Stir-fried beef is notoriously dry, tough and unpleasant. Not my kinda vibe. Which is exactly why I wanted to come with some easy methods to restore its reputation. Read on for tips on how to cook a beef stir-fry – the best way.
From your slicing technique to your cooking method, there are a few bits to remember, but nothing too difficult. And I promise it’ll be worth it!
My number one tip for how to cook beef stir fry? Start off with something tender to ensure you’re more likely to get yourself a tender result. I like to use cuts such as ribeye, scotch fillet, sirloin, striploin, tenderloin or rump. And yes, they may be slightly more expensive, but trust me: a little goes a long way, especially when you follow the next step…
Steak is made up of long muscle fibres running parallel to each other. They’re naturally tough, but you can make things less chewy by cutting ‘against the grain’ (slices with short muscle fibres are easier to chew). If you cut with the grain, each slice is made up of long muscle fibres that are harder for your teeth to break down.
Cutting slices too thick is another thing to avoid when stir-frying. I like to keep my strips thin so they cook quickly, minimising any stewing situations.
Keep your slices small for the biggest and best flavour.
Next up, let’s give our beef stir-fry the best chance in life by setting it up with a mighty marinade. While all my recipes vary, I find my two secret ingredients really help zhuzh things up.
This helps tenderise the meat and encourage browning.
Cornflour (or cornstarch)
This helps put almost a ‘protective’ layer on the beef, giving it a lovely velvety texture.
Now it’s time to fire up the wok! Get your pan super-duper hot then, when it’s time to add in the beef, spread it out as much as you can. That way, you’re getting as much as possible into contact with the hot surface of the pan. Plus, if it’s all clumped together, that’s when any stewing happens (a big no-no).
Also, as much as you want to, don’t touch it. You want to get a nice bit of sear of that side of the steak because colour = flavour. Once you can see golden gorgeousness, flip everything round the pan, then go in with your vegies before the beef is fully cooked. Otherwise, overcooking it is going to undo all your hard work.
Now all that’s left to enjoy is to serve your most tender beef stir-fry ever with some rice and tuck in!