Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Beef with Peppers

I don't usually go for exact stir fry recipes; I think they're much better when the cook is adding a little of this, a little of that, with no set plan. However, I have a phobia about stir frying beef. It goes back to the first time I tried it a few years ago when I severely overcooked it. It was like eating a shoe leather stir fry. I saw this recipe in the Washington Post food section last week and thought I'd give it a try. Since it seemed very saucy I thought it would be forgiving of an accidental overcooking incident.

It turns out that I didn't have to worry. The beef cooked perfectly; the end product was tender and flavorful!

For the marinade and steak

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1.5 - 2 pound piece of flank steak, trimmed of excess fat

For the seasoning sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons sugar

For the stir fry
Peanut oil
1 inch length of fresh ginger, grated
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 small onion, sliced into half moons
1 green onion, minced
2 bell peppers (any color, but I prefer red), seeded and thinly sliced
White pepper (optional)

Get a pot of rice started first thing.

Slice the beef against the grain into roughly 1/8-inch thick strips; then cut the strips in half lengthwise. Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl and add the beef strips. Stir to coat the beef and marinade for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the ingredients for the seasoning sauce in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large wok or deep sided pan over high heat. Add the beef to the wok and season with a few dashes of white pepper. Stir fry until the outside is seared, but there is still a little pink inside, 3 or 4 minutes. Remove the beef to a plate and set aside.

Wipe down the inside of the wok with a paper towel and add another tablespoon of oil. Throw the onions in and stir around until they are soft and becoming translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, green onion, peppers, and ginger to the wok and stir fry until the peppers are slightly charred and softer, 3 or 4 minutes. Put the beef and any accumulated juices back in the wok and toss thoroughly. Pour the seasoning sauce in the wok and stir fry for a minute or two, until everything is evenly coated in the sauce. Finish with a couple of sprinkles of white pepper and serve over the rice.

Rating: This is awesome
This was a very tasty (and easy!) stir fry. I think I'm going to have to start using rice wine all the time in my stir frys--I loved the little kick it gave in the background of the sauce.

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