Stir Fried Beef

Last night I made stir fried beef for dinner. Nothing mind blowing, but good in that cheap take out Chinese food kind of way.

Firstly, I thawed a top round steak from the freezer. This was a very lean cut, but a good amount for two people at 0.62 lbs, close to 2/3rds of a pound of beef.

Hit both sides with the blunt end of a cleaver to soften the steak up a bit.

I sliced fairly thin slices of the beef. Some folks like to do this with partially frozen meat for better control, but this was such a lean little steak that it was no problem to slice fully thawed.

I was cutting against the grain to ensure my meat was somewhat tender and edible.

Bowl full of beef slices! So pretty, red, and sinewy.

Once the beef is sliced and in a bowl, add a liberal amount of cornstarch to coat. Blop.

Here are the slices of beef, lightly coated for the most part. No need to be fanatic about this part since I’m just going to…

Slather it with sauces and seasonings!! About 1/4-1/3 C of soy sauce, 2 T oyster sauce, 1/4-1/2 t sesame oil, and 1-2 T sugar.

Like I said, I was going more for Chinese take out, and not anything really traditional or authentic. It’s got most of the bases covered – salty, meaty, hit of sweetness to counter the salty.

I mixed everything up into a thick slurry. It kind of looked like it was slathered in peanut sauce. Hee hee. I left it on the counter for about an hour while I was doing the dishes and putting rice in the cooker…

And making some stir fried napa cabbage. I couldn’t find the garlic so I used thick slices of onion (a whole small onion). The way I make napa cabbage is super easy. It might be a little bland to some, but I enjoy it when there are other “bigger” flavors with a meal as a refreshing and light veggie dish.

Heat up a pan as hot as it will go, toss in your garlic or onion into some hot oil and let it get very well browned/blackened. This should only take a minute since it’s so hot. Move them to once side and off of the center and then add in chopped napa cabbage. Let it sear for a bit and stir every minute or two until cooked.
I prefer my napa cabbage to get a little bit of char on it. Not burned, but it’s also not just cooked cabbage and adds a little bit of smokey char while retaining a crunch in the stems.
After I took the cabbage out of the pan, I added my beef so they cooked as strips, so I worked in 2-3 batches to cook everything. This way they were nicely browned and cooked through. Once I was done, I turned the heat off of the pan and added the cornstarchy marinade and an equal (or maybe greater) amount of water to make a sauce. Then I tossed the cooked beef strips in and let them mingle in the hot pan for a few minutes before serving up.

Here is the final product on top of some rice. The sauce wouldn’t have hurt from some more oyster sauce or soy sauce, but it just fine and tasty for what it was (and seriously easy). Oooh, or some black bean sauce. Next time.
The beef strips were full of flavor (that teeny bit of sesame oil was great), but I had a hard time biting through the longer pieces. So I think next time I will use the meat tenderizer powder for maximum softness.
For what it’s worth – I cooked both of these dishes in a cast iron pan. I think it really retains heat and stays a lot hotter than other non-stick or aluminum pans, so if you have one I’d recommend using it. You don’t need a wok to cook Chinese food, just a pan you can get really hot.

  1. That actually looks really good to me. I love simple meat, sauce, and rice dishes.

    I noticed the pic of you chopping the meat and then how you said it was a little tough. Have you tried bias-slicing at a fairly extreme angle. Perhaps 30-45 degrees. This shortens the muscle fibers and makes for a more easily chewable end result.

  2. JayH said:

    The meat cost 7 cents?
    Looked that way in first picture.

  3. Mr. Dave – Ooooh, I will have to try that next time. Thanks for the tip!

    JayH – lol, not sure why it says that. This was meat I bought in the fall and keep in the freezer. No hormones, basically organic for $4/lb, so this was roughly $2.48 for the meat.

  4. I wish my wife ate cabbage. I love the stuff. But there is only one person who ever made cabbage she would eat.

    My old friend Raf. And he chopped it fine, and slow cooked it so it caramelized. This served as the bed for a grilled piece of swordfish, if I remember correctly.

    It was delicious.

    Fermented black soy beans are the best! They are a staple in my stir fry.

  5. Grace said:

    black bean sauce can never be a bad thing.
    oh, and i enjoy the fact that you lovingly described the meat as “sinewy.” πŸ™‚

  6. Shaun said:

    I'm surprised that you haven't yet reviewed the newly opened Chinese supermarket on Central. I believe it opened for business this week.

    It's quite impressive, especially compared to the other stores available in the area. It's not as big as the one that Lee's Market opened up (for a short time) in Latham, but it could easily be mistaken for one of the bigger supermarkets in Flushing (Hong Kong Supermarket?) of Chinatown (Dyanasty?).

    If they can keep their prices comparable to the other stores I think that they are going to eat up a lot of the others' business.

  7. Daniel B – black bean buddies! (shame about the cabbage, but there are lots of other things I don't like either)

    phairhead – nope. But not a bad suggestion for next time!

    Grace – glad you took it as a good thing, too! πŸ˜‰

    Shaun – I keep hearing about how awesome it is from my sister. Unfortch my budget right now is a bit too high for the month, so I've gotta wait until Aug until I go fun food shopping. Bah!

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