By Andrea Hinchco
Anyone who reads this column regularly will know how much I love to espouse on long slow cooking methods, but often we need a meal in a hurry and it is still too wintery to send the man of the house out to the barbecue. This means heating . While any good fry pan will give good results, I do find my trusty, rusty-looking wok always produces a vastly superior dish.
There are three reasons for that. Its broad surface enables liquids to reduce more quickly; its deep, concave shape makes stir-frying a breeze; and its shape radiates intense heat, transforming the sloping sides into a really hot cooking surface. My favourite is a 36cm carbon-steel flat-bottom wok with a long wooden handle. A flat bottom is essential for modern cook tops because it enables the wok to sit directly on the burner, maximizing the heat in the pan. Carbon steel heats and cools quickly, and like a cast-iron skillet, it forms a natural nonstick patina the more you cook in it.
I seldom use a recipe, so the finished result will depend on what is in the fridge on the day, but I will attempt to put down my methods and rough quantities below. Please use your own ideas as to vegetables, but I do find rump steak the best cut to use.
Andrea’s Week Night Stir Fry
500g thinly sliced rump steak
Heaped tsp cornflour
¼ cup soy sauce
2-3 tablespoons rice wine or sherry
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
2-3 cloves finely chopped garlic
3 stalks celery, sliced and blanched 30 seconds
1 red capsicum, sliced
Sliced red or green chilli to taste
Udon or noodles of choice
I prepare and measure everything out before I begin cooking. You can leave the noodles out and serve on rice if you wish and steamed Chinese greens such as bok choy are also nice as a side dish. Normally though we just heap it into individual bowls and if the weather is really bad outside we will have it in front of the fire. Marinate the beef in a mixture of the soy sauce, wine and cornflour. Heat a little rice bran oil in a hot wok and stir fry the meat, garlic and ginger. This only takes three or four minutes as the beef should be medium rare, any longer and it will start to go tough. Add the vegetables and toss briefly. Finally, toss through the noodles until they are heated and serve. Drizzle with a little chili oil.