinese szechuan beef, but this version turns up the heat Thai style, making it a sizzling dish perfect for an unforgettable steak dinner.


Close-up of spicy Thai beef slices coated with a dark sauce, kaffir lime leaves, and red chilies.

Spicy Thai beef stir-fry

This killer Asian dish combines tender strips of beef with herbs and spices, coated in an irresistible spicy sauce of oyster sauce, fish sauce, and red curry paste. Those who can handle a +8/10 on a Thai spice-o-meter will fall in love with it.

Close-up of spicy beef stir-fry in a golden dish.

Make sure you can handle the heat, or you’ll be looking for the nearest fire extinguisher. Just kidding, sorta! Anyway, you can control the burn with the red chili paste, so go easy on it if you’re not used to the burn.

5 Reasons to try this recipe

  • Fiery and flavorful: Weeknight dinners can get boring and flavorless, but this hot and spicy Thai beef stir-fry is your golden ticket to the nearest Thai food market. It’s packed with flavor and sizzles at the dinner table.
  • Healthy stir-fry: Red curry paste is loaded with nutritious herbs and spices, this recipe is not only low-carb but also a hot combo of healthy ingredients.
  • One-in-a-kind: This is one of my personal creations, you won’t find anything like it.
  • Killer spicy: If you’re looking for killer spicy food, this stir-fried spicy beef is all you need.
  • One pan: One wok or skillet is all that’s needed to cook this spicy dish.

Red curry paste

The red curry paste used in my authentic Thai red curry recipe is back to steal the show in this hot and spicy beef stir-fry. This hot paste is packed with chilies, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, and a bunch of other Thai herbs and spices.

A clay cup with Thai red curry paste surrounded by herbs and spices.

In an ideal world, you’re whipping up homemade red curry paste from scratch every time. Crafting it yourself releases the natural flavors and aromas of the ingredients.

But let’s get real: it’s a weeknight and television is calling your name. This is where a good quality store-bought red curry paste can be used as an alternative. It’s not the same as a homemade paste, but it’s still going to give your hot and spicy beef that heat you’re craving.

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Bird's eye view of recipe ingredients on a banana leaf; water, red curry paste, fish sauce, beef, sugar, oyster sauce, garlic, chilies, and kaffir lime leaves.
  • Beef – Opt for a tender cut like sirloin, tenderloin, flank steak, ribeye, or top round.
  • Thai red curry paste – For store bought alternatives, try Maesri or Mae Ploy brand.
  • Kaffir lime leaves – These aromatic leaves are a key ingredient in Thai cuisine, taking countless Thai food and this hot and spicy stir-fry to a new level of deliciousness with their citrusy fragrance.
  • Chilies – Use bird’s eye chilies for a spicy kick, or opt for mild chilies like jalapeños for a milder dish.
  • Garlic
  • Oyster sauce – Adds a savory flavor to the stir-fry sauce.
  • Fish sauce – Complements the beef with signature Thai flavors.
  • White sugar – Sweetness balances out the heat and salty flavors.
  • Water – A splash of water to bind the ingredient and create a sauce.

Cooking instructions

  1. Cook garlic, chilies, and kaffir lime leaves

    Close-up of sautéed garlic, chilies, and kaffir lime leaves in a pan.

    Heat a wok or skillet over medium heat, add oil. Once hot, add red curry paste, kaffir lime leaves, garlic, and chilies. Cook for 20 seconds, or until fragrant.

  2. Cook beef

    Close-up of stir-fried beef with chilies, garlic, and makrut lime leaves.

    Add beef slices and cook until done. (Don’t overcook.)

  3. Add seasonings and mix

    Hot and spicy beef stir-fry in a pan.

    Add oyster sauce, white sugar, fish sauce, and water. Stir-fry until well mixed and sugar dissolves. Serve immediately.

Recipe tips and tricks

  • Thin slices against the grain: Slice the beef into thin, even-sized pieces and slice against the grain. This ensures juicy and tender meat.
  • Add spice as you go: You can always add extra chilies, but you can’t take them back. If you accidentally make this dish too spicy, try adding a bit of sugar.
  • Wok in batches: Stir-frying is best done in a smoking hot wot that’s large enough to move your ingredient around the pan. If your pan is too small, cook in batches.

Kitchen tools

  • Cutting board and chef’s knife
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Spatula
  • Wok: A well-seasoned wok is great, but a large skillet will do.

How to serve

Serve for lunch or dinner with steamed white rice to mellow down the spiciness. Additionally, you can add a fried egg on top.

Optional garnishes

  • Fresh herbs: add a sprinkle of chopped cilantro, strips of kaffir lime leaves, or green onions for color and extra flavor.
  • Lime wedge: Serve with a lime wedge for a tangy flavor.

How to store

Let your leftovers cool down and transfer them to an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Freezing instructions: Transfer to freezer-safe bags or containers and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight or in the microwave using a microwave-safe container.

Reheating instructions: Reheat on the stovetop over medium heat. Add a splash of water if it seems dry.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ’s)

How spicy is this recipe?

This recipe is made for those who eat spicy on a daily basis! However, the spice level can be adjusted to your tolerance. To tone down the heat, simply reduce the number of chilies or the amount of red curry paste used.

Can I make this with other protein?

Yes, you can swap the beef for other proteins like pork, chicken, tofu, or even seafood.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Always check the labels of sauces like oyster sauce and fish sauce. The rest of the ingredients are naturally gluten-free.

More Thai spicy beef recipes you’ll love

  • Thai crying tiger steak – Enjoy tender steak slices with a dipping sauce and sticky rice.
  • Nam tok beef – Fire up the grill and enjoy a spicy salad with beef slices and many herbs and spices.
  • Yum nua – Thai beef salad with crisp vegetables and a tasty dressing.

If you love this Thai hot and spicy beef recipe, please leave a star rating and/or a comment below!

Thai Hot and Spicy Beef

Top-down view of Thai hot and spicy beef stir-fry in a golden dish and wooden chopsticks.
A spicy beef stir-fry recipe made with red curry paste and Thai seasonings.
Praew
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Course
Serving Size 2 people

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 chilies Thai chilies, to taste, sliced
  • 10.5 ounces beef thin slices against the grain
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water

Instructions

  • Heat a wok or skillet over medium heat, add oil. Once hot, add red curry paste, kaffir lime leaves, garlic, and chilies. Cook for 20 seconds, or until fragrant.
  • Add beef slices and cook until done. (Don’t overcook.)
  • Add oyster sauce, white sugar, fish sauce, and water. Stir-fry until well mixed and sugar dissolves. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Opt for a tender beef cut like sirloin, tenderloin, flank steak, ribeye, or top round.
  • This stir-fry is spicy! Add chilies to taste.
  • To store: Let your leftovers cool down and transfer them to an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

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