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Coconut Beef Bites

A spicy little starter to liven up any occasion
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Recipe by


40 mins


Serves 4

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  • 40g instant rice noodles
  • 2 litres veg oil for deep frying
  • 200g beef fillet
  • 2 baby gem lettuce
  • 50g cashew nuts
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100ml rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 50ml Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 15g fresh coriander
  • 3cm fresh ginger root
  • 80ml coconut milk
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper


  • Step 1 : Cook the noodles

    First make the crispy noodles. Heat the veg oil in a deep fat fryer or wok to 180C. Check the temperature of the oil – if you don’t have a thermometer, drop in a single noodle and it should puff up in 2-3 seconds without burning. Add the noodles to the oil; they will expand very quickly and dramatically. Lift them out using a strainer and transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towel to dry.

  • Step 2 : Prepare the beef

    Next, slice the beef fillet into thin strips and rub with a dusting of salt, pepper and olive oil. Heat a frying pan to hot and seal the beef, avoiding fiddling with the meat – move it too soon and it’ll stick. Once the beef is browned add the coconut milk, reduce the heat and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The coconut milk will reduce down to give a sticky coating consistency.

  • Step 3 : Prepare the sauce

    Grate the ginger, unpeeled, onto the middle of a sheet of muslin or a clean tea towel. Fold over the muslin or tea towel to create a makeshift piping bag and squeeze over a bowl to wring out the juice from the ginger by slowly twisting the cloth with the ginger inside. Keep the juice ready for the dipping sauce. Next, crush the nuts in a pestle and mortar, don’t process them too far as chunky bits are good for crunch.

    Add the rice wine vinegar to a pan, followed by caster sugar, and stir. Add the Thai fish sauce, chilli flakes and ginger juice. Cook on a low heat for 5 minutes. Add the chopped nuts and heat for another minute. Finally throw in the chopped coriander. Take off the heat.

  • Step 4 : To serve

    Peel off the leaves from the baby gems and lay out on the serving plate. Spoon a piece or two of beef into each baby gem leaf, and then drizzle the dipping sauce over. Finally scrunch up the cooled crisp fried noodles over the top.