Ginger Beef Stir Fry

I’ve really wrestled with whether or not I should post a stir fry recipe. I grew up making stir fry, and in my half-asian house, we treated it like a garbage plate. You know what a garbage plate is right? Like when you’re cleaning out the fridge and you have some produce that’s about to be too gone and some chicken in your freezer so you mix it all together and end up with something delicious. That was one way mom taught me to be thrifty: to use what I had. Of course though, we still had specific stir fry combinations that we would follow, so sometimes there was purposeful purchasing of things instead of just the weekly dump in the wok. My stir fry techniques grew up as I got better in the kitchen too.

But here’s where I struggled about posting this recipe: I’m really trying to be better about providing measurements rather than guidelines, but stir fry is one of those things I make by feel. I can’t tell you to use a half cup of soy sauce because I don’t know if your preferred soy sauce is on the same salt level as mine, or if you prefer a sweeter taste that I don’t. Or if you want chicken over beef or no meat at all.

So we’ll start with our house favorite and I’ll do my best to explain how I make it so you can replicate it at home. But really, it’s by feel. Taste as you go (when it’s safe to, duh… don’t taste raw meat or things touching raw meat) and adjust where you see fit. You might end up with something you like that is completely different than mine.

A quick note about the beef I use in this recipe. I just get a boneless steak or two that’s on sale and cut it up. Sometimes my grocery store has packs of thinly sliced beef labeled for carne asada, which also works great. You’re looking for something that doesn’t need to cook for a long time to be tender.

gingerbeefstirfry

Ginger Beef Stir Fry
Serves 4-6

2-3 pounds thinly sliced beef (see note above)
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
12-16 oz broccoli florets (or a couple crowns cut into florets)
12 oz snow peas (the flat ones)
1-2 inch nub of ginger, grated into a paste with a microplane or finely minced
salt and pepper, to taste

For the sauce: soy sauce, mirin or Chinese cooking wine, beef broth

Get all your ingredients prepared and ready to go. This will go fairly fast. Make sure your rice is well on its way to being cooked already if you’re having this with rice.

Set a large pan or wok on high heat. Use your high heat cooking oil of choice to grease up  your pan, before adding your beef and lightly seasoning it with salt and pepper. If you’re afraid of adding too much salt, omit it completely and season at the end. Add the onions and garlic when the meat is almost cooked through. When the onions are transparent, add the broccoli. Once the broccoli is tender, add the snow peas and ginger.

Start building your sauce with soy sauce and a splash of mirin or Chinese cooking wine. If your beef juices have cooked away by this point or if you don’t have enough sauce (I like a lot of sauce on my rice) add some beef broth to stretch the juices. Taste and adjust as you see necessary.

If you like a thicker sauce, remove some of the sauce base into a small bowl and thicken with cornstarch. Add the cornstarch slurry back into the pot and work it in to the sauce. Stir well and allow to cook to thicken.

Serve over rice, cauliflower rice, or on its own.

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