I cooked this the other evening especially for my son. He was going to be getting braces the next day and I told him he should have something special, something that would perhaps be difficult to tackle for a while (at least until he got used to having gobs of metal in his mouth!). This is what he wanted: chewy beef and stick-in-your-teeth rice!
I don’t cook beef very often because in the united States it is a very expensive option if you want to go organic. Grass-fed organic beef for a stir-fry can be upwards of $9 per lb so the meat for this dish could cost $18 alone which I think is a waste of money for 1 meal. However, because this was for a special meal I decided to work something out without making myself feel the guilt of being wasteful (especially for a cut of meat that was mass-produced, and hormone-injected!). I bought the cheapest cut of organic beef (which for about 2 lbs cost $10.85) and cut it very thin. It was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. All it needed was a little marination and quick, high-heat cooking!
There is definitely a lesson here: go with a better quality, healthier choice and make it work! This whole meal for 6 was truly amazing and only cost about $2.50 per person (that’s including all the ingredients and fuel cost). I grew up in a place where stretching food and making the most out of what was available (money and food) was very important, and this has come in very handy indeed! Hopefully it will rub off on the next generation.
You will need:
for the beef:
Oil for frying (vegetable or olive oil)
2 lbs beef, thinly sliced bite-sized pieces (I actually used beef that was more for stew than stir-fry but cut it ultra-thin and it worked great. That way I was able to afford organic grass-fed beef as opposed to a better cut of hormone-filled stuff!)
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbs sugar
for the rice:
oil for frying (olive or grapeseed oil)
2 cups basmati rice, rinsed and cooked according to stove top method OR 3 cups using rice cooker measure and rice cooker method.
1 small onion, diced
1 bright yellow squash, diced
1 zucchini, diced
8 to 10 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 sprigs thyme
1 – Put chopped beef in a bowl. Mix the soy, mirin, sesame oil and sugar in a bowl and pour over the beef. mix everything together very well and place in the fridge while you prepare the Summer Rice.
2 – Prep veggies and cook rice according to instructions. There is no need to keep the rice warm. You can even use leftover rice from another meal but remove it from the fridge right when you begin to prepare this dish (takes the chill out!).
3 – Time to cook the beef: Put large saute pan on high heat and add 2 tbs of oil (veggie, grapeseed or olive). When it is hot cook the beef in batches making sure not to crowd the pan. It will cook faster if you cook smaller amounts. Remove to a plate as you go and add more oil in-between batches. The beef will cook in about 3 or 4 minutes per batch. Cover beef with foil and keep warm in very low oven until time to serve.
4 – Put large saute pan on medium heat (you may have to clean out the pan you just used!) and add 2 tbs of olive oil. Add the onions and cook for about 3 minutes before adding the mushrooms. Cook for another 5 minutes.
5 – Add more oil, turn heat up to medium/ high and add the herbs, zucchini and squash. Cook until the squash takes on little brown bits (about 6 or so minutes)
6 – Turn heat down and add the rice. Stir everything together and cook until the rice is hot. Turn off pan or keep on lowest heat setting to keep warm until time to serve.
Divide rice between bowls or plates and top with plenty of beef and a drizzle of the accumulated juices.
It is also nice to have some soy sauce, mirin (or equal parts of both mixed together) and hot sauce on the table for extra seasoning!