Monday, December 20, 2010

Stir Fried Beef with Red Pepper

While organizing my freezer I came across vacuum packed piece of flank steak. The method of cooking was immediately obvious but what sort of stir fry I will make wasn’t as clear. At the end I have decided that fewer ingredients the better. “Just follow the KISS principle”, I said to myself. Since I had red pepper, asparagus, green and white onions, decision was made for me. I left the flank in a garage to slowly defrost at 4 °C. In the morning it was perfect for slicing it thin. If you are using fresh beef, place it in freezer for about 30 minutes and it will be much easier to slice. Stir frying is very quick method and meat has to be cut very thin, no more then 1/16” to 1/8”. Then it was to decide what sauce it will be cooked in. Out came my favorite and well used cook book by Gloria Bley Miller “The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook” that I bought back in 1981 when I got really serious about Oriental cooking. I still haven’t seen a better Chinese food cookbook. I refer to it all the time for methods and techniques used, there are so many! This cookbook isn’t for a beginner, you have to have a bit of experience to appreciate and use it.
Here goes the simplified recipe inspired by one in this book.
To serve 2

1/2 lb flank steak, thinly sliced
1” ginger, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper
6 asparagus spears cut in half and separated (stems and spears)
2 green onions
1/2 onion, sliced into wedges
water chestnuts, sliced
1Tbs. peanut oil
1 tsp. Sriracha hot sauce
1 Tbs. Sake
2Tbs. Soy sauce
1 Tbs. Corn starch
2Tbs oyster sauce
1 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. sake
1 Tbs. corn starch
Mix all marinade ingredients till smooth and coat all beef slices. Cover and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
Have all ingredients on hand, it will take just a few minutes from start to finish.
Drain marinade (if meat didn’t absorb it) and pat dry.
Preheat well seasoned wok till hot and add cold oil around the sides of wok. Oil should form a haze as soon as it touches sides of wok. Add slices of flank in one layer if possible and let brown (don’t move the meat) for 30 seconds. Flip over with steel spatula and stir fry for another 30 seconds. Remove the meat to preheated bowl and keep warm.

Lower the heat to medium high and sauté garlic and ginger for few seconds.
Add red pepper, asparagus stems, onion wedges and chestnuts. Stir fry for about a minute and then add asparagus tips and half of the green onions. Stir for about 1/2 a minute and increase the heat. Return meat to the wok and add the sauce. Stir till all ingredients are well coated with sauce and serve immediately. Garnish with remaining green onions. Serve with steamed rice.

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