Beef stir fry is quick and easy, and takes about 30 minutes to make including chopping vegetables and marinating the meat. If you have a couple of helpers to hand, it may take even less time. So with that in mind, it makes a great mid week dinner when time is not on your side, or for those nights when you can’t be bothered cooking, and thirty minutes is all you’re prepared to allocate to the task.
Marinating the beef while you chop up the vegetables means the beef is full of flavour even though you don’t have much time to dedicate to the task of cooking. If you opt to make a vegetarian version, then add the sauces / flavourings from the marinade to the wok once you’ve cooked the vegetables for a couple of minutes. The vegetables included in the list of ingredients are what we regularly use, but its a handy hint only. If you really can’t be bothered chopping all of them up, then just use broccoli and capsicum. Together with a handful of cashews, that’s all you need to go with the beef.
I like to use fillet steak to make a stir fry because it cooks really quickly and is incredibly tender. In fact, it’s pretty much the only time we eat fillet steak. There’s a couple of reasons for that: I really don’t like eating slabs of meat; and it’s super expensive. But what’s great about a beef stir fry is you need so little of it. I allow around 50 – 70 grams per person, which isn’t very much. My view is it’s an accompaniment to the vegetables, rather than being the hero of the dish.
There was a time when I thought you had to have a fancy wok to cook a stir fry. I was wrong. The wok I use is a basic carbon steel, flat bottomed one from an Asian supermarket bought for around $10. Carbon steel woks are fabulous because they heat up quickly and evenly and become incredibly nonstick over the years. Also, flat bottomed is the way to go because they have a stable base. If you buy a round bottomed wok you may need to also purchase a wok ring to stabilise it on the stove.
But then again, if you don’t have a wok, use a large heavy based frying pan, and make buying a wok something you’ll get around to. After all, not having a wok is not a good enough reason not to make a stir fry. Enjoy!
- 150 grams beef fillet or rump steak, thinly sliced
- peanut oil
- 1 red onion, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 knob of ginger, grated or finely chopped
- 1 red capsicum, sliced
- 1 small carrot, chopped into thin batons
- 1 small zucchini, thickly sliced
- small piece of broccoli broken into small florets
- 12 snow peas
- 2-3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- juice of ½ a lime
- handful of roasted cashews
- 1 red chilli, thinly sliced (optional)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sambal olek
- noodles or rice to serve
- Start by marinating the beef: in a small bowl combine the soy sauce, sesame oil and sambal olek. Add the thinly sliced beef, and stir to coat with the marinade. Set aside.
- While the beef is marinating, prepare the vegetables and cook the noodles.
- Add a splash of peanut oil to a wok or large frying pan and heat. Fry the beef in a single layer until browned on each side, stirring frequently. Remove from pan and set aside. (You may need to cook the beef in a couple of batches.)
- Add onion, garlic and ginger to the wok, with a little extra oil if needed. Fry for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add the vegetables, and a splash of water. Stir fry on high heat for a couple of minutes or until barely tender.
- Return the beef to the pan, add the oyster sauce and mix through. Add lime juice, and stir through. Remove from heat and serve.
- a. Add the noodles to the pan, and mix thoroughly with the beef and vegetables. Divide evenly between bowls, top with cashews and red chilli slices. OR
- b. Divide the noodles or rice between the serving bowls, top with stir fried beef and vegetables, a sprinkling of cashews and slices of red chilli.