Yesterday I was taking part in a thread regarding stir frying and it reminded me of this recent two item stir fry. The recipes were Wok Seared Vegetables from Grace Young's Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge
and Crispy Chili Beef
from The Food & Cooking of West China & Sichuan
. The veggie dish was like a course on how to deal with ingredients of different sizes, hardness & consistency. The large asparagus were cut to uniform length and blanched. The hard carrots were cut to a uniform length and julienned. Similar with the celery. These items went on first when it came time to cook them. The mushrooms and tomatoes which were soft were cut to uniform sizes and went on at the very end. The beef dish was the first time I had ever deep fried in my wok and it was eye-opening how little peanut oil was required vs. deep frying in a Dutch oven. The meal was great except for one stupid human trick I pulled. The first thing I did was deep fry the beef because this required a lower temp of 300 for deep frying vs 600 degrees for the stir frying. The beef came out just the way it was supposed to. I brought the wok in to clean it before doing the veggies. After the veggies were done, I brought the wok in to clean it a second time before starting the beef dish. When I was getting ready to pull the wok from the heat I realized I had left the welder's gloves in the kitchen. I had to run in and grab them and the extra 30-45 seconds meant the beef was a little darker and crispier. Not the end of the world, it was still good, but after cooking it perfectly to start I was annoyed I messed up at the end. I now will be sure to look more my welders gloves prior to starting my stir-fry. Onto the pix:
The beef gets marinaded for 20 minutes in rice wine vinegar, salt and superfine sugar
The veggies are cut up and all the ingredients are gathered.
The asparagus are blanched.
Meanwhile 3 cups of peanut oil were heated to 300 degrees in the wok. A candy thermometer helped me keep track of the temps. The beef got fried in small batches. After it was drained on paper towels I held it in a 170 degree oven.
The ingredients for the veggie stir-fry are gathered on a 1/2 sheet pan and are arranged in the order I will use them.
The wok is freshly cleaned and has been heated to 600 degrees to start the veggie stir-fry. The shallots, ginger & garlic go on first...
The asparagus, carrots & mushroom caps went on next...
The tomatoes & additional seasonings went on last and were stir-fried for one last minute.
The ingredients for the Crispy Chili Beef are gathered.
The garlic was fried briefly...
The celery was added and fried briefly...
The beef, Sichuan chili bean paste and all the remaining ingredients went on last. The chili paste amount was 2 Tbsp. The hottest stir-fry I had made to this date used 1 Tbsp. To say this was a hot dish was an understatement!! Thank goodness I had some rice I served it with to help tone down the hotness.
This meal brought me nearly to tears. The Crispy Chili Beef was super hot. The veggies were excellent and this is high praise coming from me, because by nature I am not a veggie lover. All in all this was a fun day, I learned some new lessons and had a great meal for my trouble.