(CU Independent/Ana Faria)
Tantalize your taste buds with this tasty steak and veggie stir-fry.
Serves three to four.
1 head bok choy (Chinese cabbage)
Handful (about 1 cup) sunflower or bean sprouts (optional)
1 yellow onion
5 cloves garlic
1 flank steak
½ to 1 cup teriyaki sauce
3 stalks celery
½ can sliced water chestnuts (drained)
2 tbsp sesame oil
4 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
½ cup water
Plain white rice
Cookware: Vegetable peeler, Wok or large skillet, Cutting boards, Sharp knife, Sealable plastic bag, Wooden spoon, Measuring cup, Measuring spoons
This recipe is one that should be started at least two hours before, as the meat needs an hour minimum to marinate.
When choosing meat for this recipe, it is not essential that flank steak be used. Any reasonably priced, thin-cut steak works well for this recipe. When choosing meat, make sure that it has a bright-red color without excessive blood in the packaging or dark, bruise-like spots. If in doubt about a cut of meat, ask the grocery store’s butcher. Most are happy to help and can even offer cooking tips.
If steak is too expensive, two chicken breasts can be used instead. Chicken will be done when the juices run clear and the chicken has turned white in color.
Crush three cloves of fresh garlic. To do this, place the clove under the flat part of the knife and press down. The peel should crack and come off easily. Slice off both the ends from each clove and chop roughly.
Place the meat it in a plastic bag. Sprinkle garlic over the meat in the bag. Pour in ½-1 cup of the teriyaki sauce. If it is a smaller cut of steak, use less sauce; if larger add more. The intention is to cover the steak in sauce so that the flavor can be absorbed during the marinating time. Seal the bag and make sure the sauce covers the meat by squeezing and manipulating the bag.
Be aware of what the teriyaki sauce tastes like. Some brands are sweet with very little bite, while others tend to be salty. It is important to know what the chosen sauce tastes like so the salt taste is controlled. Adding too much soy sauce to an already salty dish can ruin it.
Place in refrigerator for two to 12 hours. The longer the meat marinates, the stronger and better the flavor will be. Just be sure you cook it before the ‘best before’ date on the meat’s packaging.
When the meat has marinated for at least two hours, take it out of the plastic bag and slice into bite-sized strips. Cutting the meat in advance will make cooking quick and simple.
At this time, prepare rice according to package directions. Due to the 20- to-30-minute cook time for rice, it is important that it begins to cook first.
Peel the carrots with a vegetable peeler and cut off the ends before cutting into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
Next, wash and chop the celery. Chop off the leafy end at the top of the celery and the wide, pale portion at the base. This should leave about six inches of celery stalk to work with. Slice the stalk lengthwise (top to bottom) and then chop into bite-sized pieces. Repeat with remaining celery and set aside.
To peel the onion, first cut off both the rooted end and the top portion. Next, run the knife’s edge across the first layer of onion perpendicular to the cut ends. This should release the first layer and let it peel off easily with the skin, leaving a perfectly peeled onion. Cut in half and chop both halves, making sure to separate any pieces that are stuck together. Set aside.
Wash the bok choy briefly under cold, running water. Using a sharp knife, chop the bundle of bok choy, starting at the leafy head and finishing where the stalks begin to turn white. Again, bite-sized pieces are preferred. The white, hard portion could be chopped and added to the stir-fry, but it takes much longer to cook than the leafy, green portion, which is also tastier. For this recipe, the white stalks should be discarded.
Crush, peel and chop 2 cloves of fresh garlic.
Now that the vegetables are chopped, it’s time to start cooking.
Place the wok on a burner over medium-high heat and add 1½ tbsp of sesame oil to the bottom of the pan. This is approximately three turns around the pan. Next, add one tbsp vegetable oil. This is approximately one quick turn around the pan. A turn around the pan is when the oil is poured from the bottle into the pan in a circular motion.
Add chopped fresh garlic. When the garlic begins to sizzle and pop, it is time to add meat.
Cook the meat for approximately eight minutes or until cooked thoroughly. Stir occasionally. Due to the wok’s shape, it is important to make sure the meat moves around the pan.
Do not be afraid to pull a piece out and cut it in half to determine if it’s thoroughly cooked. The meat is done when it’s turned a dark, grayish-brown color. Some pans will give the meat a nice golden sear on top of the brown color, which is simply the sugar from the teriyaki sauce caramelizing.
When the meat is finished, put it aside in a bowl and return the wok to the burner. Add one tbsp of sesame oil and two tbsp of vegetable oil. Add the chopped onions. Cook for approximately four minutes. Stir occasionally.
Since the pan was not cleaned between cooking the meat and the vegetables, the vegetables will pick up some traces of the meat leftovers from the pan. It is not a problem, as everything will come together in the end.
When the onions have begun to turn a pale, translucent color with gold on the edges, add both the celery and the carrots. Continue cooking and stirring for another four to five minutes. Add the bok choy, sunflower sprouts and a half-cup of water. Cook and stir until the bok choy wilts and the water steams off. The water is intended to help the bok choy cook down and wilt properly.
When the bok choy is wilted, add the sesame seeds, garlic powder and soy sauce. Stir.
If the teriyaki sauce used is very salty, reduce soy sauce to one tbsp.
Return the cooked meat to the vegetable mix. Add the drained water chestnuts. Stir.
To plate, simply spoon the cooked rice onto a plate and put the stir-fry on top.
If desired, half a cup of peanuts can be added at this point.
If a bit of class is desired, use a small bowl to mold the rice. First, rinse the bowl in cold water. Do not dry it. The wetness in the bowl prevents the rice from sticking. Pressing the rice down into a compact mass, fill the bowl until satisfied. Place the plate on top of the bowl and turn both the bowl and plate over. When correctly done, the bowl should lift off of the rice leaving a nice, compact shape on the plate.
Serve and enjoy. For a sweet and fun way to end this meal, purchase fortune cookies and distribute these among those served. As the meal finishes, read out the fortunes and enjoy the cookies.
This Asian-inspired meal is one designed to please. The effort comes from the prep, but has a relatively simple cooking method that anyone can accomplish.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Ana Faria at Ana.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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