Weeknight Shorts: Crisp Beef

In less time than it takes to grab takeout or have it delivered, you could be enjoying delicious crispy asian beef. The key to getting your beef that amazing crunchy crust? Pat it dry and use a cornstarch coating that will quickly form a fantastic crust when you give it a fry in your trusty wok or frying pan.

And, because now is the season of fantastic produce, make sure you stir-fry some great veggies too. If the addition of grape tomatoes seems a strange item for a stir-fry, give it a try before you decide it's a no-go. I learned this trick from a James Beard Award-winning chef and I will toss little flavor gems like this into any stir-fry that boasts a range of textures and flavors. It will take your stir-fry from mundane to memorable with a simple ingredient and literally a minute or two.

You could also serve this over brown rice or even noodles. I bet it would also be great tucked into lettuce leaves as an appetizer or light dinner. So take a little time (and I mean a little time) and put together a dinner that will have you reaching for your wok again and again this summer!

Crispy Asian Beef

  • 3 T. bacon fat or other cooking fat of your choice
  • 1 lb. beef steak, chopped into strips or small pieces
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 large onion, peeled and sliced into thin wedges
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
  • ⅔ c. teriyaki or other Asian inspired sauce (choose your favorite bottled variety or make your own)
  • 6 oz. grape tomatoes
  • Steamed rice

Heat the cooking fat in a wok or large frying pan. Pat the beef dry with some paper towels, then mix the cornstarch with the salt and pepper and toss the beef in the cornstarch until completely coated. When the cooking fat is hot, add the beef and fry until crispy. Try not to move the meat around too much as this reduces the crispiness you get. It generally takes about 9 or 10 minutes to crisp up the beef, with about 3 or 4 stirrings in that time.

After the beef has been removed from the pan there should still be a little cooking fat left. Turn the heat down a little and add the sliced pepper, onion, and zucchini. Fry for a minute or two (so they're hot but still crunchy), then add the garlic and ginger. Fry for an additional minute before adding the sauce of your choice and the grape tomatoes. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil, then add the beef back in. Give it a stir and heat through for 1 minute. Once it is bubbling and thick, serve the beef mixture with steamed rice.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 25 minutes