One of the easiest things to prepare in the kitchen is a stir-fry! Today, it is even possible to buy packaged ‘stir fry vegetables’, taking away the chore of cutting everything up in evenly sized pieces so they cook through the way they should.
I still like to pick my own stir-fry vegetables, and make up my own combinations based on what I have on hand, what looks good at the produce department, and what – in most cases is Asian inspired – ingredients I’m craving. I usually crave cashews or water chestnuts, but this time, it was peanuts!
5-Spice Powder is a mainstay of Chinese cooking and is a combination of cinnamon, clove, fennel seed, anise and Szechuan pepper. Don’t let the Szechuan pepper scare you … the combination is really flavorful and not “hot”. I’ve used it in cookies on occasion to give them a different taste and people have tried to figure out the secret! Note that the rest of the spices are ‘sweet’ spices.
I make brown rice or a combination of brown and wild rice (did you know that wild rice is NOT rice at all??? It’s a grass!) It has protein, fiber, B vitamins and makes a wonderful base for this tasty dish!
5-Spice Beef Stir-Fry
- 1 boneless top sirloin, trimmed of extra fat, about 1 lb. after trimming
- 2 Tbsp. light soy sauce
- 3-1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch, divided
- 3 Tbsp. walnut, almond or vegetable oil (Light olive is OK) divided
- 4 medium carrots, cut into matchstick-sized pieces (about 2 cups)
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into chunks
- 1 c coarsely chopped onions
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you want it)
- 1-1/2 c water
- 4-1/2 tsp.packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tsp. beef bouillon granules
- 1 tsp. Chinese 5-Spice Powder
- 3 c hot, cooked rice
- ½ c honey-roasted peanuts
Cut steak in half the long way(with the grain), then crosswise (against the grain) into thin strips. Place been in non-reactive bowl. Combine soy sauce and 2 Tbsp. cornstarch in small bowl. Pour soy sauce mix over beef; toss to coat all the beef strips well, and set aside.
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil for 1 minute in a large non-stick skillet or wok, over high heat. Add carrots Stir-fry 3 to 4 minutes until edges begin to brown. Remove carrots and set aside. Reduce heat to medium high.
To same pan, a 1 Tbsp. oil, both red and yellow peppers, onion and red pepper flakes. Stir-fry about 4 minutes or until onions are translucent. Remove vegetables and set aside separately from the carrots.
Add remaining 1 Tbsp. oil to same skillet. Add half of the beef and stir-fry 1 minutes until beef is just barely pink in the center Remove beef to large bowl and repeat with remaining beef.
In small bowl, combine water, brown sugar, bouillon granules, 5-Spice powder and remaining 1-1/2 tsp. cornstarch. Stir until smooth,. Add bouillon mixture, bell peppers and onion to skillet and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly for 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Toss carrots with hot, cooked rice and place on serving platter or in bottom of large, serving bowl. Spoon beef and peppers mixture over rice, sprinkle with peanuts and serve hot.
Makes 4 servings