Thursday, February 6, 2014

Teriyaki Beef Stir Fry

Stir fry is a big favorite in our house. It is a relatively easy, quick, and inexpensive meal, which makes it a great candidate for a busy weeknight dinner.  We have a few different varieties of stir fries that we rotate through; changing up the type of meat and veggies to whatever we have on hand or was on sale at the grocery store.  Sometimes we make the stir fry into more of a lo mien style dish and serve it with noodles but a lot of the time we have it over rice.  I got an awesome rice cooker for Christmas which has made stir fry nights even easier!

Up until we found this recipe, our top two favorite stir fry dishes were chicken lo mien and beef with broccoli or snow peas.  Both of these recipes take between 20 and 30 minutes to make and are absolutely delicious.  I always try to keep the basic ingredients, such as soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic on hand so that whenever we are craving stir fry it is just a matter of picking up the meat and veggies (or if you prefer, skip the meat all together) that we feel like having.

This recipe is just as amazing as our other two favorites, can be extremely customizable, and you might have all of the ingredients on hand already.  I have never really cared for the pre-made teriyaki sauces that you can buy at the grocery store, so I was very excited to find this homemade version and see how simple the ingredients are.  The sauce has a great balance of sweet and salty that compliments the marinated beef and crisp vegetables perfectly.  The quick cooking style of stir fry makes for very easy preparation and develops great layers of flavor as well.  So, even though it is a little bit of prep work to cut all of the ingredients up, the fast cooking time completely makes up for it.  Give this delicious teriyaki beef a try next time you are in the mood for an easy Asian style meal at home!  Don't forget to add those green onion on top to garnish; they add a great pop of flavor and freshness to the whole dish.  

Teriyaki Beef Stir Fry

2 cups cooked white or brown rice
3/4 lb top round steak, sliced very thin
1/2 cup carrots, sliced
1/2 cup snow peas, ends trimmed off
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced thin
2 scallions (green onion), chopped
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper  
Pinch of ground ginger
1 cup teriyaki sauce (1 recipe below) or your favorite brand
1 tbsp cornstarch

Prepare the rice on your stove top according to package instructions or use a rice cooker.  You want to have about 2 cups of cooked rice to serve with the stir fry.  While the rice is cooking, slice the beef very thinly and toss with the soy sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, ground ginger and black pepper.  Let this marinade for a few minutes while you prepare the vegetables.  You can use whatever cut of beef that you like (we have also done flank and flat iron steak) or you could substitute chicken or all vegetables.  

Place the sliced carrots and snow peas in a microwave safe container and add about 2 tablespoons of water to the container.  Cover this with a paper towel and steam in the microwave on high for about 1 minute, 30 seconds.  This will help give these vegetables a head start with the cooking process. 

Heat a large non-stick skillet (or wok) over medium high heat and add a small amount of the canola or another flavorless oil.  Place a single layer of beef in the skillet and cook for about 1 minute before flipping to the second side. You want the beef to start to caramelize and brown but not be over cooked.  Turn your heat up slightly if this is not happening.  Cook for about 1 more minute, remove from the skillet onto a plate, and continue this process until all the beef is cooked.  You may need to add a small amount of oil in between batches.

Make sure your skillet is still nice and hot and, if necessary, again add a small amount of oil to the skillet.  Then add the white parts of the scallions (save the green tops that you cut for garnish) and the bell pepper. Cook this for about 1 minute and then add the par-cooked and drained carrots and snow peas.  Let this cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly. Once the vegetables are cooked but still crisp, add the beef back into the skillet.  Stir the cornstarch into the teriyaki sauce and then add the sauce to the skillet.  Stir everything together and let it cook for 1-2 minutes until the sauce has thickened.  Serve the stir fry over rice and garnish with a sprinkle of the green onion tops.

Note: the quantities above can be easily modified for your taste preferences and are not an exact science.  For example, I do not generally measure out how many cups of each vegetable or how much of each spice that I used so I have provided you with an estimated amount for guidance.


Inspired by A Family Feast

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp mirin (optional)
1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced
1 tsp sliced fresh ginger

Measure the first 3 ingredients into a glass measuring cup and then stir in the sugars and mirin until well combined.  Transfer this mixture to a small saucepan and add the slices of garlic and ginger.  Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat and cook for about 3 minutes stirring occasionally.  Strain the sauce to remove the garlic and ginger pieces and reserve until needed.  The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks or can be frozen for several months. 

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