There are a million “make this in the time it takes you to order delivery” stir fry recipes out there, and prior to this week, I had tried exactly none of them.
Sure, the actual cooking time is minutes, but the process stresses me out: tossing in ingredients in rapid succession, stirring and shaking the wok frantically, searing, sizzling, steaming. In my experience, trying to do things quickly in the kitchen inevitably ends in burns. (This is why I’m much more of a sit back and let it cook kinda gal.)
But I was faced with a weird craving for Chinese food this week. Usually when I order food, I go the Mexican or Thai route (‘cept for my salads obvi*), and I’ve found that good, cheap Chinese is actually a hard thing to get right. Upon scouring Seamless Web, I couldn’t find a single delivery option in my new Hell’s Kitchen ‘hood that fit what I was looking for (high on vegetables, with some protein tossed in and no MSG, thank you). Undeterred, I hightailed it to Whole Foods and decided it was finally time to make a stir fry myself.
After finding this recipe, I flirted with the idea of using tofu instead of beef since ya know, I’m trying to be vegetarian and all. But someone pushed me while I was weighing my options in the tofu aisle, so … beef it is! You could obviously substitute tofu (if you can actually get your hands on it before people throw you aside), or do only vegetables. You could also add shrimp, chicken breast slices or thin strips of pork.
The original recipe didn’t call for marinating the beef, but the meat tenderizes better and, more importantly, tastes so much better when there’s a quick marinade involved. The prep time does take a while, but the cooking is quick — too quick for me, as I didn’t go fast enough and was left with excess water in my wok. I had to remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon when they were done cooking, but apparently, if you stir fry properly, this shouldn’t occur. You’ve been forewarned — move quickly.**
Full of crisp-tender vegetables and sweet, salty, spicy flavors, the end result definitely satisfied my Chinese food craving. And I came out of it with zero burns. #Win.
*I’ve since moved away from this diner’s delivery zone, and miss them terribly.
**Alternately, you could remove the vegetables, then cook the water with a bit of cornstarch for a few minutes to thicken it into a ginger-garlic-soy-hoisin sauce for your vegetables. But technically, that wouldn’t be a stir fry.
Stir Fry With Beef, Mushrooms and Snow Peas
Adapted from Bon Appétit
For the beef marinade:
- 1/2 cup soy sauce (low-sodium, if you can find it)
- 1 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1/4 cup scallions, chopped
- 1 pound top sirloin steak, cut into thin 2-inch strips
For the stir fry:
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 1 heaping tablepoon ginger, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 bunch scallions, sliced — divided into whites and tops
- 8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced into thick pieces
- 8 ounces fresh cremini mushrooms, sliced into thick pieces
- 8 ounces broccoli florets
- 8 ounces snow peas
- 1 yellow pepper, sliced into thick strips
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped and divided
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
- salt and pepper, to taste
1) Marinate the beef: mix the soy sauce, ginger, garlic, scallions and steak in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
2) Heat the oil in a large wok or nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add the ginger, garlic and white parts of the scallions, and fry for 1 minute. Then add the mushrooms and broccoli, and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and the broccoli are slightly softened.
3) Add the beef to the wok and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the snow peas, yellow peppers, jalapeño and half of the cilantro and stir fry for an additional minute.
4) Mix in the hoisin, soy sauce and five-spice powder and saute for an additional few minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste.* Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the remaining scallions and cilantro.
*Soy sauce is very salty, so you definitely want to taste before adding any — I didn’t need it.
Note: Watch out, honey-hoisin riblets — now that I’ve got a ton of leftover hoisin, I’m coming for you!