On busy days, I wear a frown by late afternoon. It’s that small stretch of time between kitchen prep for dinner and sitting at the table that gets me all stressed out. If my work schedule is hectic, dinner is the last thing on my mind. The reality of it creeps up once the clock strikes 4 pm.
A stir fry dish has always been a favorite dish that’s quick to cook. The ingredients would depend on what I have in the refrigerator. I like to cook all-in-one meals like this Beef Stir Fry with Mushrooms, Tofu and Green Beans. There is also just one skillet to clean up after dinner.
I’ve mentioned before beef is an expensive ingredient in the Philippines and in Asia. Through the years, Asian cooks have devised ingenious, crafty ways to cook and extend the beef. We have learned to make the most of limited quantities or expensive cuts. We can multiply a dish into large amounts to feed more people.
Aside from mom’s old recipes, I’ve always depended on cookbooks to guide me through a dish. I learned that stir fry beef dishes use these cuts: chuck roast, chuck steak, flank steak, top rump, round steak, beef tenderloin, sirloin. Now that we live in America, I have the small luxury of a variety of beef cuts to choose from. And if a special cut is on sale, then that determines what we are having for dinner.
A basic stir fry starts with heating a skillet or a wok and the oil in it. Then the seasonings are added: garlic, onions, ginger. These are then added in this order: meat, liquids, and vegetables.
My mom, cookbooks and years of cooking taught me that when beef is added to the hot oil; the thin slices should be tossed quickly and efficiently around the skillet for no longer than 2 minutes. The beef will lose its redness and turn to brown. The beef is removed from the skillet or pan briefly, while the liquid seasonings are added. After the liquid flavors have blended well, the vegetables are stirred in. The greens cook quickly and soon after the cooked beef strips are returned. Fragile ingredients like tofu even though extra firm should be added last and left alone so the pieces do not crumble. To mix the tofu with the ingredients, I shook the skillet. The savory aromas of the ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil floated freely. The veil of steam from the stir fry dish rose and engulfed me.
I shook the pan with a smile. Dinner was done. It was time to sit, relax, eat and give thanks for the nice day we just had.
Beef Stir Fry with Mushrooms, Tofu and Green Beans
- large skillet or wok
- 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil divided, use 2 Tablespoons for tofu, rest for stir fry
- 1 whole (14 oz.) , extra firm organic tofu
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 whole medium-sized onion sliced
- 2 stalks scallion whites chopped,
- 1 knob (1-inch piece) fresh ginger peeled, sliced in thin strips f
- ½ pound beef sirloin lean cut, slice thin in 2-inch length
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 cup button mushrooms
- 2 cups sliced green beans cut in 2-inch pieces
- 2 Tablespoons xiao xing rice wine
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ cup water to mix with cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper powder
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- steamed rice
- To pan-fry tofu: In a large, non-stick skillet add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Turn the heat to a medium high. When oil is hot enough, in about 1 to 2 minutes, add the extra firm block of tofu. Brown the tofu on each side for about 3 minutes. Turn the tofu block only once. When both sides are brown, remove tofu from skillet. Drain on parchment paper to remove excess oil. Cut in large 2-inch cubes. Set aside.
- To stir-fry: Using the same skillet, add a tablespoon more of vegetable oil if needed. Over medium high heat, add the garlic, onions, scallions and ginger. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the beef strips. Stir fry around the skillet and cook for 2 minutes till the red parts turn to brown. Remove the beef slices and set aside in a small bowl.
- To the same skillet, over a lower medium heat, add the broth, the mushrooms and green beans. Cover and cook vegetables for about 6 minutes.
- Pour the liquid seasonings of rice wine, soy sauce. Return the cooked beef strips.
- Separately, in a small bowl mix the cornstarch and water till blended. Into the skillet, pour the cornstarch mixed with water. Over medium high heat, the liquid mix will boil and become thick. This should take about 3 minutes. Season with sesame oil, salt and black pepper powder.
- Add the tofu cubes and while holding the skillet handle, shake the pan so the ingredients mix well. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired. Serve while piping-hot with boiled rice.
- Cook’s comments: This is a base recipe for me. I cook this with different vegetables in season and the results are just as delicious.
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Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe?I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot by Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino. I also have more classic recipes inspired by my mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
Copyright Notice: Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE my original recipe, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog AsianInAmericaMag.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]