Editor’s Note: My first experience with Grace Young’s Cookbook, Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge, led me to enter the delicious world of the wok. I prepared Yang Chow Fried Rice and Beef Broccoli—recipes featured in Grace’s award-winning cookbook.
Although I love and appreciate the flavor and convenience of take-out food, preparing fresh-from-the-wok food was a transformational experience. The textures, flavors, and aromas were like going from black-and-white to full, vibrant color. So, thanks Grace Young for that experience! This recipe also reflects the wonderful fusion of Asian and Latino ingredients and techniques as found in Peru, for example, where woks meet Latino flavors and ingredients for a wonderful taste experience.
Read Related: Stir Fried Beef and Potatoes
Some lessons learned from Grace and from actual cooking with a wok…make sure to have all of your ingredients and supplies at hand and ready to go (mise en place) because once the actual cooking process is underway everything happens very quickly. Also, in my experience, the food cooks much faster so make sure your dining guests are nearby to enjoy the freshest possible dishes.
Serves: 2-3 as a main dish or 4 as part of a multi-course meal
12 oz russet potatoes, peeled and cut into sticks 3 inches long by 3/8 inch wide (about 2 cups)
12 oz lean ﬁlet mignon
2 TSP soy sauce
2 TSP red wine vinegar
3 cups plus 2 TBSP peanut or vegetable oil
1 TBSP minced garlic
¾ TSP salt
¼ TSP freshly ground pepper
1 small red onion, cut into thin wedges (about 1 cup)
1 medium ripe tomato, cut into thin wedges
¼ TSP sugar
1 to 3 TSP aji amarillo chili, seeded and cut into scant ¼”-thick slices
2 TBSP chopped cilantro
- Pat the potatoes dry with paper towels. Line two large plates with several sheets of paper towels. Cut the beef with the grain in half. Cut each half with the grain in half so that you have a total of 4 quarters. Cut each quarter section across the grain into ¼”-thick, bite-sized slices. In a small bowl combine the soy sauce and vinegar.
- In a 2-quart saucepan heat the 3 cups oil over medium-high heat until the oil registers 300°F on a deep-frying thermometer, making sure the tip of the thermometer does not touch the pan. Carefully add the potatoes and fry 3 minutes or until they are tender. Remove the pan from the heat. Carefully remove the potatoes with a metal skimmer and drain on one of the paper towel–lined plates. Then discard the oil- soaked paper towels (because the potatoes sometimes will stick to the towels).
- Reheat the same oil in the saucepan over medium-high heat until the temperature reaches 360°F. Carefully add the same potatoes to the oil and fry until light golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully remove the potatoes with a metal skimmer and drain on the second prepared plate. Then discard the oil-soaked paper towels. Let the hot oil cool before discarding.
- Heat a 14” ﬂat-bottomed wok or 12” skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in the remaining 2 TBSP oil, carefully add the beef, and spread it evenly in one layer in the wok. Cook undisturbed 1 minute, letting the beef begin to sear. Sprinkle on the garlic, salt, and pepper. Then, using a metal spatula, stir-fry 30 seconds, until the beef is lightly browned but not cooked through. Add the red onions and tomatoes and stir-fry 30 seconds or until the tomatoes begins to soften. Swirl the soy sauce mixture into the wok, sprinkle on the sugar and chilies, and stir-fry 30 seconds or until well combined. Add the cilantro and fried potatoes and stir-fry several seconds until the ingredients are combined and the beef is just cooked.