Friday, October 3, 2008

Learning to Stir Fry

I got a small stir fry pan! I wouldn't call it a wok - it's Calphalon stainless steell, not the traditional carbon steel that turns black with use - but it's small enough to fit into my kitchen, it has a metal handle (that's one reason why I didn't get an authentic wok, everything in the Chinese store has plastic handles that I don't like), it's easy to clean, and, it turns out, one can use it to stir fry!

The common sence would tell me to get a cookbook and to try to follow a few recipes, to get the idea, and then start improvising. But no, I'm not like this, only the lusers (short for 'lame users' in old hackers slang) read the manual, the real gurus just do the thing. So my first stir fry experiment is an improvisation. It turned out eadible, and I will probably even repeat it, with some variations - it has to be a little different every time, no fun otherwise.

I used a top sirloin steak from Safeway that was flavorful, but, like most meat cuts in this store, cut in such a way that I had to trim off a lot (the trimmings go into the freezer in a marked plastic bag for future stocks), so as a results I probably had a little over half a pound of meat.

Stir fried steak with bell peppers
serves 2

2 Tbsp peanut oil
2-3 large garlic cloves, grated
1 in of gigger root, grated
1 star anise, litely bruised
1 kaffir lime leaf, cut into thin strips
leaves from 2-3 sprigs of oregano and thyme, stems removed

1 top sirloin steak, trimmed and cut against the grain into thin 2-inch long strips
salt, pepper

1 yellow onion, peeled, cut in half, and thinly sliced
1 each small red, orange, and yellow bell peppers, cored and thinly sliced
handful of white mushrooms, quartered
4-5 asparagus stems, hard part removed, cut into bite-size pieces

1 tsp each soy sauce, fish sauce, rice vinegar, toasted seasame oil
a few basil leaves, to garnish
1 cup steamed white rice, to serve

Heat the stir fry pan over high heat. Turn on the kitchen fan. Add the oil, immediately add the aromatics, swirl and cook for about 30 seconds.

Add the steak, cook, stirring to brown on all sides. Remove the steak to a plate.

Add more oil if needed, add the vegetables, cook stirring untill soft and browned in places, a couple of minutes.
Add back the meat and the meat juice, stir to warm up. Adjust salt end pepper. Remove the star anise.

Mix the sauces, vinegar, and seasame oil, add to the pan, stir to mix. Garnish with basil leaves.
Serve over rice.

Why white wine? - No reason, I just was feeling like it this time. I would actually serve a Zinfandel with this dish.


Fatcat said...

Looks tasty .. miao

amarillo said...

It came out unexpectedly good, an experiment...