Want dinner on the table fast? I hear ya! I may love cooking, but even I am always on the lookout for a quick weeknight meal filled with flavour – just like this Crispy Asian Chilli Beef Mince.
If you’re a regular to this blog, you may have noticed I like a lot of Asian flavours. Just like this one, I love that so many Asian dishes are the work of minutes but are absolutely loaded with flavour.
And even though this is a beef mince stir fry, it’s surprisingly healthy. These crispy beef bowls are a regular in our house now and it’s perfect served with some simply steamed rice and greens.
Ingredients for this these Asian beef bowls
Asian flavours are all about umami which is the 5th flavour profile after salty, sweet, sour and bitter. It essentially is anything with a very savoury fullness of flavour and things like garlic, ginger, sesame and soy are brimming with it.
There’s also some chilli for heat but you can increase or decrease that to suit your tastes.
Beef mince comes in many different fat contents – I like to use something around the 90% lean for this recipe. More fat adds more flavour and crisps up even more though so feel free to use a regular beef mince too.
What is kecap manis?
Kecap manis is an Indonesian sweet soy sauce. It’s thicker and more syrupy than soy sauce and has a bit of a molasses flavour to it. It’s a staple ingredient in Indonesian cooking.
Kecap manis is commonly sold in supermarkets and grocery stores, however, if you can’t find it there, an Asian grocer will always have this on the shelves.
Substitute for kecap manis
If you’re unable to find kecap manis or maybe you want to make this recipe but don’t have it on hand, you can make a substitute at home.
Just mix equal parts of light soy and palm sugar (or brown sugar) in a saucepan and simmer until thick and syrupy. While this isn’t a perfect substitute, it’s close enough to make this recipe work perfectly.
How to make this Asian beef mince stir fry
Like many stir fry recipes, this one is very easy to cook. It also has only a handful of ingredients making it a great weeknight dinner idea.
- There are 5 simple ingredients in this stir-fried beef marinade – garlic, ginger, chilli flakes, soy and kecap manis (see more below).
- These few ingredients get mixed together with the beef then just sit in the fridge for half an hour.
Heat a little oil in a wok or pan and stir fry the beef until it starts to get crispy. Add in a little sesame oil, stir it through and it’s done. Less than 15 minutes. That crispyness is the sugars in the kecap manis caremlising. So so good!!
While the beef is marinating, you can organise the sides you want to have with it. I like to serve it over some steamed rice and greens of some sort – most often broccolini. This is seriously easy stuff.
Minimal ingredients in this meal make this Crispy Asian Chilli Beef Mince a great meal when you’re staring into your pantry with no idea what to make for dinner.
It uses pantry staples that you likely already have on hand, so technically you could make this right now – as long as you have some mince on hand. Or really any meat you like.
Need more sauce?
This beef is purposely a ‘dry’ stir fry, meaning there is no sauce with the meat. The aim of this recipe is that nice crispy texture to the beef, however, some readers have noted they’d like extra sauce.
I’ve now added an extra sauce recipe within the recipe card that’s very quick and simple but you could also try drizzling over kewpie mayonnaise which is fantastic with this beef, just like I serve with my Karaage Chicken.
This beef mince is also great served taco style, with tortillas and mayo..
- Beef mince: You could replace the beef mince with strips of beef, or even a lighter ground meat like turkey or chicken. Pork would also work beautifully. If you like the idea of turkey, you may also like this Turkey San Choy Bow recipe.
- Sides: I like to serve this with rice and broccolini as pictured. You could use broccoli or asian greens like bok choy. Shredded carrot would also work great and so would noodles in place of the rice.
- Wrap it up: Don’t feel like rice? Try wrapping it up in these 3 ingredient flatbreads.
- Can it be made vegan? Yes, with thanks to reader Fen for her comment. Fen swapped the mince for vegan mince and even added some basil and fish sauce.
Kick those other boring stir fries to the curb and cook up a dinner that’s super easy, super fast and incredibly delicious for your family tonight. This will be a winner for sure.
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Crispy Asian Chilli Beef Mince
- 500 g beef mince (ground beef) (1.1lb) (notes 2)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger (notes 1)
- 1 teaspoon dry chilli flakes (or to taste)
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce (notes 1)
- 2 ½ tablespoons kecap manis (notes 1 & 4)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (notes 1)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
FOR EXTRA SAUCE
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 1/2 tablespoons kecap manis
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- Mix together the beef, garlic, ginger, chilli flakes, soy sauce and kecap manis in a bowl. Cover and place in the fridge for ½ hour an hour.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the beef mixture and fry, stirring regularly until it gets very brown and crispy. Once you hear it start crackling add the sesame oil and mix through.
- Serve with greens and over steamed rice.
FOR THE EXTRA SAUCE
- While this is meant to be a 'dry' stir fry with no excess sauce, you may like a little more so using the same pan, over medium heat, combine the sauce ingredients and bring to a bubble. Pour over the cooked beef at serving time.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equivalent to 4 teaspoons worldwide)
- You can substitute strips of beef, turkey, pork or chicken mince if you prefer.
- You can also use fresh chilli or chilli paste if you prefer
- If you don’t have or can’t find kecap manis, you can substitute by simmering equal ratios of soy sauce and palm sugar (or brown sugar) until thick.
- More sauce? Reader feedback from Kieran, suggested more sauce required. This is purposely a ‘dry’ stir fry to get the crisp texture but if you love a bit of sauce to drizzle over, try
- I’ve now added an optional extra sauce to the recipe and it takes minutes – increase or decrease as much as you like, but remember that soy and kecap manis are naturally quite salty.
- Kewpie mayonnaise – a Japanese mayo – works beautifully with the recipe, since the creaminess works well with the umami flavours. Serve up the mince, then drizzle kewpie all over the top.
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