Recipe: Lao Beef Stew

by Celeste Heiter, Apr 30, 2010 | Destinations: Laos
Lao Beef Stew

Lao Beef Stew

Lao Beef Stew

This spicy stew is intended for cooking water buffalo. But beef is used here, since it is similar in taste and texture, and much more readily available. Either way, the ginger and jalapenos give the dish its peppery spice, the fish sauce gives it a salty, savory component, and a splash of lime just before serving brightens the broth with a hint of citrus.

1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 pounds boneless beef, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 large knob ginger root, peeled and finely shredded (about 2 tablespoons)
2 jalapeno peppers (red or green), trimmed and thinly sliced
2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons nam pla (Asian fish sauce)
1 cup green beans, cut into 1" lengths
2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 lime, juice only
1 small bunch mint, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 small bunch cilantro, trimmed and coarsely chopped

Heat oil in a large wok, skillet, or soup kettle. Add beef and stir-fry until lightly browned. Add onions, garlic, ginger, and jalapenos and continue stir-frying until onions are tender. Add beef stock and fish sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 40 minutes, until beef is tender. Add green beans, and scallions (and a little more stock if needed) and continue simmering uncovered for about 10 minutes, until beans are tender. Stir in lime juice and serve with sticky rice and fresh herbs. Serves 4.

Cook's Note: For a more vibrant chili flavor, the jalapeno peppers may be added with the green beans instead of with the initial stir-fry.