Monday, September 27, 2010

Five Alarm Stir Fry Ginger Beef

I’m calling this “five alarm” not because it’s incredibly spicy (although this does have a nice slow burn that builds up over time). No, the name comes more from the fact that we almost had to call the fire department while making it! Well, ok, that might be a slight exaggeration, but the house did fill up with smoke alarmingly quickly. Still, it was quite tasty. Although now I wonder if yours will taste like ours did, since ours had a lot of smoky flavor and burny bits in it. At any rate, I recommend you try it. Just don’t cook it on high, and maybe turn off the smoke alarm in advance.

Found this one on Simply Recipes, via Tastespotting.

2 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
5 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp peeled, grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon chile pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground cumin

1.5 lb top sirloin steak
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil
3-4 green onions, cut on a diagonal, 1/2-inch apart, including the greens
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2-3 hot chiles, preferably serranos, sliced
1-inch knob of ginger, peeled, cut lengthwise into matchsticks
1/2 cup loosely packed, chopped cilantro

Slice up the steak into thin pieces. We didn’t make them bite-sized because I think that helps the steak cook better. If you cut it too thin you’ll end up with well-done beef, and I prefer mine more on the medium rare side. Whisk all the ingredients of the marinade together, add the sliced beef and sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours. I only did 30 minutes and it still got quite a bit of flavor, but if you have more time, it certainly couldn’t hurt. I also just realized as I read the ingredients again that I totally forgot to put in the fresh ginger. Not sure how that would have changed the flavor. D'oh! 

Do all your chopping and have your veggies ready because they cook quite quickly. Also, stir together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of cold water. You’ll probably need to mix it up again right before adding it.

Heat the oil in a wok or pan. The recipe calls for high heat, and this is where our smoke problem came in. They directed us to heat the oil until it was NEARLY smoking. Obviously, we went past that, but I really feel like high heat was too hot anyway. Pat off the beef and cook it in the wok in small batches (a handful is perfect). You only need to cook it for about a minute to make sure it’s brown on the outside. Ours was pretty black, actually. Put the beef aside.

After all the beef has been cooked and removed from the wok, add the garlic and chilies and stir-fry for about 45 seconds. Next add the ginger and stir-fry for another 45 seconds. Add the beef, the cornstarch mixture, and the scallions and mix it together, cooking for about another minute. At this point, if you aren’t smoking out your house, you’re doing better than we were. Go ahead and take the wok off the heat and stir in cilantro. Don’t skip this step as I think the cilantro was a big part of the flavor. Serve over rice, with a steak knife.

Steve and I felt like this could probably use some more veggies so I think if we make it again, we’ll probably add some broccoli when we put in the chilies and garlic, or maybe even cook the broccoli for a minute or two before adding them. I also felt like it needed something else, so I sprinkled some lemon juice on top, which gave it a little more of an edge. Not necessary, but if you taste it and feel like you need something, that’s what I recommend. Then you are ready to hook your smoke alarm back up, and enjoy!

(Click here for printable recipe)

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