Maple Ginger Beef and Vegetable Stirfry with Sambal

I seem to get these creative waves in the kitchen lately and just want to cook, cook, cook and before I know it, I have three or four recipes that I didn’t blog. Do I blog everything I do in the kitchen? Not necessarily. I’ll work some aspect of what I’m doing into a sandwich or something and think it’s a pretty easy concept to understand so I may add that to the bottom of an existing blog. If it’s something I should do as a separate post, feel free to smack me around and tell me to blog more. Or you know, look here for various permutations of things I’m doing oftentimes before I blog it (Insert shameless Instagram plug here).

The most recent thing I did last night was a good old beef and veggie stirfry. Since it’s maple syrup season in many parts of Canada, it’s customary to pour the stuff everywhere!! (not really, it’s just an awesome Canadian stereotype, but parts of Canada go maple crazy about now). So I wanted to incorporate that complex sweetness to a beef marinade for a stirfry. I tend to go with the Grade B or Amber maple syrup most times because it’s bold in flavour and its sweetness has just the right level of background bitterness to compliment it.

The traditional thickener in any good stirfry sauce is corn starch. The best way to know that your corn starch isn’t GMO (if that’s important to you. I tend to try to avoid it when I can), is to buy organic. Yeah, it costs more, but I’m not paying a delivery driver a tip when I make this, so it pays for my fancy corn starch 😉

Maple Ginger Beef and Vegetable Stirfry with Sambal

For the Maple Ginger Marinated Beef:

1/4 cup dark soy sauce

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

Celery leaves from the interior of a head of celery (about 1/4 cup)

300g/12 oz beef ribeye steak, cut into 1 cm (1/2″) strips across the grain (discard any larger bits of fat if it’s a concern)

   In a medium, wide bottomed bowl (or I used a glass lasagna pan), combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, water, maple syrup, ginger, garlic and celery leaves. Lay the strips of beef in the marinade and allow to sit for 20-30 minutes. The salty soy and acidic vinegar will penetrate the thin strips of beef with flavour quite quickly.

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To prepare the beef:

   Preheat a wok over high heat. Add 1 tsp oil and pull the strips out of the marinade with tongs, allowing the excess to drip off as much as possible. Sear the beef on both sides for 45-60 seconds per side. Transfer to a bowl and set aside while you prepare the veggies. Strain the marinade, discard the solid components and reserve the liquid component for the sauce. Don’t worry about having raw meat in it. You’ll be cooking the liquid over very high heat and any risk of pathogens will be killed. Plus, don’t waste flavour!!! 😉

For the Maple Ginger Beef and Vegetable Stirfry with Sambal:

2 tsp oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 medium onion, peeled and sliced

3 stalks celery, sliced

3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

100g/4 oz green beans, tips trimmed then halved

2 medium sweet bell peppers, seeds, stem and core removed, sliced

1 cup cauliflower, cut into 3 cm (1-1/4″) florets and stems thinly sliced (don’t waste the stems, they’re delicious!!!)

2 Tbsp sambal oelek (or your favourite chilli sauce. Yes, you can use Sriracha if you want 😉 )

Reserved seared beef

Reserved marinade

2 Tbsp corn starch + 1/4 cup water

Water, to ease things along the way

   The key to any stirfry is to have all of the veggies ready to go before you even turn on the wok, so have it all sliced and ready so it’s easy to “dump and toss” so to speak.

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Heat a wok over high heat. Add the oil and as it smoulders and just about to smoke, add the garlic and ginger. Stirfry with a quick tossing and shaking motion for no more than 15 seconds. You’ll see the edges start to brown. Add the onions, celery, carrot and cauliflower. Toss quickly, stirring with a large slotted spoon. Add a bit of water if the heat starts to scorch too much. Add half of the sambal and toss to coat the veggies. Add the green beans, sweet peppers, the reserved marinade and another 1/3 cup water. Stir and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes to just cook the veggies enough to take the raw crunch out of them but leave a pleasant crispness.

   Add the reserved beef, the remaining sambal and stirfry quickly to combine. Pull the beef and veggies to one side of the wok. Add the corn starch/water mixture and stir to combine it into the sauce. As it comes to a boil (very quickly at this heat), the sauce thickens. Stir to coat all of the beef and veggies. Serve over rice. Serves 2-3.

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If you’re serving people that aren’t into chilli heat, it’s easy to omit the sambal. The sauce will still be tasty without it, but I love the heat, so it’s there 😉

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