A stir-fried mix of beef and vegetables is very easy to make. However, the key to making this a great dish is a good brown garlic-ginger sauce. For years, I enjoyed the complex flavors of this type of sauce in restaurants and wanted to duplicate it at home. I tried a lot of recipes and then started experimenting because the ginger flavor was never right. This recipe has a good balance of garlic and ginger and reminds me of a similar dish at my favorite Chinese restaurant. I’ll share with you the type of ginger and other tips I discovered when making this dish.
Use a Hot Wok
- Cook in a wok. Unlike traditional skillets, a wok has very high sides that heat up. When cooking, you can pull meat and vegetables up on the sides for a larger cooking surface.
- Use a very hot wok. For me, this was tricky because once I heated a wok too hot and started a grease fire! I learned to have a big lid very close by – just in case!
- Sear the meat quickly and don’t overcook it.
Use a Wok on a Grill
- Try cooking with a wok on a grill. I have a wok for cooking on a hot charcoal grill. This method has produced the best results because the temperature is very high and sears the meat. I recommend using a charcoal grill rather than a gas grill because charcoal will get much hotter.
- Cook the meat and vegetables in small batches. Even though a charcoal grill will get the wok very hot, it is still necessary to cook in small batches. Inside, where you might not be able to get the wok as hot, cooking small batches helps to keep the pan from cooling too much and having to recover its heat.
Use a Paste Ginger
- I used to buy fresh ginger and peel and grate it, but surprisingly it didn’t add that much flavor to this dish. I just couldn’t taste the ginger and the restaurant dishes had an intense ginger flavor that the garlic didn’t smother. Then I tried fresh paste ginger (shown below) and it made the biggest difference in the taste of this dish!
- Use a lot of ginger! This recipe adds enough ginger to match the garlic flavor so you can taste both flavors.
- Use pre-minced garlic from a jar. It is not quite as strong as fresh garlic, but it works fine in this dish.
- Cut up the vegetables ahead of time and store them in individual plastic bags or containers. Sometimes I cut them the day before.
Leftovers from this recipe save well in the refrigerator. To reheat, stir in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
Substitute chicken for beef in this recipe or use both chicken and beef.