It’s hard to produce a savoury Chinese meal without soy sauce, and although in fact Japanese, Kikkoman is usually the name that springs to mind for soy condiments. I’ve found a lovely recipe for Chilli Beef & Mushroom stir-fry (see below) that will make a delicious family meal. 2021 is the Chinese Year of the Ox, so the perfect excuse for a tasty beef stir-fry. The recent zodiac years of Ox sign are 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021, 2033…An Ox year occurs every 12 years. You can find out more about the various Chinese years and what they mean on the link here
Chinese New Year is the perfect time to opt for fast, fresh cooking. Stir-fries are incredibly simple, but here are a few tricks of the trade to ensure success every time:
Use a wok rather than a frying pan. The shape gives you intense heat at the base and gradually less as you move up the sides. Go for carbon steel as non-stick coatings cannot conduct the high temperatures needed for stir-frying
Get the oil in the wok smoking-hot before adding food. Use vegetable or sunflower oil for stir-frying, and sesame oil to flavour the food towards the end of cooking
Cut all the food into similar sized pieces for even and speedy cooking and blanch vegetables like leeks, mangetout and corn before stir-frying. It helps keep their colour and crispness
To achieve authentic egg-fried rice, cook the eggs first in the wok, then add the cooked, cold rice. That way you’ll get small pieces of egg separate from the grains of rice
Make sure you have a top-quality soy sauce that will not overpower the other ingredients. And unlike some other soy sauces, Kikkoman contains just four ingredients – soybeans, wheat, salt and water – and no additives whatsoever.
The company makes a range of different sauces and to make this Chinese New Year meal really sizzle, you could use its Teriyaki Stir-fry Sauce with Toasted Sesame or with Roasted Garlic. At the end of cooking, pour straight from the bottle into the wok, stir for a minute and serve,
Chilli Beef and Mushroom Stir-Fry
350g beef steak, sliced into strips
3 tablespoons Kikkoman soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 red chilli, deseeded and very finely chopped
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
200g mushrooms, sliced or left whole if small
125g tenderstem broccoli
2 heads of baby pak choi, shredded
75g bean sprouts
In a dish, mix together the soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil and chilli, add the steak and mix until they are well coated. Cover the dish with cling film and leave in the fridge to marinate for an hour.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok or large frying pan. Lift half the steak from the marinade and stir-fry over a high heat for 2 minutes until browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the rest of the steak to the pan, reserving the marinade, and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Add the remaining oil to the pan and stir-fry the mushrooms for 2 minutes. Add the broccoli, stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the pak choi and bean sprouts and stir-fry for a further 1 minute. Return the steak to the pan, pour over the reserved marinade and toss everything together over the heat for 2 minutes until piping hot. Serve at once.
Another great stir-fry recipe is this one from Opie’s and it uses up some of those yummy, pickled walnuts that might still be lurking in your cupboard from Christmas!