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Spicy beef meal a delicious mix of Pacific flavors

LINDA GASSENHEIMER/TNSTry making a dish of hot and spicy stir-fried beef and sesame noodles.
LINDA GASSENHEIMER/TNSTry making a dish of hot and spicy stir-fried beef and sesame noodles. TNS

This dinner is a tasty mixture of Pacific rim flavors. Lemon grass is the secret to the flavors in Hot and Spicy Beef. It adds a tang like that of lemon or lime and is one of the most important spices used in Thai cooking. It looks a little like a scallion with long, thin, green-gray leaves and a lighter bulb at the tip. Grated lemon rind can be used instead.

Sesame noodles with peas complete the meal.

Helpful hints:

-- Remove woody, outer leaves of lemon grass before slicing. Cut pale inner leaves and bulb into thin slices.

-- Prepare all ingredients for beef and noodle dishes before starting to stir-fry.

-- If using ground ginger instead of fresh, mix it in with sauce.

-- Two crushed garlic cloves can be used instead of bottle minced garlic.

-- A quick way to add fresh ginger is to grate it over the food.

HOT AND SPICY STIR-FRY BEEF

1/4 cup tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 cup sliced onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger or 2 teaspoons ground ginger

3 stalks lemon grass, sliced, or grated lemon rind from 1 lemon

1/2 pound steak, cut into 1/2-inch by 2-inch strips (sirloin, flank, skirt, strip)

2 tablespoons unsalted, roasted peanuts

Mix tomato paste, hot pepper sauce and water together and set aside. Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Add the onion, garlic, chopped ginger and lemon grass or lemon rind and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add meat and stir-fry 4 to 5 minutes. Add sauce and toss with the ingredients a few seconds. Remove to a plate and sprinkle with peanuts.

Per serving: 297 calories (31 percent from fat), 10.3 g fat (2.2 g saturated, 4.3 g monounsaturated), 64 mg cholesterol,31.3 g protein, 24.0 g carbohydrates, 3.3 g fiber, 120 mg sodium.

Yield 2 servings.

SESAME NOODLES

1/4 pound Chinese noodles

1 cup frozen peas

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook 1 minute add peas and continue to cook 1 minute. Drain. Toss with sesame oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove to dinner plates and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

Per serving: 321 calories (27 percent from fat), 9.5 g fat (1.7 g saturated, 3.3 g monounsaturated), 48 mg cholesterol, 11.7 g protein, 47.9 g carbohydrates, 5.3 g fiber, 16 mg sodium.

2 servings.

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