Weeknight Stir Fry Posted by: | April 8, 2010

Today is an awesome day! Not just cause I just had a lipsmackin’ dinner, but also cause I finally own a semi-pro digital camera! All that food blogging has made me realize how much I needed a good camera to do my food justice. And for my budget, I wouldn’t be able to get anything professional from the market. Luckily I got a good deal for an as-good-as-new second-hand Panasonic Lumix LX3! It’s awesome. Though I’m still new to photography, I shall try my best to learn as fast as I can to bring more and more pretty photos of my creations, starting with today, when it will be the first time that I’m posting pictures of my entire cooking process!

So what’s for dinner tonight? I already have the perfect dish to show off its beautiful colors on my camera. A classic Beef stir fry with fresh green asparagus and red, yellow bell peppers! I still think stir fry is the best “fast-food” you can make on week nights. Cooking time is at most 20-30 minutes, with most of the time being chopping and cutting of the ingredients. The actual cooking process is so fast you won’t even have time to dry your sweat (yes I sweat in front of my stove, but only because that bloody stove light emits such hot heat!). At home in Vietnam, we very often have stir fries, either with Beef (my favourite), or with pork, seafood and chicken. There are some classic combination of meat and vege in a Vietnamese stir fry (e.g. beef and french beans, squid and celery & tomatoes etc), however, I find it most fun to experiment and create my own combos. As long as I have a balanced dish of colors, textures and flavours! Such as tonight’s stir fry “mash-up”. This is Vietnamese home food at its best! Get your pen and papers ready, as I am about to reveal my Mom’s secret to making perfect Beef stir fry!

Beef stir fry with Asparagus, Red & Yellow Bell Peppers (Vietnamese Style)

INGREDIENTS (serves 4):

  • 250g flank steak (color should be bright red/pink)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 big handful of thin stalk Asparagus
  • 2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • salt & pepper


1. Cut the beef in really thin slices, about 1mm thick. Make sure your knife is perpendicular to the muscle linings of the meat, so that you cut across these meat linings, and not along them. This way your beef slices will be tender later, and not tough & chewy. This is a trick only my Mom has taught me. And she made sure I always practise it by saying that my future in-laws would laugh at me if I make tough & chewy stir fry beef and make my Mom look bad.  Not that I care about my fictional in-laws so much now, but I really hate to chew tough meat.

2. Chop a clove of garlic and mix it together with the beef in a bowl. Season with salt (half a teaspoon) & pepper to taste. Leave the meat to marinate.

3. Chop the asparagus in the middle. I also slice the lower part of the asparagus into halves (see picture) to help it absorb the flavours better. Slice the red & yellow peppers into thin slices.

4. Heat a wok on high heat with 3 tablespoons of vegetable or corn oil. When the wok is really hot, toss in the beef. It will sizzle like crazy and you should stir the meat around as quick as you can, while separating the lumps of meat that stick together, so that all slices get to come in contact with the wok. As soon as the meat turns brown, while still having light hues of pink left, you should make another quick stir and unload the meat onto a plate. This entire process is at most 5 minutes. It’s important not to cook the meat for too long or else it would turn tough.

5. With the wok still on medium heat, add another splash of oil and toss in the second chopped garlic glove. As soon as you smell the garlic, throw in the asparagus. Stir around and pour in some of the juice/broth that has gathered underneath the beef on the plate. This adds on the sweet flavour of meat into the asparagus. Season with half a teaspoon salt & pepper and splash in about 3 tablespoons of water to help the asparagus soak up the seasonings. Stir for about 3 minutes until the asparagus turns a bit translucent, then add in the peppers. The reason I did not add the peppers together with the asparagus from the beginning is because they cook much faster than asparagus. Also, I wanted them to still remain crunchy & sweet, so we do not need to cook them for so long. Stir the vegetables for about 3 minutes more, season with a bit more salt and pepper if needed, until the peppers are flavorful and cooked, but not soft.

6. Toss in the beef back into the wok and stir everything together for about 1 minute. This will infuse all flavours together and coat the meat with the wonderfully sweet juice from the vegetables. Sprinkle with a bit of pepper just before serving for extra aroma.

That’s it! My mom’s classic style of stir fry, with my own twist to the ingredients. It’s a simple dish that uses very few ingredients, but requires swift action & focus to achieve best results. Everything must be done quickly and just right so that the meat and vegetables do not lose its juice or become tough, soggy. Stir fries are always so satisfying, especially with white rice (I’ve stopped eating brown rice for awhile, decided not to compromise on flavor for the few meals that I do cook rice, haha). Hope you liked my illustrations of the entire cooking process (actually it’s just an excuse for me to show off my new camera, hehe).

Have fun stir-frying soon!


7 Responses to “Weeknight Stir Fry”

  1. Rachel says:

    Hey, who is taking the pics if you are chopping the asparagus? :P

  2. Brownie Monster says:

    Congrats on your camera purchase. And more Vietnamese food recipes please!!

  3. Marie says:

    Congrtas on the new camera! Great, illustrative photos!
    And love your recipe!

  4. tienqueen says:

    definitely better with ur new Lumix LX3

  5. Phuong Do says:

    Love the colors of the dish. It seems like your camera worked quite well ^^

  6. [...] and Juicy. And of course, healthy. I will not post the recipe as the method is similar to any other Vietnamese Stir-Fry I have done. Just remember to stir fry the meat first, then the vegetables and mushrooms, and in [...]

Leave a Reply