It was one of those days. I had been sitting on the couch for at least an hour, repeating the same question over and over again in the whiniest manner every 5-10 minutes to my husband (who was mindlessly engaged in his dumbass ipad war game): what should I make for dinner? He was responding pretty much entirely in grunts, and I was scrolling through my instagram feed to distract myself.
Just as I was about to cave in and make one of my regular, boring, cannot-be-bothered-to-be-creative, back pocket dinners (hello omelette!), I glimpsed a CRAZY good looking stir-fry dish that made me scroll back a bit. Upon further inspection, I saw that it was a gorgeously dark and tasty looking beef stir-fry with ginger and red capsicum. I instantly knew I had to make this (you know when you just KNOW?). It was exactly what I was craving. I shoved my phone’s screen in between my husband and his precious tablet (which is the only way to get his attention once he has started one of his all-important ‘wars’) and was met with the satisfying omnomnoms of approval.
The problem was, I’ve never really succeeded at making a good beef stir-fry. I do make a pretty good Chicken stir-fry, but I am just not the greatest at Asian food to be honest. It is one of the culinary areas where I feel least confident, but I wasn’t about to give up. I proceeded to comment on the photo asking for the recipe, oh pretty pretty please. To my absolute delight, Cam (@fastfoodslow) replied to my request within mere minutes with a pretty excellent and descriptive guideline (he doesn’t have a blog yet, but is working on it. Yaay!). I thanked him profusely and gave the list of groceries to my husband to run out and get them.
My biggest concern was the cut of beef. Most supermarkets usually have pre-packaged and sliced ‘stir-fry’ beef in the fridges, but it never says what cut it is, and honestly I’ve never gotten great results using them. For stir-frying, you need a very lean, tender, fast-cooking cut such as fillet, so that all you need is to quickly sear it in a hot pan and not have chewy, tough meat. Cam advised that I use rump steak, which I had never used before. I took his advice.
One hour later, among ooohing and aaahing and downright orgasmic sounds, we were enjoying, hands down, THE BEST beef stir-fry we have ever eaten, inside or outside home! No joke. I had to stop and snap an ugly mid-dinner photo in the unflattering fluorescent kitchen light and send it to Cam, and tell him that he was our dinner hero for the night.
I asked him if I could share this fantastic recipe on my blog, and he so generously agreed. Thank you, Cam!
Oh how I love thee, instagram.
Hey…that rhymes! teehee!
I did very minor changes to the recipe (adding garlic, chilli and broccoli and swapping the wine for splash of vinegar), otherwise it is pretty much exactly as Cam gave it to me, just measured out according to our taste after a couple of test runs.
I believe that the oyster sauce really makes this recipe. It is another one of those stinky-but-yummy Asian sauces that I never would’ve considered using on my own, but once I did there was no going back (I’m looking at you too, fish sauce!). I am pretty sure you can find it in most big supermarkets or Asian grocers (yes, even in Egypt), but if you absolutely cannot find it, just leave it out and add a bit more soy sauce to compensate for it (but please try to find it!).
Serve with rice, noodles, or to quote Cam “with whatever blows your hair back”.
- • 500-600g lean beef steak, thinly sliced (cuts such as rump, sirloin, tenderloin or fillet all work well for stir-fries)
- FOR THE MARINADE:
- • 3 tbsp. soy sauce (light/regular, not dark)
- • 3 tbsp. oyster sauce*
- • 1½ tbsp. brown sugar
- • 1½ tbsp. vinegar
- • 1 tbsp. fresh grated ginger
- • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- FOR THE STIR-FRY:
- • olive oil
- • 1 large red capsicum, sliced into 1cm strips (sweet red pepper)
- • 1-2 long red chillis, thinly sliced (optional)
- • 1 large onion, sliced into 1cm strips
- • 3 cups broccoli florets (about 1 medium head)
- • 2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
- Place the beef in a large bowl. Add all the marinade ingredients, mix well to combine & coat all the meat. Cover the bowl with plastic and leave to marinate in the fridge for an hour or so.
- As with all stir-frys, prep all your ingredients before you start and have them nearby, because once you start things should go pretty quick otherwise you will end up with over-cooked meat/vegetables.
- Cook the beef: Heat a large wok or non-stick frying pan over high heat for a couple of minutes. Add about 1 tablespoon of oil, then add the beef strips, shaking off the excess marinade into the bowl as you go (reserve the marinade! You will need it later!). Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until edges are starting to caramelize. Do this over 2-3 batches; you want the beef to brown quickly and not steam, so DO NOT over-crowd the pan. I do this in at least 3 batches. If the pan gets too much burnt brown bits stuck to it, give it a quick wipe with kitchen paper in between batches. Remove the beef onto a plate and set aside.
- Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and add the capsicum & chilli (if using). Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until slightly softened, remove onto a plate and set aside. Repeat with the onions.
- Add a tiny splash of water to your reserved marinade (not more than a couple of tablespoons), swish it around in the bowl and add that to the wok. Throw in the broccoli, & stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until bright green and tender-crisp. This creates steam in the wok, which cooks the broccoli perfectly.
- Return everything else you have cooked to the wok, give it all a good stir to heat it through then sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve immediately with rice, noodles, barley, quinoa or nothing at all.