Asparagus Beef Stir Fry Recipe and Tips for Stir Fry Success
Learn how to make this Asparagus Beef Stir Fry as well as some general stir frying techniques to make your stir fries taste amazing.
Learning How to Cook in a Chinese Kitchen:
Before I could learn how to make asparagus beef stir fry, my mom took the time to teach me how to make a stir fry in general. One of my first Chinese cooking lessons from my mom is that there are no recipes, no measuring spoons, and everything is prepared by memory. If one learns some basic rules and techniques, one could make almost anything.
I was probably about 5 or 6 when I was tall enough to see what’s on the counter and my mom taught me how to marinate meat for stir fries. She had a small amount of sliced meat in a cereal bowl. Swirl the soy sauce two times around the bowl, a sprinkle or two of sugar, a sprinkle of salt, a dab of oyster sauce, and a small scoop of corn starch and mix.
As I grew taller (so I can see and reach around the stove better) and stronger (so I can safely handle the frying pan), I learned how to stir fry. Heat up the frying pan, add oil, add aromatics, add meat, stir fry until browned on all sides (80% cooked if beef or chicken, 95% cooked if pork), scoop the meat into a clean plate, add a tiny bit more oil and stir fry the veggies until the color brightens up and add the meat back in and stir fry until until the meat is cooked and hot again. Maybe add a sauce for additional flavor.
Tips for Stir Fry Success:
- Cook too much at once or in a pan that’s too small and you will end up with a stir-braise. No need to look that up, it’s just my made up phrase for what happens when stir fry ingredients are too crowded, the juices run out and the food ends up being braised in their own juices. Don’t double recipes unless you cook with two pans on two burners or cook in batches.
- Cut the meat into even bite-size pieces so they will cook evenly. Cut the harder to cook veggies (carrots, green beans, etc.) into smaller pieces and add delicate, quick to cook vegetables later (spinach, celery, etc.).
- Always heat up your frying pan or wok. Otherwise, you won’t be able to sear the meat and the yummy juices will leak out and you’ll end up with a stir-braise.
- Make sure your pan or wok is a dry otherwise the oil will splatter on you, your stove top, your floor, your counter, etc.. Shake or spin dry your veggies.
- Some recipes direct you to clean out your frying pan or wok before stir frying vegetables. I think that is a tremendous loss of flavor. The additional time spent washing and reheating the pan will also slow you down.
- Oops, you ended up with a stir-braise? You can thicken up the sauce after you combine the meat and veggeis by adding 1 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water. Stir the cornstarch mixture in and the sauce will thicken up nicely. Be sure to use cold water otherwise you’ll end up with lumps of cornstarch.
- Oops, you added your final cornstarch mixture and it immediately congealed into a shiny sauce glob? No problem, add a tablespoon or two of water, give it a stir, and the sauce will loosen up.
Asparagus Beef Stir Fry Recipe!
I started thinking about this post at the beginning of spring when asparagus first arrived in stores. In fact, I started on March 22, which is when I wrote a little post on how to buy and slice beef!
I was able to buy some super squeaky asparagus with compact heads this week, so it’s still not too late to share my recipe for Asparagus Beef Stir Fry. Asparagus Beef is so delicious over rice or noodles. You can enjoy the pure beef and asparagus flavors simply or with a touch of black bean sauce OR sesame oil.
You could also substitute chicken or pork instead of beef but I think chicken or pork will taste better with a little more flavor such as a flavorful cornstarch slurry at the end (1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon water/chicken broth), black bean sauce, or sesame oil.
If you need help figuring out which stir fry ingredients to use, be sure to check out what’s in Nut Free Wok’s cupboard for more information.
This recipe as written is free of peanuts, tree nuts, egg, dairy, fish, shellfish.
Asparagus Beef Stir Fry Recipe
Asparagus is in season during the spring, make this easy stir-fry using some of the stir-fry success tips that I share in the blog post.
- 12 oz beef flap steak
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or alternative
- 1 tablespoon rice wine or mirin
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- 1/2 garlic powder or 1 minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of asparagus 1 1/2 pounds if the bottoms are pale
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or canola
- 1 teaspoon black bean sauce optional
Slice beef along the grain into strips (approximately 1.5-2 inches wide), and then slice the strips into bite size pieces about 1/4 inch thickness.
Mix the beef with the soy sauce, rice wine, cornstarch, garlic powder (or minced garlic), and sugar and set aside to marinate at least 15 minutes.
Snap off any tough, woody (pale white sections at the bottom) ends of the asparagus and wash. Cut the asparagus into 1 1/2 inch long pieces diagonally and set aside until ready to start cooking.
Heat up frying pan or wok on medium high heat until it is very hot and a drop of water sizzles. Add olive oil to pan and swirl to coat.
Add beef and spread out into a thin layer, allow to sear for 30 seconds to 1 minute and then stir fry until all sides are browned. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beef to a clean serving dish.
Add the asparagus to the frying pan and stir fry for 1 minute. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water (you should hear a sizzle) and immediately cover with a lid for 2 minutes. Uncover, if the asparagus still looks dull green, cover again for another minute.
If the asparagus looks bright green add the beef back in with black bean sauce (optional) and stir fry until the mixture is hot and the beef is cooked.
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