What Is Pad Beef? (Fully Explained)

Are you curious about the latest food trend that’s taking the culinary world by storm? Look no further than Pad Beef!

This flavorful dish is a stir-fry of lean beef, holy basil, and loads of chilies, served on a bed of rice and topped with a fried egg.

But what exactly is Pad Beef, and how can you make it at home? In this article, we’ll explore the origins of Pad Beef, its unique preparation process, and some delicious recipes to try out.

Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with this delicious and easy-to-make dish!

What Is Pad Beef?

Pad Beef is a popular Thai dish that has gained popularity in recent years. It is a stir-fry of lean beef, holy basil, and chilies, served on a bed of rice and topped with a fried egg. The dish is known for its bold flavors and spicy kick, making it a favorite among foodies and Thai cuisine enthusiasts.

The name “Pad” means stir-fry in Thai, while “Beef” refers to the main ingredient used in the dish. The beef used in Pad Beef is typically flank steak, which is cut into thin slices and stir-fried with garlic, chilies, and holy basil. The dish is then served on a bed of rice and topped with a fried egg.

Origins Of Pad Beef

Like many Thai dishes, the origins of Pad Beef can be traced back to Chinese influences. The stir-frying technique used in Pad Beef is similar to that of Chinese cuisine, specifically the Teochew people who immigrated to Bangkok from the Guangdong province in Southern China. They brought along their noodle stir-frying technique, which eventually led to the creation of Pad Beef.

However, while the dish may have originated from Chinese influences, the Thais adapted it to their local palate and made it a staple in Thai cuisine. The use of holy basil and chilies gives Pad Beef its distinct Thai flavor and spicy kick. It is also a popular street food in Thailand, often served from food carts or small restaurants.

The dish’s popularity has spread beyond Thailand’s borders, with many Thai restaurants around the world offering Pad Beef on their menus. Its bold flavors and spicy kick make it a favorite among those who enjoy spicy food.

Ingredients Used In Pad Beef

To make Pad Beef, you will need 8 ounces of pad thai rice noodles, preferably brown rice noodles, and 2 tablespoons of low-sodium soy sauce. In addition to these ingredients, the recipe calls for skirt steak, which is preferred due to its tenderness and flavor. However, flank steak can also be used as a substitute. It is important to cut the steak against the grain in thin strips and cook it to about medium doneness to prevent it from becoming tough.

Other ingredients used in Pad Beef include green onions, lime, peanuts, and cilantro. The green onions should be trimmed and thinly sliced on an angle, keeping the white and green portions separate. The lime should be halved with one half cut into wedges and the other half juiced. The peanuts should be coarsely chopped, while the cilantro should be stemmed and minced.

Before cooking the steak strips, they should be patted dry and seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper. Once all ingredients are prepared, they can be stir-fried together with garlic, chilies, and holy basil to create the signature bold flavors of Pad Beef.

How To Prepare Pad Beef

Preparing Pad Beef is a relatively simple process that can be done at home with a few basic ingredients. Here’s how to prepare Pad Beef:

1. Begin by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add 8 ounces of pad thai rice noodles and cook until al dente. Once done cooking, drain and rinse the noodles in cold water to prevent sticking.

2. While the noodles cook, prepare the Pad Thai sauce by mixing together 2 tablespoons of low-sodium soy sauce and other preferred ingredients in a small bowl. Mix fully and set aside.

3. Cut the flank steak against the grain into thin strips. The most important thing when cooking the steak is to make sure it is cooked to about a medium doneness, as it can become tough if overcooked.

4. In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Saute the beef for 6-8 minutes, until cooked, then remove from the skillet and set aside.

5. In the same skillet, add the remaining oil and saute chopped carrot, bell pepper, and onion for 8-10 minutes until slightly softened.

6. Move the vegetables to the edges of the pan and add two beaten eggs into the center of the pan. Scramble for 2-3 minutes until cooked, then stir in with the vegetables.

7. Add in the cooked beef and noodles along with the Pad Thai sauce. Stir and warm through for a couple of minutes to allow the flavors to combine.

8. Serve your Pad Beef along with chopped peanuts and a squeeze of lime juice for added flavor.

By following these simple steps, you can enjoy a delicious and authentic Pad Beef dish right in your own home.

Variations Of Pad Beef

While flank steak is the traditional cut of beef used in Pad Beef, there are several variations of the dish that use different cuts of meat or even substitute the beef altogether. Here are some of the most popular variations of Pad Beef:

1. Ground Proteins: Instead of using sliced flank steak, you can substitute it with ground chicken, turkey, or pork. When using ground proteins, make sure to cook them thoroughly before adding other ingredients.

2. Other Proteins: If you’re not a fan of beef, you can swap it for other proteins like thinly sliced steak, cubed pork tenderloin, tofu or shrimp. When making Pad Beef with shrimp, cook the shrimp first until they turn opaque, remove them from the pan and add them back at the very end of cooking after the sauce has thickened.

3. Veggies: While Pad Beef is traditionally made with just beef and basil, you can add your favorite veggies to the dish to make it more nutritious and flavorful. Some popular veggies to add include broccoli, carrots, snow peas, zucchini, mushrooms, and bell peppers.

4. Gluten-free: If you’re gluten intolerant, you can use tamari instead of soy sauce and gluten-free oyster sauce to make the dish gluten-free.

5. Nuts and Seeds: Adding cashews or peanuts to Pad Beef can give it a deeply satisfying crunch. You can also sprinkle sesame seeds on top to add a nutty flavor.

6. Fruits: Adding pineapple or mango to Pad Beef can give it a sweet and sour flavor that pairs well with the spicy kick of the dish. You can also use mandarin oranges for a citrusy twist.

7. Vegetarian/Vegan: If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can substitute beef with plant-based meat substitutes or crumbled extra firm tofu and/or chopped mushrooms. Instead of fish sauce, use soy sauce to add umami flavor.

These variations of Pad Beef allow you to customize the dish according to your taste preferences and dietary restrictions while still enjoying the bold flavors and spicy kick that make this Thai dish so popular.

Health Benefits Of Pad Beef

Pad Beef is not only a delicious dish but also has several health benefits. One of the main benefits of Pad Beef is that it is a great source of protein. Lean beef, the main ingredient in Pad Beef, is an excellent source of high-quality protein. Protein is essential for muscle health and helps rebuild muscle tissue that is lost through daily wear and tear. It also helps in building more muscle, which is especially helpful for those who are into strength training.

Furthermore, beef is an excellent source of iron, an essential mineral that helps your body produce hemoglobin, a protein that helps your blood carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Not consuming enough iron can put you at risk of iron deficiency anemia, which can cause you to feel tired, weak, and mentally foggy.

In addition to protein and iron, Pad Beef also contains other nutrients such as zinc, which is essential for healing damaged tissue and supporting a healthy immune system. Children and adolescents also need healthy amounts of zinc to ensure proper growth and development.

It’s worth noting that while beef is high in cholesterol and saturated fats, which can cause fatty deposits to build up in the blood, eating beef in moderation can still be a healthy part of your diet. Experts from Harvard University suggest that eating red and processed meats in high amounts can increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and premature death. Therefore, it’s important to consume beef in small portions and choose lean cuts to reap its health benefits without increasing health risks overall.