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Beef Stir-Fry

I love stir fry. Most of the cooking is prep work; very little time is spent cooking the food as it sears quickly over high heat. Your meal is ready to eat in under a half hour; what’s not to love about that? Beef-stir fry is a favorite of mine; the kick of heat, the delicious, sweet thick sauce that gets trapped in the tender crisp broccoli, the tender beef- yum! 

My secret ingredient in most of my stir -frys is kecap manis; it is an Indonesian sweetened aromatic soy sauce, very dark in color and thick and syrupy. It almost has a molasses-like quality due to the amount of palm sugar used to make it. It is made from a fermented paste of boiled black soybeans, roasted grain, salt, water and Aspergillus wentii molds, to which the aforementioned palm sugar is added. It is often enriched with spices, including star anise, cinnamon, black pepper, coriander and clove. It is very similar to Chinese sweet bean sauce, but I can purchase this more easily. I think it helps give a depth of flavor and lovely sweetness to any stir-fry, but it tastes particularly good with beef.

Try this stir-fry instead of take-out next Friday night. Serve it with some rice, or for the lazy chef, vermicelli rice noodles, which only need a quick soaking in boiling water. You’ll be devouring your dinner before your take-out could even be delivered! 

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons kecap manis
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1 1/12 tablespoons sesame oil
3 garlic gloves, mixed or granted
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon Sriracha
healthy pinch of red pepper flakes
freshly cracked black paper
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon oil (safflower, grapeseed, or peanut)
1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced against the grain 
1 head of broccoli
3 medium carrots, sliced into thick rounds
sesame seeds
green onion, sliced

to serve:
Vermicelli rice noodles

In a large bowl, mix together the soy sauce, stock, honey, vinegar, fish sauce, kecap manis, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, Sriracha, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and cornstarch. Set it aside.

Put your wok over a burner on high heat. Add your flavorless oil and thin strips of flank steak. Cook until browned, flip and brown the other side. This will take about 3 to 4 minutes. 

Add in the carrots and sauce, cooking until the sauce comes to a simmer, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add your broccoli and cook until tender-crisp and the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. 

Serve over vermicelli rice noodles that you prepared according to package instructions. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onion slices. Enjoy!


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