Beef and vegetable chao (Chinese) or stir-fry
is a quick, healthy and delicious dish for the whole family. My own children absolutely love this meat dish made at home. Homemade stir-fry is infinitely more delicious than restaurant stir-fry. The home-made Teriyaki
sauce is also incomparably more delicious than any bottled sauce. I highly recommend trying this wonderful recipe. I am absolutely certain that it will become your home's new "special" recipe, even when your closest friends drop by.
My own source for this recipe is our family's grandmother, who celebrated her 93rd birthday later this year - Aunt Halina Daugirdienė, author of the cookbook "Taupioji cook", the Daugirdas family culinary virtuoso. Back in 1989, I learnt how to make this dish from her. Back then, I remember very well, it was called 'Uncle Jonas' favourite dish' in our family. Well, these days it is my children's favourite stir-fry.
For this dish, the most suitable is a beef hide or any sirloin (steak) cut into strips about the thickness of a finger. But if you want to save money, you can also use pork or chicken.
The choice of vegetables for this dish is truly endless. I myself often use leftover vegetables that are already in the fridge and need to be 'rescued' from getting old. Usually it's onions and carrots that have started to soften, peppers that have started to wrinkle, beans that are drying out, or broccoli florets that are beginning to open. I always have nuts (peanuts, curry or sesame seeds) and canned vegetables (young corn cobs, chestnuts or green beans) in the cupboard when I make this dish - I always stock up on these ingredients ahead of time, because I know that the children will often ask for a stir-fry, and I won't always have the time to search for them in the long shelves of the grocery store.
I always use only very fresh meat in my cooking. When I decide to buy meat for this dish, I always buy one or two fresh vegetables to spice it up. This could be, for example, green onion leaves, soft peas (snow pea
), any mushrooms I like, or any of the above vegetables - whatever is available at the time in the shop where I shop. The more colourful the vegetables used, the tastier the dish becomes. A minimum of 3 types of vegetables should be available.
The essence of this Chinese beef recipe is that all the ingredients are not braised, but fried in very hot oil in a deep, semi-circular Asian-style stir-fry pan (a heavy-bottomed, smooth-bottomed pan will also do). The flame under the pan shall be above medium, almost maximum.
If at any point during the frying process the pan has become full of black particles, remove them and clean the pan with a paper towel. Add a small amount of oil again and continue your frying.
By the time the stir-fry ingredients have been frying in the pan, the homemade Teriyaki sauce should be bubbling in a small pot nearby. I myself am already a "stickler" and can look after both parts of the dish at the same time, so that at the end the two hot things come together perfectly to make an incredibly tasty dish. But if you are making this dish for the first time, I recommend making the Teriyaki sauce in advance, so that you don't have to stress about it afterwards. With experience in making this dish will come dexterity, and after trying the recipe a few times, you will already know your favourite ingredients for this dish and you will be able to indulge your culinary creativity.
Traditionally, beef and vegetable stir-fry is served with boiled rice or boiled rice with egg. The whole dinner (meat and vegetables, rice, sauce) is prepared at once in about half an hour
You will need a stir-fry or a deep, smooth-bottomed, spit-style frying pan, one ladle for draining the wet vegetables, another ladle and a bowl for the fried ingredients, a pair of tongs or a colander for stirring and scooping out the ingredients, and a one-litre or slightly larger pot for cooking the 'Teriyaki' sauce. The yield is approximately 4-8 servings, depending on the variety and quantity of vegetables chosen.