by Susan Hanna
This beef stir-fry from Cook’s Illustrated includes some great tips to make sure the beef is tender. Soak the meat briefly in a mild baking soda solution and add cornstarch to the marinade, then sear over high heat. It is important not to crowd the pan; otherwise the beef will steam, not sear.
Avoiding Additives and Preservatives
Use tamari instead of soy sauce and a preservative-free rice vinegar, such as Marukan. Check the label on the sesame oil to make sure it is free of additives. I cannot find oyster sauce made without preservatives, so I make my own; the recipe is below. For more recipes using all-natural ingredients, visit Eye For A Recipe.
1 tablespoon (15 ml) plus ¼ cup (60 ml) water
¼ teaspoon (1 ml) baking soda
1 pound (500 g) flank steak, trimmed, cut into 2- to 2 ½-inch (5-6.4 cm) strips with grain, each strip cut crosswise against grain into ¼-inch-thick (0.64 cm) slices
3 tablespoons (45 ml) soy sauce
3 tablespoons (45 ml) dry sherry or Chinese rice wine
3 teaspoons (15 ml) cornstarch
2 ½ teaspoons (12 ml) packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) oyster sauce (see recipe below)
2 teaspoons (10 ml) rice vinegar
1 ½ (7 ml) teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons (10 ml) coarsely ground pepper
3 tablespoons (45 ml) plus 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vegetable oil
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch-wide (0.64 cm) strips
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch-wide (0.64 cm) strips
6 scallions, white parts sliced thin on bias, green parts cut into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon (15 ml) grated fresh ginger
1 ½ tablespoons (25 ml) soy sauce
1 tablespoon (15 ml) sugar
1 ½ teaspoons (7 ml) cornstarch
The vegetables and aromatics can be prepared while the beef is marinating. Serve with steamed white rice.
Combine 1 tablespoon (15 ml) water and baking soda in medium bowl. Add beef and toss to coat. Let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes.
Whisk 1 tablespoon (15 ml) soy sauce, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) sherry, 1½ teaspoons (7 ml) cornstarch, and ½ teaspoon (2 ml) sugar together in small bowl. Add soy sauce mixture to beef, stir to coat, and let sit at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes.
Whisk remaining ¼ cup (60 mo) water, remaining 2 tablespoons (30 mo) soy sauce, remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) sherry, remaining 1½ teaspoons (7 ml) cornstarch, remaining 2 teaspoons (10 ml) sugar, oyster sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and pepper together in second bowl.
Heat 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vegetable oil in 12-inch (30 cm) nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add half of beef in single layer. Cook without stirring for 1 minute. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until spotty brown on both sides, about 1 minute longer. Transfer to bowl. Repeat with remaining beef and 2 teaspoons vegetable oil.
Return skillet to high heat, add 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vegetable oil, and heat until beginning to smoke. Add bell peppers and scallion greens and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are spotty brown and crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer vegetables to bowl with beef.
Return now-empty skillet to medium-high heat and add remaining 4 teaspoons (20 ml) vegetable oil, scallion whites, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Return beef and vegetables to skillet and stir to combine.
Whisk sauce to recombine. Add to skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce has thickened, about 30 seconds. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
From Cook’s Illustrated