A recipe for beef, shiitake, and snow pea stir-fry from the October 2010 issue of Bon Appetit caught my eye for a quick weeknight dinner over steamed brown rice. But I immediately recognized some flaws in its design. Five tablespoons of hoisin sauce seemed excessive (I don’t need my beef to be that sweet) and stir frying with sesame oil violates the number one rule of Chinese cooking Dad taught me: Use sesame oil for seasoning, not frying. Sesame oil is strong and tends to overpower everything if used liberally. Furthermore, it is less stable at high heats than canola and peanut oils. Every Chinese chef knows his/her number one priority is the essential “wok qi,” a blazing hot wok that can maintain its oil temperature. The second priority is keeping the stir fry items organized. Stir-frying is a quick process, so do all the prep work ahead of time and when that wok is hot and ready to go, have everything lined up in order. Drizzle sesame oil near the end of cooking to season, its flavor is at best when not overheated.
Below is my revised version of the recipe. My choice to use snap peas in place of snow peas was completely trivial (the snow peas looked especially sad and wilted at the store that weekend).
Recipe yields 4 main dish servings
1 lb sirloin steak, sliced into 1/4 inch thick pieces (about 2 inches long)
1 tbsp canola, peanut, or vegetable oil
1/2 tbsp minced or grated ginger
12 oz Shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced about 1/4 inch thick
12 oz snow peas, tough ends snipped
2-3 green onions, sliced (white and light green parts only)
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp mushroom flavored soy sauce (or 1 1/2 tbsp regular soy sauce)
2 tsp chili garlic sauce
1/2 tsp five spice powder
1 tsp sesame oil
salt and pepper
- Sprinkle beef slices with salt and pepper.
- Heat canola oil in wok over medium high heat. Add ginger and mushrooms, stir fry until mushrooms are tender, about 3 minutes.
- Add in beef, green onions, and snap peas, stir fry until beef is brown around all edges (but still pink in center), about 1-2 minutes.
- Add in hoisin sauce, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, and five spice powder. Stir-fry 2-3 more minutes or until the thin skin on the snap peas is just starting to wrinkle (tender but still crisp).
- Drizzle with sesame oil and serve over steamed rice.
Per main dish serving (not including rice)
as calculated by Sparkpeople Recipe Calculator
Calories 369 | Fat 14g | Cholesterol 101mg | Sodium 658 mg
Carbohydrate 21g | Dietary Fiber 5g | Sugars 9g | Protein 39g
Vitamin A 21% | Vitamin B-6 31% | Vitamin B-12 54% | Vitamin C 50%
Vitamin E 5% | Calcium 6% | Iron 33%