Terry Ott's Nuclear Fire Stir Fry of Death Recipe
- Source: Nobody -- an evolutionary process
- Genre: Asian
- Prep Time: 90 minutes
- Cooking Time: 10-15 minutes
- Servings: 10+
- 2 to 3 lbs of boneless sirloin steak, approx. 1/2 to
3/4 inch thick
- 1 tbsp cornstarch portion, and a separate 1/2 cup
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup soy sauce separated into one 1/4 cup portion and a
1/2 cup portion
- 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 1/2 cup cooking sherry
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 jar of chili oil. I prefer what my friends and I refer to as "Grumpy
Chinese Man" brand which is only available at the local Asian market, but
Dynasty Brand chili oil is quite nice as well and is carried in most major
- Rice wine, separated into 1 tbsp portion and 1/4 cup
- 1-2 tbps of freshly-ground black pepper
- Handful of crushed red pepper
- 4 tablespoons diced fresh garlic, separated into a 1 tbsp
pile and a 3 tbsp pile
- 2 tbsp diced fresh ginger root
- 1 package of fresh stir-fry veggies
(e.g. broccoli, carrots, snow peas)
- 1 can sliced bamboo shoots
- 1 can sliced water chestnuts
- 1 large white onion
- 1 each of green, yellow and red bell peppers
- 1 bundle of green onions
- 1 package of fresh mushrooms (sliced)
- 1 package, fresh bean sprouts
- As many dried hot Asian peppers as you desire (dare?). My local
Asian market sells bags of them under the brand name "SWAD" for
- 1/2 to 1 cup unsalted peanuts or cashews (optional)
- 2-4 tbsp peanut oil (do NOT try to use olive oil, its
lower smoke point puts you at a risk for an exhilarating
- 1/2 cup uncooked rice per serving. I prefer jasmine rice, but
pick whatever you like (I've had very good success with several
kinds, including Basmati). 1/2 cup per serving is overkill, but
that's better than running out of rice.
- Place beef into freezer for 10 minutes; very slightly freezing the
meat makes slicing it much easier.
- Prepare sauce. Mix 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2
cup soy sauce, 2 cups beef broth, 1/2 cup sherry and
1/2 cup water in a bowl. Refrigerate until needed.
- Remove beef from freezer and using a very sharp knife, cut beef into
1 inch cubes. Cut against the grain of the meat with the first cut.
- In a large bowl with a lid, combine 1/4 jar of chili oil,
1/4 cup rice wine, black pepper, crushed red pepper, 1/4 cup
soy sauce, 1 tbsp garlic, 1 tbsp corn starch and beef. Make
sure beef is well-covered by the marinade. Cover marinade
bowl and place in refrigerator for 1-2 hours (more is always
better, overnight is ideal). Shake/stir occasionally to ensure
even coating of the meat.
- Rinse and prepare all vegetables. Do this well ahead of
time to give the vegetables time to dry as well as warm up to
room temperature. If they're cold and wet when they're thrown
into the wok, they don't stir fry as much as steam. That means
they won't be nearly as crunchy as they should be.
- Packaged stir-fry veggies: ensure that everything is
in easy bite-sized pieces, especially the
- Green onions: remove and discard roots. Cut into
- White onion: cut into 1" squares
- Red, yellow and green peppers: cut in half, remove
all the seeds. Cut into 1" squares
- Mushrooms: make sure to keep wrapped until the very
last possible moment
- Bamboo shoots and water chestnuts: drain out
liquid from cans
- Bean sprouts: simply rinse with water
- Dried Asian peppers: leave whole for a
milder impact to food, slice into small pieces
for a much hotter experience
- Put all ingredients within easy reach of the wok. Stirfrying
is done over very high heat, so everything
cooks extremely quickly. You don't want to be scrambling to cut
something at the last minute while the food in the wok
sits there burning.
- Clean and start cooking rice (a surprisingly
difficult step for me to remember for some reason). If
using a rice cooker, I find a 1-to-1 ratio between cups of
rice and water results in the best final product.
- Place a large and very
carbon steel wok on stove. I'd recommend at least a 14" wok to hold
all the ingredients (note: the
Wok Shop in San
Francisco is a great place to find large-diameter, high-quality woks
and all associated implements for very reasonable prices --
and they take web orders).
- Turn on the fan above your stove as high as it will go and
crack at least one window nearby (the fan does very little
unless it can draw in fresh air from outside). It's about
to get very smoky in your kitchen.
- Turn heat to high. I mean high -- the absolute highest
setting your stove offers. When you're using a well-seasoned wok,
you get two huge benefits from getting the wok as hot as you can:
1) your food will taste better; and 2) less food will stick
to the wok. Counterintuitive but true. Let the wok heat until until
the surface begins to gently smoke.
- Drizzle 1 tablespoon of peanut oil onto the sides of the
the wok, letting it drain to the bottom. This method helps to
coat the sides of the wok with oil as well as avoid starting a
grease fire when the cold oil hits the very hot wok. Tip the
wok from side to side to help coat the sides with oil. Let the
oil heat for a few seconds until the edges of the oil start to
- Add beef to hot wok in small batches. Make sure
the batches are small enough that all the meat can sit
comfortably on the flat bottom of the wok without being crowded
(in my wok that is about half a pound of meat per batch).
Be exceedingly careful to not splash boiling oil onto
yourself (hint: tip the bowl away from you). The smoke
will be fairly intense and you may find yourself coughing some
at this point. This is normal and you can take it as a sign
you're doing something right. :)
- Important: Once the meat hits the surface
of the now tremendously hot wok, do not stir it. I know it sounds
scary and wrong, but trust me. Let the meat sit unmolested for 45 seconds
to a minute. This lets the beef start to brown, adding a
tremendous amount of flavor to the final product.
- Once the browning period is over, start stirring/flipping
constantly, making sure to use a wooden or (preferably) bamboo implement --
metal can damage the seasoning of the wok. The very moment the meat has
lost the last trace of its red/pink color, it should be
taken out of the wok and put aside on a clean plate. Any more
cooking will cause the meat to be dry and possibly burned. At
this point the meat is about 80% cooked and will finish cooking
when we add it back in later.
- Repeat the three steps above until all the baches of meat
have been cooked and placed on the clean plate. If there's
some food stuck to the bottom of your wok, don't be concerned.
That's a result of the cornstarch we used and it's entirely
expected. To bring it up (and add a lot of flavor to the
final product), add a small amount of soy sauce just prior
to removing the last batch of meat from the wok. The soy
sauce will deglaze the wok, so use your spatula to loosen the
cooked-on food until the bottom is perfectly smooth again,
then empty the meat onto the plate.
- Turn the heat to just under medium. Put the wok back onto the
burner. Add another tablespoon of peanut oil onto the side of the
wok, and tilt the wok to re-coat the sides. Wait until oil
starts to smoke gently.
- Add the aromatics (2 tbsp ginger and 3 tbsps garlic) into the
oil. Stir constantly until the smell of the garlic and ginger are
released into the air and the garlic just starts to turn a light
- Increase heat to medium-high. Add the prepackaged stir-fry
vegetables, making sure to stir constantly from instant they
touch the wok. After approximately 2 minutes add the white
onion, water chestnuts, and bamboo shoots. Cook for an
additional minute, increase heat to high, and add all remaining
vegetables: green onion, bell peppers, mushrooms, asian peppers,
bean sprouts and peanuts/cashews. Continue to cook until
onions reach a crunchy-but-cooked consistency that the cook is
happy with. If concerned about the food drying out, add a
VERY small amount of water to the center of the wok.
- Reintroduce the mostly-cooked meat back into the wok. Add
sauce into wok, along with chili oil to taste. Bring the
sauce to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. This will cause the
sauce to thicken dramatically.
- Simmer for 1-2 minutes.
- Serve on rice.
- When done cooking, make sure to clean the wok thoroughly. To
clean the wok, use very hot water and a soft sponge or
(if necessary) a non-metallic scrubber. Never use any soap or
scouring pads; these will destroy the seasoning of the wok.
Once clean, do not try with a towel. Simply put the wok back on
the stove on medium-low for a few minutes to dry thoroughly to
prevents rusting. Once dry, take a paper towel and rub a very
light coating of cooking oil onto the entire cooking surface
before putting the wok away.
- 25-Jun-2007: now with a very tasty and thick sauce!
- 12-Dec-2006: now using beef instead of chicken, included
more correct stirfry technique (read: much higher heat)
- 13-Sep-2004: imported recipe from grad school version
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