Monday, January 23rd marks Chinese New Year for 2009. This is the Year of the Ox. What better way to celebrate than by eating a Beef Stir Fry?
Stir frying cooks nicely chopped vegetables and meats very quickly in a small amount of oil over high heat. This makes stir frying one of the fastest and healthiest ways of cooking. This classic combination of beef and ginger is an aromatic and delicious way of celebrating Chinese New Year.
Ginger Beef Stir Fry
Making good stir fry starts with cutting the ingredients. Slice them fine, no more than 1/4 inch thick and about 2 inches long. The beed should be sliced thinly, against the grain, and at a bias. The idea is to maximize the surface area so that everything cooks quickly and evenly. If you don't have a wok, a deep non-stick frying pan will do nicely. Don't let the pan get more than about 1/3 full, until the end. Every piece of food needs to have room to touch the sides and bottom of the pan.
8 oz. Chinese egg noodles or Ramen
3 Tablespoons peanut oil
6 green onions, sliced on a bias into 2 inch lengths
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks, OR 2 teaspoons crushed ginger
4 medium carrots, julienned
1/2 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
1 stalk celery, sliced thinly on a bias
3/4 pound top round or flank steak, pounded and sliced into thin, strips
2 tablespoons cooking sherry
4 tablespoons soy sauce
Prepare all the ingredients before hand and put them in separate bowls. I clean and save used cottage cheese and sour cream containers just for this. This is quick cooking. You won't have time in between steps to get things ready. You want to be able to just grab and go.
Bring plenty of hot water to a boil in a large pot and remove from heat. Drop the noodles into the water to soak them while you continue with the recipe.
Place a wok or deep non-stick frying pan over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes until very hot. Add a drop of oil. If it sizzles a bit when it hits the bottom, you're ready.
Add the remaining oil and swirl to coat the sides. Reduce the heat to medium high and heat the oil just until it starts to smoke. Watch carefully because this happens pretty fast.
Drop the green onion and ginger into the hot oil. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon or cooking chopsticks for about 1 minute, coating them with the oil.
Push the green onions and ginger to the cooler side of the wok, or remove them completely from the pan. Add the carrots, peppers, and celery and cook in the same way, stir-frying for about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the pan.
Add the sliced beef to the pan and cook on each side briefly, just to get some color. Return the cooked vegetables to the pan and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes more.
Push the other ingredients to the side and pour in the cooking sherry directly onto a hot section of the pan. Let it simmer briefly to burn off the alcohol. Add the soy sauce and stir into the beef and vegetables.
Drain the noodles and add to the pan. Toss to combine with the other ingredients. Taste, adding more soy sauce if you like. Serve immediately. Sprinkle with parsley to garnish, if you like.
Picture by Thier Aquino.