I’m all about fast meals these days that can be made in no time but still have a big punch of flavour from them. A stir-fry is perfect for this type of meal. It can be on the table in under 20 minutes. I have been reading up on Asian cooking quite a bit lately. I find for Chinese food you can’t go wrong with Ken Hom and Fucshia Dunlop. However they do use ingredients that might not be available too easily. For instance, dried orange peel is commonly used in their recipes. I’ve never seen it and spending time drying peel in an oven kind of defeats the purpose of a fast meal in my opinion. So relax and just use regular orange peel and juice. Once it tastes good, who cares?
I’ve been working on this recipe for some time. It took til now for me to be completely happy with it. At first I was nervous of putting too much heat in it. It’s still not mouth-numbingly hot but there is a nice kick off it. Feel free to add more chilli if you like. I was going to make it a crispy beef dish but I like to put the beef back into the sauce to reheat so it loses some of that crunch when you do that. Instead I just gave it a light coating before frying and it adds a nice texture to it.
The key to cooking a good stir-fry is to have everything prepped, chopped and ready to go before you start cooking. They are meant to be cooked quickly and over a very high heat. Who needs takeaway!
The chopsticks are purely
for show for aesthetic purposes. I’m messy with a knife and fork, never mind chopsticks!
Serves 2, generously
- Oil for frying, not olive oil
- 300g of beef, I use striploin or sirloin
- 2 tbsp. of cornflour
- 1 egg white
- 1½ tbsp. of Szechuan peppercorns
- Salt and pepper
- The zest and juice of 1 orange
- 1 tbsp. of runny honey
- 4 tbsp. of soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. of rice vinegar
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2cm of ginger, grated or finely minced
- 1 tsp of dried chilli flakes
- 1 small onion, finely sliced
- 1 red pepper, finely sliced
- 80g of sugar snap peas, trimmed
- 1 medium carrot, cut julienne style – I use a peeler for this
- 2 tsp of sesame oil
To serve – optional:
- Boiled or fried rice or noodles, fresh red chilli finely sliced, fresh coriander leaves, spring onions, sesame seeds or cashew nuts,
- Heat a small non stick frying pan over a medium high heat and heat the Szechuan peppercorns until they are toasted. Pop them into a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and grind to a fine powder.
- Trim and cut the beef into very thin slices.
- In a bowl large enough to take all the beef, whisk together the cornflour and egg white until it has formed a smooth paste. Finely grate and add the orange zest, the ground Szechuan peppercorns and a little salt and pepper. Mix again and then add in the beef slices. Mix it all well together with your hands until all of the beef is coated.
- Heat a large wok or stir fry pan with about 4cm of oil over a high heat. It is ready to use when the oil sizzles if a little of the cornflour mixture is dropped into it. Fry the beef in batches so that the pan is not crowded and the oil does not drop in temperature. Do not stir the beef but use a wooden spoon to stop the pieces from sticking together.
- Turn the beef and remove from the pan with a slotted spoon when browned all over. It should only take a few minutes. Put it on a plate with kitchen paper on it to allow it to drain. When the beef is cooked set to one side. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the oil and put the pan back on the heat.
- Add the finely sliced onion and red pepper and cook for about 2 minutes to take away the raw taste of them. Add the sugar snap peas.
- In a bowl whisk together the orange juice, honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chilli flakes, garlic and ginger. Pour this sauce into the pan with the onions, pepper and peas.
- Allow it to come to a boil and cook the sauce for a minute to thicken it. Add the sesame oil.
- Add the carrots and the beef back into the pan. Cook briefly just to heat the beef through.
- I like to add the rice or noodles into the pan to stir through the sauce but if you prefer you can just plate it on top.
- Garnish with some fresh chilli, coriander and spring onions to add some fresh crunch. Serve immediately although I am reliably informed it tastes good even after cooling to room temperature.