Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Recipe: Ginger Beef, Snow Pea, and Rice Noodle Stir-fry

I had another recipe I was going to post before this, but I felt this one was more relevant since it's made almost entirely of ingredients I bought in this week's $25 Shopping Cart. This was also fun for me because as much as I love rice noodles, I've never actually cooked with them myself. I am bound and determined to keep experimenting with ingredients I've never cooked before, so this was a fun change for me.

As I mentioned in my last post, once I'd found that great deal on the round tip beef strips the wheels in my head started rapidly spinning with all the potential dishes I could make. As soon as I had the snow peas I knew exactly what I wanted to go with these two star ingredients: some light & tender rice noodles. Because I don't cook with beef that often, I have historically been a little limited in what I use to season it, so I tossed around some potential sauce ideas before I decided a ginger and soy-based marinade would be best for what I was thinking of having. It had been a long time since I'd used ginger in any of my food and this seemed like a great time for it to make a comeback.

I was pretty pleased with how well this turned out; it's always fun to see and taste a dish come out the way you envision it. If I'd had fresh ginger at my disposal I would have definitely used some, since I know it would have revved up the dish. Still, ground ginger works just fine and with a some good soy sauce, it flavors the beef beautifully. The snow peas are a nice departure from the standard broccoli that accompanies beef, and using rice noodles as opposed to a thicker, heavier noodle like chow mein complements their delicate texture. This dish is very quick & easy to make too, so it's a perfect weeknight meal. The longest you'll spend with any one ingredient will be the 10-15 minutes it takes to soak the rice noodles. Finally, at about $1.70/person for 3 servings, you can be sure that both your palate and your pocketbook will enjoy making this. Now, on with the show!

Ginger Beef, Snow Pea, and Rice Noodle Stir Fry (Serves 2-3; total cost per person: ~ $1.70)

~ 3/4 lb round tip beef strips (or any other lean cut of beef)
10-15 snow pea pods
3 oz. rice noodles
1/4 c plus 3 T low-sodium soy sauce
1 t plus 1/4 t ground ginger
2 T honey
1 T rice vinegar
1/2 t crushed garlic
1/2 t crushed red chilies
Couple glugs of cooking oil
2 chopped scallions (optional)

Prepare the beef marinade with 1/4 c of soy sauce and 1 t ground ginger in a medium bowl. Add the beef strips and make sure the marinade completely coats all the beef. Cover and set aside. While the the meat is marinating, soak the rice noodles in a large bowl of cold water for about 10-15 minutes. Be sure to completely submerge the noodles so that you don't end up with any random crispy ones.

In the meantime, prepare the dressing by combining the rest of the soy sauce, ginger, honey, and rice vinegar and whisking together until completely smooth. You can also use this time to rinse the snow peas and snip off the ends if desired (they can sometimes be a bit tough and cumbersome). Once the rice noodles have softened, drain completely and set aside.

In a medium skillet heat a tablespoon or two of cooking oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and heat for about 15-20 seconds: just enough to heat it through but not enough to scorch it. Add the beef strips with as little marinade as possible and stir fry for about 2 minutes. Since the meat is cut so thin, this will cook very quickly. Add the snow peas and stir fry for another 2 minutes or until they just begin to soften. In a larger skillet, heat another tablespoon of cooking oil over medium high to high heat and add the drained noodles. Add the beef and snow peas with all the juices and toss together until everything is combined. Cook for about 3 more minutes and remove from heat.

Arrange a nice portion of the stir fry onto a dish and drizzle generously with the soy, ginger, and honey dressing. Top with chopped green onions and crushed red chilies, and enjoy!

4 comments:

  1. I made this the other night for me and my roommate-I thought it was very good but she LOVED it and has already eaten all the leftovers! She already wants me to make more! Great recipe!

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  2. That's awesome! I'm so glad you both liked it!

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  3. I used stew meat (another inexpensive meat option) in this and it worked really well! My rice noodles turned out like a birds nest though...any thoughts?

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  4. Just made this -- I got some noodles on sale and it seemed like a good time to try it out -- Just delicious!!

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