Monday, May 2, 2011

Szechwan Beef Stir Fry

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you've probably realized that I love a good stir fry recipe. Just like soup, the possibilities seem endless... there's so much potential in the simple combination of meat and vegetables mixed with a flavorful sauce over rice. Stir fry recipes also fulfill two very important requirements for me during the busy school week - they're usually quick, and almost always healthy. And, especially in this case, they're usually damn tasty.

You've also likely figured out by now that Dane can be a picky eater. He's usually willing to at least try something he's not sure he'll like, but he and I don't always agree on what counts as the most delicious meal ever. This was one new recipe that he absolutely loved. No having to talk him into this one - he loved it at first bite. And for good reason! The sweet but complex flavors in the sauce - thank you hoisin! - make this a truly remarkable dish. Plus I think he just loved that I cooked something with beef for a change. :)

Since we like to take leftovers for lunch the next day, I found that the original recipe didn't make quite enough for us. So, the proportions I've listed in my rendition of the recipe are doubled, but you could easily halve them again if you find this is too much for you. But if you love this recipe as much as Dane and I do, you'll appreciate the extra portions.

Szechwan Beef Stir Fry
adapted from The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook
makes 4-6 servings, 350-525 calories each

24 ounces sirloin steak
6 tablespoons dry sherry
6 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
4 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons bottled hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
4 teaspoons corn starch
2 teaspoons sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1+ tablespoon canola oil
2 cup carrots, thinly sliced on the bias
two 14-ounce cans whole baby corn, drained and rinsed
2 red or green bell pepper, cut into 1" pieces
2 cups hot cooked brown rice
2-3 scallions, white and green parts sliced

1. If desired, you can partially freeze the beef for easier slicing. Trim all visible fat from the meat, and thinly slice it across the grain into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
2. For the sauce, stir together the sherry, soy sauce, water, hoisin sauce, ginger, cornstarch, sugar, garlic, and red pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Heat the oil in a wok or large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat (add more oil as necessary during cooking). Add the carrot and cook for 2 minutes. Add the corn and bell pepper and stir fry for 1-2 minutes more, just until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Transfer to a bowl or plate.
4. Add the beef strips to the hot wok. Cook and stir for 2-3 minutes or until meat is only slightly pink in the center. Push meat away from the center of the wok.
5. Stir sauce to ensure the cornstarch is dissolved and add it to the center of the wok. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Return the cooked vegetables to the wok and stir to coat all ingredients with the sauce. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes more or until heated through. Serve immediate over hot rice and sprinkle with sliced scallions.


  1. Yummy I love this recipe, it looks great! :)

  2. mmm...looks like a tasty, simple stir fry! I always get carried away with stir fries when I keep adding a little more of this veggie and then a little more of that veggie....ends up being too big for the wok!!

  3. I love stir fry too-it's my favorite end of the week fridge clean out meal and your recipe looks wonderful! Lovely pictures too!

  4. Stir fries are just great. You can just work with any ingredients you've got. It always ends up delicious. Love the flavours and spicy kick on this one.


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