My husband loves a beef stir-fry but I've always found the meat really chewy - turns out good steak prevents that. It's a little on the pricey side but only a little is needed and it tastes so good. And still cheaper than a restaurant! This recipe called for fillet (which is the only steak we will eat - though not often) but I went for a sirloin because it was cheaper and would serve the same purpose. It also called for mangetout and spring onions but the supermarket was out so I opted for leeks and spinach for the greens and they worked perfectly - even if the hubs thought the leeks were a "little waxy".
There were a few steps, and a lot of removing and returning things to the pot which I thought might make it less fast (yet still delicious) but it was quick. First, I got all of my ingredients ready.
I then cooked the red pepper, leek, chilli and ginger until soft and then removed them from the pot. I kept my cutting board nearby to return the veg (and later the meat) to and from the pot. I gave it a quick rinse between chopping the meat and adding the cooked food to it but since it's beef I wouldn't be too worried. If I had been cooking chicken I would have definitely used a fresh dish.
I dry fried the Szechuan pepper and then crushed it using a mortar and pestle. I had said during the Big Kitchen Cleanout of 2012 (well one of I think 3!) that I would get rid of the mortar and pestle if I hadn't used in in 6 months. I bought it at least 3 years ago, used it once (it didn't particularly do the job very well) and it sat in the cupboard for ages. I was tempted to get rid of it last week when I did a charity shop drop off but I'm glad I didn't!
Then I fried the meat with the crushed pepper and once it was all browned I removed it from the pot. Then came time for the sauce. I mixed cornflour and water, added soy sauce and sugar and more water and then heated it to a boil. I cooked the noodles at this point since they only take about 4 minutes.
I returned everything to the pot with the sauce, added the spinach and stir-fried until the spinach had wilted and everything was heated through and served over noodles.
This served two but to make enough for 4 add more veg and twice the amount of meat but keep the sauce measurements the same. Ours was really saucy because I followed the directions from the recipe in the book which served 4 but I cut the meat and veg down by half.
Pepper Beef Stir-Fry with Leeks and Red Pepper - adapted from Hamlyn Fast and Delicious serves 2
200 grams sirloin or fillet steak
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 green chilli, finely chopped and deseeded according to taste (I left them all in - super spicy!)
1 inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 leek, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 large handful of fresh spinach
1 tablespoon Szechuan pepper
1 tablespoon cornflour
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons soft dark brown sugar
1. Place the steak in the freezer for about an hour, until just frozen and then slice thinly.
2. In a large wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Add chilli, ginger, leeks and red pepper and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Remove the vegetables from the wok and set aside. Wipe the pan dry with paper towel.
3. Dry fry the Szechuan pepper over medium heat for about 1-2 minutes, tossing gently. Crush the fried pepper using a mortar and pestle.
4. Heat the rest of the oil in the wok and add the meat and pepper. Fry on high for about 2 minutes or until all the meat has browned. Remove and set aside with the vegetables.
5. Boil a little water in a kettle. While waiting for the water to boil, add the cornflour to a measuring jug and mix with 2 tablespoons of cold water. Once blended, add 2 more tablespoons of cold water, soy sauce, and sugar. Stir and add boiling water to make up to 300ml (1/2 pint). Pour the sauce into the heated wok and bring to a boil stirring continuously until glossy and thickened. Return the meat and vegetables to the pan and add the spinach. Stir-fry until heated through and spinach has wilted. Serve over rice, noodles or eat on it's own.
Choose your eating irons!
This stir-fry had a great flavour - very spicy! It was simple and took less than a half an hour from start to finish. Excluding the hour it took to slightly freeze the steak, but it made it much easier to slice and I can't believe I hadn't done it before!