The most important things when making a stir fry are heat and speed. The oil must be hot enough to cook the ingredients quickly so that nothing turns mushy and any meat you put in doesn’t become rubbery. Woks are ideal for something like this as they concentrate the heat in one area but also make sure that you can move the contents around the pan so everything can be cooked evenly.
Everyone uses different ingredients when they make a stir fry, but for me long strips of carrot and spring onion are essential when noodles are involved. Once they soften, you can twirl them up with the noodles into a delicious ball and eat! If you use rice instead of noodles, I would recommend cutting everything a little smaller – for example cutting spring onions into circles rather than lengthwise into strips. You can also add things like beansprouts for added crunch; peanuts are also a common addition at the end. It should be noted that beansprouts scorch easily at the high temperatures required to make a good stir fry but a way to avoid this is adding them just after the sauce and place them on top of the other ingredients which allows them to steam so they are cooked but still retain their crunchy texture.
In this recipe, I use glass noodles (sometimes called cellophane noodles). These appear transparent when cooked (unlike rice vermicelli which are opaque white) and take on the colour of whatever sauce they are in, so your dish will look beautiful. I am also a fan of standard rice noodles or even stick noodles in stir fry but you have to bear in mind that these are all cooked differently so you have to adjust your timings for the rest of the dish accordingly.
The final things which should be mentioned are the meat and the sauce that you decide to use. The high heat means you can seal the meat to prevent all the juices from leaking out but leave the inside relatively uncooked so that when the sauce is added, the meat can cook as the sauce reduces and coats all of the ingredients. Make sure the sauce isn’t too sweet as the sugar can burn, so if you see the sauce getting a bit thick and starting to caramelise, add a tablespoon of water to make sure everything cooks properly.
To give your stir fry a restaurant finish, add some raw beansprouts to one side, sprinkle over some fresh herbs and thinly sliced spring onions. You can also add some crushed peanuts when making dishes like pad thai. As with most dishes, a little garnish goes a long way so I would always recommend experimenting until you find the method of plating up that looks best to you!
Prep time: 10 minutes (optional extra 20 minutes if leaving the beef to marinade)
Cook time 10 minutes
Cost per portion: around £1.80
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sherry (optional)
2 tsp honey
2 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger
1 bunch of spring onions
1 large carrot
170g frying steak or thinly sliced beef
2 portions of glass noodles
Peel the garlic and ginger and finely chop both.
Stir in the soy sauce, sherry and honey.
Thinly slice the beef and add to the sauce and leave for about 20 minutes (if you have time).
Peel the carrot and then use the peeler to thinly slice the carrot lengthwise into long strips.
Slice the spring onions lengthwise into quarters.
Soak the noodles according to the instructions on the packet but take one minute off the soaking time as the noodles will soften more later – drain the noodles.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan and add the carrot and spring onion.
Once they start to soften, move the carrots and onion to the side of the pan, lift the beef out of the marinade (reserving the liquid for later) and place it into the centre of the pan.
Turn the beef until all of it is sealed on the outside (and it all looks an opaque brown).
The moment the beef is sealed, add the noodles and reserved marinade and stir to mix everything together.
Keep cooking until all the liquid has been absorbed into the noodles.
Serve piping hot and enjoy!
This stir fry also keeps very well in the fridge and can be reheated easily in the microwave.
I hope you enjoyed the recipe and if you fancy a very different dinner, check out my recipe for spinach and ricotta lasagne or if you want to try your hand at a posh dessert, why not make some choux pastry and finish your meal with profiteroles?
Have a good one and I will see you next week with a recipe for an exciting, fancy apple tart.