When it comes to quick and easy there’s nothing quite like a great stir-fry. I first featured this meal in my post about weekend dinners and meal planning. The key to a great stir-fry is flavor and for that you need a solid understanding of Asian cooking or great recipes and cookbooks.
I have posted about Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees before. This is a fantastic book to teach you technique. He even encourages you to use what you have once you understand the different traditional techniques. For this particular dinner I went to Every Grain of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop. Her books have won many awards and give you more of the “traditional” recipes for dishes you might find in your local Chinese restaurant. She does go well beyond that too but if you’re wanting specific recipes her books are a great place to head.
The first recipe was for Stir-Fried Beef with Black Bean and Chili.
- ½ teaspoon dark soy sayce
- 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon shaoxing wine
- 1 ½ teaspoon potato flour
- 2 teaspoon water
- 11 ounces lean sirloin
- ¼ red bell pepper, julienned or cut into thin strips
- ¼ green bell pepper, julienned or cut into thin strips
- A small bunch cilantro, leaves only
- 3 tablespoons wok oil, or canola
- 60 grams Dragonfly Black Bean Sauce
- 30 grams PiXianDouBan (一线豆瓣) (Green Food Broad Bean Paste)
- A pinch of Salt
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
Start with slicing up the beef. Since this is a lean beef slice it to the desired size as there isn’t much fat or marbling to cause shrinkage. The spices should be uniform and thin.
In a bowl large enough to toss the beef in make the marinade. This is actually more of a paste so use a rubber spatula to mix the ingredients and not a whisk. It will look like there isn’t much of the paste but once you put your beef in and toss it there will be enough for a light coating on all the beef. Set aside until you’re ready to cook.
Heat your wok with the oil to as high of a temperature as you can. Stir-fries are meant to be done in over the top heated pans. That’s why some stoves will have a burner specifically designed for a wok. This is not just to hold the odd shaped pan but it’s a hotter flame as well. If you’re using an electric wok as I do set it to it’s highest setting.
Once hot add the beef just until browned. These thin small pieces will cook quickly so there’s no need to get every piece fully browned at this point. Just stir-fry until the majority is browned. Add the peppers. Once there are no more signs of pink on the beef add the sauce and a pinch of salt. Stir-fry till well coated and hot. Pour into your desired serving dish. Add the cilantro and sesame oil immediately and toss one more time. Keep covered until ready to serve. (I used foil.)
The second recipe was for Stir-Fried Mushrooms with Garlic.
- 10 ounces Oyster Mushrooms
- 5 ounces Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons Wok Oil or Canola
- 3 Garlic Cloves, finely sliced
- 6 ounces Chicken Stock
- A Pinch of Salt
- 2 Green Onions, finely sliced
So this recipe calls for 15 ounces of mushrooms. I have a confession I couldn’t get any oyster mushrooms so I just got an assortment that was available. My advice is get at least two types, the more the better and the fresher or local ones will be the best.
Tear, cut or slice the mushrooms into bite size pieces. Heat the wok with the oil to it’s highest heat. Add the garlic until it’s aromatic. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for just a couple minutes until they have begun to reduce in volume. Carefully pour in the stock. Continue to stir-fry until all the liquid has been absorbed. Salt to taste. Add in the green onion and give it one more good stir. Then pour into your preferred serving dish. Cover until you’re ready to serve.
Since stir-fries go so quickly we began the rice once all the ingredients we’re prepped. In out pressure cooker it goes rather quickly. Having your rice done before everything else is OK. It’s more important to have the stir-fries as hot as possible when you go to serve them.