John Gregory-Smith’s Mighty Spice Express is a whistle-stop world tour in fast, delicious dishes. To give you a flavour of what the gastronomic global tour is all about, why not try this delicious, made-in-a-jiffy stir-fry – perfect as a midweek supper dish.

Beef Chilli & Mint Stir-Fry

Never one to miss a meal, I ordered my lunch to go as I was leaving my hotel in Laos to head to the airport and back to Blighty. I was literally eating my food as I walked to the taxi. Boy, am I glad that I am greedy. Lunch was superb – a simple beef stir-fry with chilli, garlic and a few peanuts, which was lifted somewhere new with a handful of mint leaves. The mint was a superb addition to a classic South-east Asian stir-fry and probably even worth missing a flight for.

beef chilli stirfry

  • 140g/5oz fine egg noodles
  • 2 1⁄2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2.5cm/1in piece fresh root ginger
  • 1 red chilli
  • 2 sirloin steaks (about 120g/41⁄4oz each)
  • 55g/2oz peanuts
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 150g/51⁄2oz bean sprouts
  • 1 handful of small mint leaves


Cook the noodles in boiling water for for 4–5 minutes until soft, or as directed on the packet. Drain in a colander and drizzle with 1⁄2 tablespoon of the oil to prevent the noodles from sticking, then leave to one side. Meanwhile, peel and finely slice the garlic and ginger. Cut the top off the chilli, then slice the chilli. Trim the fat off the beef and slice into strips about 2mm thick.

Heat a wok over a high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Put in the peanuts and stir-fry for 1 minute until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to kitchen paper to drain. Tip the oil out of the wok and return the wok to a high heat. Once smoking, add the remaining oil and the beef. Leave to sear for 40 seconds, then stir-fry for 30 seconds to take on some colour. Chuck in the garlic, ginger and chilli, and continue to stir-fry for 2–3 minutes until golden.

beef chilli

Pour in the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and oyster sauce, and mix well. Add the bean sprouts and continue to stir-fry for 1–2 minutes until the bean sprouts are just tender but still have a little bite. Turn off the heat, then tip in the peanuts and add the mint. Give it a final mix, then add the noodles, stir and serve.