Chinese wok recipes treat heat like an ingredient. High heat. Scary high heat.
In the cooking directions below, we’ve provided indicators on how a wok should act, smell, sound and feel when it is hot enough. When the wok is to temperature, you need to move with alacrity.
Keep a window open. Small children and bald pets need to be kept away from the kitchen. Be brave. It only hurts for a few minutes. At no point is black smoke a good sign.
Garnish with hyssop and the steam will curl with a pale anise flavor. Otherwise, use green onions.
Ingredients
1 lb flank steak, cut in .25″ wide x 4″ long strips against the grain.
Oil for cooking (we use peanut oil for this recipe)
Marinade
2 TBSP soy
1 TBSP white vinegar
1 tsp pepper
1/3 cup sherry or oxidized, oaky white wine
1 TBSP garlic, minced (2 whole cloves)
Sauce
1/8 cup soy
2 TBSP cornstarch
(Add the soy and cornstarch together to make a slury and then add the rest of the ingredients)
1 TBSP sugar (or 2 TBSP hyssop simple syrup)
1 TBSP sherry
1/3 cup chicken stock
To Wok
1 TBSP ginger, minced
1 TBSP garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup shallot, julienned (2.25 oz whole shallot)
3/4 cup julienned vegetable, we used jicama (4 oz prepped)
Directions
Marinate the beef for 2-hours.
Heat a wok or cast iron skillet. If a drop of water evaporates in the wok before you can complete an exhale – the wok it is hot enough. Don’t hyperventilate.
When wok is hot, add 2 TBSP oil and wait for ghost-like whips of smoke.
Add chili peppers, stir.
Add a 1/3 of the beef and stir-fry for up to 45 seconds. The goal is to evenly heat the mass and leave some seared kisses. Remove beef and let rest in a bowl. Cover the bowl with a ceramic plate.
Repeat with the second 1/3 of meat. Hot droplets of steam and oil will prick at your hands as you stir.
By the last batch of beef, the wok may be dry and devoid of oil. If that’s the case, cook the final round . Add the beef to the bowl. Mix. Replace plate.
Immediately add 1 TBSP oil to the wok. Wait for ghost-like wisps of smoke to appear.
Add ginger, garlic and shallots. Stir.
Add vegetables. Coat evenly.
Add beef.
Stir to incorporate and then push the beef to the side.
Add sauce and immediately push the tongs through the sauce as it cooks and evaporates.
Pull meat vegetables through the sauce.
Turn off heat and remove wok from heat.