Tag Archives: stir fry

Perfect Beef Stir Fry — A Free Recipe

For years I’ve struggled with stir fry. It seems easy enough: chop meat and veggies, fry them up in a hot pan, toss with sauce and serve over rice or noodles. I could do the veggie part right, but the meat always turned out pale and chewy. I wanted that crispy beef you get at a restaurant that’s tender and flavorful.

I finally figured it out. It isn’t even hard. First, my kitchen stove isn’t hot enough. It can’t heat a wok like an industrial restaurant flame can. So right away I was set up to fail. My first step was to ditch the wok. My stove just can’t heat the bottom of a wok to a high enough heat. Instead I place a cast iron skillet in the oven and heat it to 500 degrees before putting it over a hot flame. This produces the hottest pan and will help with that caramelized sear I’m looking for on the meat.

Second, tenderize the meat. In the past I just sliced my beef thinly and tossed it into a pan. I find poking it all over with a fork or a meat stabber creates a more tender final product.

Third, don’t overcrowd the pan. Adding a large quantity of cold meat to a hot pan will lower the pan’s heat and it’ll take longer to reheat it. Cook your beef in two batches and the pan will stay hotter. Lastly, don’t move that meat! To achieve that perfect sear, toss in the beef and don’t stir it, shake it or flip it for a minute.

Here’s a recipe I came up with tonight, inspired by this recipe, and using what I had available in my kitchen. I hope you don’t feel intimidated by the number of ingredients. Most of them are staples in my kitchen. Use whatever veggies you like. That’s the great thing about stir fry. It’s customizable. Serve over noodles or rice, whichever you prefer. I happened to have udon noodles so that’s what I went with tonight.

The Best Beef Stir Fry | A Free Recipe from Alaska Knit Nat
suziedepingu via Compfight cc

Perfect Beef Stir Fry — A Free Recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Ingredients (all of these measurements are estimated):

  • 1 pound of beef, I think we used New York strip steak
  • 1/2 pound udon noodles
  • 1 Tbs. corn starch
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. vinegar
  • 3 tsp. sesame oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbs. cooking sherry
  • 2 Tbs. oyster sauce
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp. powdered ginger (I didn’t have any fresh)
  • 3 dried red chilis
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 bok choy heads, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 6 kale leaves, stems removed and torn
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • cooking oil
  • 3 green onions, chopped
The Best Beef Stir Fry | A Free Recipe from Alaska Knit Nat
lauradeponte via Compfight cc


Tenderize the beef with a meat stabber or a fork. Slice thinly across the grain. In a bowl combine soy sauce, vinegar, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 tsp. sesame oil, corn starch, salt and pepper. Add the sliced beef, coat in the mixture and set aside.

Place a cast iron skillet in a cold oven and set the temperature to 500 degrees. Set a large pot of water to boil. Cook noodles for nine minutes, rinse with cold water and set aside.

In the meantime, chop the onions and bok choy. Massage the kale for a minute. This helps it be more tender when cooked. In a medium bowl, combine the sherry, oyster sauce, chicken stock and ginger; set aside.

When oven reaches 500 degrees, remove the cast iron pan and place it over a high flame. Add some cooking oil, enough to coat the pan, and let it heat for a minute. Add half of the beef and spread it evenly on the pan. Now don’t move it! Let it sit and sear for one minute. Flip each piece, toss in the dried peppers and garlic and let it sit another minute. Place into the bowl with the sherry and oyster sauce. Add a little more oil to the skillet and let it reheat for a minute. Add the second batch of beef and cook the same way.

In the now empty pan, add a little more oil if needed and toss in the onions. Stir and let cook for a few minutes till onions begin to soften and brown slightly. Add the bok choy, kale and sugar; toss to coat in the oil. Add a splash of chicken stock and let the greens cook down for a few minutes, until tender. Add the beef mixture and green onions and toss well. Serve over the noodles.

The Best Beef Stir Fry | A Free Recipe from Alaska Knit Nat
Chung Chu via Compfight cc

Rainbow Stir Fry with Orange Garlic Sauce

I’ve been eating an awful lot of burgers lately. Not sure why, but I felt like a healthy dinner was in order. My two-year-old son and I decided on a veggie-packed stir fry. Today at the grocery store he helped me pick out many colors of the rainbow: red bell pepper, carrots, broccoli and purple cabbage. 

I never use a recipe when I make stir-fry sauce, so all of the following measurements are approximate. Feel free to substitute vegetables of your choice. This recipe seems to have a lot of ingredients, but most of them are staples in my cabinet so it wasn’t an expensive dish. You could also add beef or chicken, I just forgot to thaw out any meat for tonight.

Rainbow Vegetable Stir Fry | A quick, healthy dish from Alaska Knit Nat

Rainbow Stir Fry with Orange Garlic Sauce

Serves 4


Coconut oil

1/2 red bell pepper, julienned

1/2 large carrot, julienned

1/2 cup fresh green beans

1 small head of broccoli, cut into small florets

1/4 of a small red cabbage, chopped

4 crimini mushrooms, sliced

1/2 onion, chopped

1 brick of firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes

3 green onions, chopped


For the sauce:

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup chicken stock

2 tsp. rice vinegar

1/2 tsp. agave nectar

2 Tbs. orange juice

1 Tbs. chili garlic sauce

1 tsp. powdered or freshly grated ginger

splash of fish sauce

splash of sesame oil

freshly ground pepper

1/2 tsp. corn starch

Rainbow Vegetable Stir Fry | A quick, healthy dish from Alaska Knit Nat


I like to serve this over brown rice. I recommend Alton Brown’s technique, which takes an hour in the oven, so prepare your rice and then start on the stir fry when there’s about 30 minutes remaining.

Whisk together the sauce ingredients and set aside.

In a large frying pan or wok, add two tablespoons of coconut oil and crank up the heat to high. Add the tofu and don’t move it for one minute. This will create a nice brown crust. Gently turn tofu to brown the other sides and set it aside for later.

Add another tablespoon of coconut oil and reheat the pan. Add all of the veggies except the green onions and toss till well coated in the oil. Let the pan heat up again and add 1/4 cup of water or chicken stock. Cover and steam for about 7 minutes, until the broccoli and carrots are just tender. 

Pour in the sauce and coat the vegetables evenly. Add the green onions and tofu and gently toss. Serve over brown rice.

Asian Meatballs

I’m thinking about doing the South Beach Diet. The problem is, I love pasta and noodles. I had a hankering for gyoza tonight, so I thought I’d just make the filling in the form of meatballs and ditch the noodle.

Turned out I didn’t really miss the won ton wrapper after all. This meal is quick and uses common fridge ingredients. Put whatever veggies you prefer in the stir fry. I happened to find a tasty edible mushroom in my yard right before dinner, so I tossed that in at the last minute.

Asian Meatballs

Ingredients (I eyeball everything):
1 lb. ground beef
1 egg
2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup panko flakes (not South Beach friendly, so omit if needs be)
2 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. fish sauce
1/2 tsp. ginger powder
2 green onions, finely chopped
salt and pepper

For the sauce:
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbs. rice vinegar
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. fish sauce
1/2 tsp. ginger powder
1/2 tsp. corn starch (again, not South Beach friendly)
1 Tbs. oyster sauce (optional)

Broccoli, tofu, zucchini, and other stir fry veggies

If using tofu, drain it and cover in paper towels. Place a heavy pan on top to get more liquid out. Mix together the meatball ingredients thoroughly, cover and let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Form meatballs and place on a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet so the fat is allowed to drain away while they cook. Bake for 30 minutes or until they are browned and cooked all the way through. Set aside.

Whisk together the sauce ingredients and set aside.

Meanwhile, cut the tofu into cubes and cut your stir fry veggies up into bite-sized pieces. Heat 2 tsp. cooking oil in a wok over high flame until the oil shimmers. Add the tofu and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Set aside. Add another teaspoon of oil to the wok and reheat. Add the veggies and half the sauce. Mix well, cover and let cook for about seven minutes or until veggies are tender.

Uncover, add the rest of the sauce, the tofu, the meatballs and toss till everything is thoroughly coated.

Serve alone or with brown rice or farro if you aren’t in Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet.

Asian Meatballs