It started off with 10… and then 20…and towards the end of the cooking time, I added 70 grinds for black pepper into my favourite beef stir fry. After all, it is called peppered beef stir fry for a very good reason ha! So please be prepared for a wrist workout as grinding pepper could not be any more fun knowing you will end up with a plate of tender and juicy beef stir fry with a subtle kick of pepper.
Despite this dish containing 70 grinds of pepper, it isn’t tongue numbingly spicy unless you add some Szechuan peppercorns (and please don’t do that!). Ordinary black peppercorns will do. After all, over here at Fuss Free Cooking, we don’t use fancy ingredients a lot of the time.
Your tastebuds will sense a very slight tingle from the heat of black pepper and since it is a peppery dish, a red capsicum (or a green one) as well as sliced onions are complimentary to this dish. Both of these ingredients need to retain their crispness and therefore they don’t need a lot of time in the pan. Just cook enough to soften their exterior and subdue the strong onion flavour. In terms of seasonings and flavour base, the usual suspects of garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce and the first 50 grinds of black pepper should suffice. I have added a smitch of white vinegar to help tenderising the beef. You can also use lime or lemon juice in replacement of white vinegar if you like. I have also added brown sugar to help with the caramelisation while browning the beef. In Asian cooking, there’s always a balance of sweet and savoury flavours and therefore, you also find soy sauce and brown sugar as part of the ingredient list for the sauce of the stir fry.
So ladies and gentlemen, it’s now your turn to work your pepper mill! Enjoy!
70 Grinds Peppered Beef Stir Fry
What you’ll need for 4 servings:-
- 500g/ 1.7 ounces beef, cut into strips
- Freshly milled black pepper, 50 grinds
- 1.5 tbsps soy sauce
- 1.5 tbsps brown sugar
- 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled & grated (keep the ungrated bits for the stir fry)
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- Cooking oil
- 1 large red capsicum, deseeded & sliced
- 1 brown onion, peeled & sliced
- 1 spring onion (scallion), chopped – as garnish *optional*
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- Freshly milled black pepper, 20 grinds
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsps sesame oil
- 1 tbsp cornflour
Allow time for marination for at least 30 minutes, if time permits
Marinate: In a large bowl, combine the beef, 50 grinds of freshly milled pepper, 1.5 tbsps soy sauce, 1.5 tbsps brown sugar, 1/2 tbsp sesame oil, grated garlic and 1 tsp white vinegar. Mix to combine all the ingredients, cover the bowl with a cling wrap and allow the beef to marinate for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
Sauce: In a measuring jug, combine all the sauce ingredients and whisk with a fork until well combine. Set aside.
Stir Fry: Remove the marinated from the fridge and set aside. Heat a large non-stick stir fry pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, brown the beef in batches until 70% cooked. Set aside on a plate. After you have browned all the beef, add cooking oil and when the oil is hot, add onion and capsicum. Saute until aromatic and the stir in the beef (including the juices) as well as pour in the prepared sauce. Mix all the ingredients until well combined and cook over high heat until the beef strips are cooked through and the sauce thickens. Check for taste, adjust the flavour with soy sauce and brown sugar if required.
Garnish with chopped spring onion and serve with rice immediately.
I have also sauteed a good handful of spinach with a little sesame oil and salt to accompany the peppered beef. Make the sauteed spinach before cooking the beef stir fry so that you don’t have to wash the pan twice.