Basic Beef Stir-fry
This is a good basic recipe for marinating and stir-frying beef that you can adapt according to your tastes and the ingredients you have on hand.
½ pound beef
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons oil for stir-frying
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
½ teaspoon sugar
Cut the beef across the grain into thin strips. Add the soy sauce, cornstarch, and baking soda to the meat, in that order. Use your hands to mix in the cornstarch and baking soda. Marinate the meat for 30 minutes, add the vegetable oil, and marinate for another 30 minutes.
Add oil to a preheated wok or skillet. When oil is hot, add the garlic and stir-fry briefly until aromatic. Add the beef, laying it flat on the wok. Let the meat cook for a minute, turn over and brown on the other side, and then begin stir-frying. When it is nearly cooked through, add the rice wine and sugar. When the meat is cooked, remove from the wok and drain on paper towels.
While stir-frying is normally a hands-on process, when cooking meat it's best to give the spatula a brief rest. Lay the meat out flat in the wok and brown for about thirty seconds before stir-frying.