Wokin’ the Wok: Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
In the world of low and slow barbecue, today would be an opposite sort of day. No pit side lounging, no sipping of a refreshing beverage whilst daydreaming next to a backdrop of swirling, ribbons of smoke. In other words, no lallygagging would be done today. Because while cooking a stir fry over a hardwood fire, you will have, as a cocky jet fighter pilot said many years ago, “A need. A need, for speed” with nary a minute to enjoy your surroundings. Today is a contrast to the barbecue stereotype, serving up a hot and fast, beef and broccoli stir fry, ready in a few minutes. Let’s forge ahead, using a recipe that’s loosely, and I do mean loosely, based on one found here.
I sliced a partially frozen hangar steak as thin as I could, given my lumberjack style knife skills. The tip about having the meat still partially frozen is invaluable, and made the slicing a lot more manageable.
For a quick and easy marinade, I stirred the meat slices into a mixture of equal parts coconut aminos and dry sherry. The recipe calls for soy sauce and shaoxing wine, but hey, we have a pantry at our disposal, not a grocery store, hehe. Use what you have, make the substitutions, and we’ll all be OK.
If you’re interested in trying this, my advice to you is to have all ingredients ready and at arm’s length, including plates and bowls for the finished product. While the meat was marinating, and becoming very tender, I might add, I tended to a very hot wood fire, topped by a cast iron wok with just an ounce or so vegetable oil rolled in to start this stir fry. When ready, toss in the meat, keep it moving, and cook until just a little underdone.
If you’re an old pro with a wok, toss it all in. If you’re not, let’s just say I decided to split the cook in two parts, so as to have a little more control. After setting the mostly cooked beef off to the side, it was a repeat performance with a goodly amount, meaning a bag, of broccoli. Again, still a little on the frosty side. When near done, fish the broccoli out of the wok and add to the beef waiting patiently for a return performance. That’ll happen, but not just yet. Add in bit more oil, and when it’s good and hot, toss in a mixture of garlic, shallots, onion and ginger.
Sauté these flavorizers, (my made up word), until translucent and aromatic, and then it’s everybody in the pool, with the return of the beef and broccoli.
No time to rest now, just keep on stirring. After an energetic and hot 45 seconds or so, it’s time for some sauce, and I don’t mean that drink that you’re thinking about, hehe. The sauce I’m looking for is made from a combination of coconut aminos, dry sherry, oyster sauce, chicken stock, and sesame oil. Dump it on the beef and broccoli, mixing, mixing, and mixing,
until the consistency reminds you of your Grandma’s gravy. You know, bubbling, thick, luscious, and almost mirror-like. Remove everything to a serving bowl, and then, if desired, you can make the obligatory rice, getting the last bit of the stir fry sauce from the wok.
And just like that, in only a few minutes, dinner is served. Extremely tender beef strips, flavored with the oyster sauce, sesame oil, coconut aminos and dry sherry, alongside the contrasting texture of the crunchy broccoli, all over the fluffy, sticky rice base.
Life Is Better Wood Fired