I took the liberty of measuring all of the ingredients in this recipe. Without exact measurements it’d be pretty hard to get the balance of salty, sweet, sour, and spicy right in this dish.
When you’re making a fast paced dish like a stir-fry, you need to have everything already chopped, seasoned, prepped and ready to be tossed in the pan at a fast pace. Getting “everything in it’s place” is called “mise en place” in French.
So the mise en place for this dish starts with the summer vegetables and the aromatics.
I used 1-2 cups of broccoli, 1 cup yellow squash, a whole cherry bomb pepper (with no seed or ribs), 5 leaves of basil, and what’s called the “Holy Trinity” in Asian cuisine, a mixture of garlic (5 cloves), scallions (2 whole, greens and whites) and ginger (1 tsp).
The mixture of these vegetables gives a great color scheme and contrast, however you could use any mixture of produce that is readily available during the summer. For the spicy factor, a cherry bomb pepper is perfect because it’s not very spicy. It’s fruit in its raw state and when it’s cooked it has a lingering heat but does not overpower the other flavors.
I cut the broccoli into small florets, the squash into half moon about a 1/4 in thick, sliced the pepper, and chopped everything else finely.
*Tip* Chop the basil last or it’ll turn black.
After the vegetables and aromatics were conquered, I moved onto the sauce. It took me many overly salty, overly spicy, etc. tries to find a mixture of ingredients that provides a great balance of salty, sweet, spicy, and sour; Which is imperative in Asian cuisine.
Here’s my recipe for the sauce:
5 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp regular or flavored rice vinegar (I used roasted garlic flavored)
4 shakes sesame oil (Warning: sesame oil can be very, very overpowering! Use LESS than you think you need. You can add more but you can’t take any way. Be careful with this.)
4 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch (this will thicken the sauce and give it the glossiness that Asian food is known for
I seasoned the meat with ground black pepper and a tiny sprinkle of salt to bring out the natural flavor of the beef.
Now it’s time to stir-fry! Keep all of your ingredients close to the stove because this will be a fast paced process.
Start by adding the meat to the pan (On high) with an oil that has a high smoke point (smoke point- the temperature the oil can reach before it starts to burn). The higher the smoke point, the hotter the oil can get. You should use something like canola oil.
Wait, literally a few seconds, then add in your ginger, garlic, and peppers.
The last step is to add in the scallions, basil, and the sauce which will thicken almost as soon as it hits the hot pan.
You’re stir-fry should be done at this point. The meat should be cooked through and the vegetables should crispy tender.