Dinner is served, friends.
I am so excited to share this kind-of-but-not-really ordinary meal with you guys today! It’s ordinary in that it’s just a stir fry, but it’s extraordinary in every other way, I assure you!
Stir fry is a nostalgic meal for me. While we didn’t have it often growing up, it’s a meal that I associate with home and my mom’s cooking. For feeding three kids, all of whom had varying tastes and preferences, while also keeping the more adult palates in mind, stir fry was kind of no-brainer meal for my mom. It feeds a lot of people and is fairly economical. Plus, it’s insanely yummy. And you can customize each bowl as much or as little as your heart desires! My mom always kept things simple yet delicious, and that’s what I’m going for today.
This stir fry starts with tender strips of beef that marinate in the most delicious mixture of all time. Yeah, I said it. Bold, I know. We’ve got some traditional things (soy, ginger, garlic, chile paste) and some fun ingredients that I threw in simply because I love them (cashew butter and coconut milk). This marinade has SO.MUCH.FLAVOR and has the perfect spicy-sweet-savory-nutty balance going on. It not only tenderizes the beef while it marinates, but it takes this stir fry to a whole ‘nother level of flavorfulness.
For the veggies, I went with my favs: onions, red peppers, purple cabbage, and baby bok choy. Baby bok choy is, hands down, one of my top five veggies. I am obsessed with it, which kind of stinks in a way since I can rarely find it at my local store. I guess it makes it all that more special for me? Yeah, we’ll go with that.
The veggies all sweeten up gloriously in a little bit of melted coconut oil and the beef drippings (because, um, YUM). They are the perfect counterpoint to the beef. Plus, look at that COLOR! The color of that purple cabbage is the stuff of dreams. Feel free, however, to swap things in or out! Do what works for you (especially if your fridge crisper drawer is constantly overflowing with almost-expired veggies. Not that I’d know anything about that).
I chose to serve this stir fry over coconut jasmine rice. I follow Jessica’s recipe down to the letter, and it comes out perfectly every time. It’s creamy and coconuty, but not overpoweringly so. Its slight sweetness goes SO well with the beef and veggies. We’ve got coconut going on in every step of this meal, and I can promise you, that’s a very good thing.
I garnish my bowls of stir fry with some toasted coconut (which is totally optional, by the way) and fresh herbs. And because I’m a citrus freak, I also love a spritz of fresh lime juice over top. It kind of just “makes it” for me in that it brightens up all those other flavors. Again, do what works for you! There’s no wrong way to do a stir fry. You just need some yummy ingredients, some soy/garlic/ginger, and a really hot pan. You’re good to go.
With a little planning, a meal like this comes together in no time at all. I always try to marinate my beef the night before I want to serve it (or early that morning). That way, when it’s time to get dinner on the table, all I have to do is make some rice and cook off the stir fry. Both those things can happen in 15-20 minutes, if that.
It’s a fabulous meal to make on a busy weeknight or even to impress guests on a weekend. It’s also a delicious, next-day lunch – I love it cold straight out of the fridge. Stir fry is so versatile and most people love it. A total no brainer!
Yup. My mom was definitely onto something.
1½ lbs stir-fry beef, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon cashew butter (peanut or almond butter also works)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chile paste (or thinly sliced fresh chile – just be careful because they’re super potent!)
¼ cup canned coconut milk (shaken well)
2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
The marinated beef
1 red onion, cut into strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
2 baby bok choy, sliced
½ head of purple cabage, sliced
Cooked coconut jasmine rice (I use follow this recipe exactly)
Fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
Drizzle of toasted sesame oil, optional
Toasted coconut, as optional garnish
Place the beef in a large resealable plastic bag. Season with salt and pepper.
In a bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, ginger, garlic, nut butter, sugar, chile paste, and coconut milk. Pour over the beef and stir around to ensure that all the beef is evenly coated.
Place the bag in the fridge and marinate for a minimum of 3 hours (I’ve done it overnight – it’s even better when it can sit for several hours).
Prepare the coconut rice for serving. Keep warm until you are ready to serve.
Remove the beef from the fridge and allow to sit at room temperature for a few minutes and then heat up a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil to the pan and once it’s melted/hot, add the beef to the pan. Pour a little of the marinade over the beef and allow to cook on the first side for 2 minutes. Discard the remaining marinade.
Flip the beef over and sear for another minute or two. Remove the beef from the pan and set aside.
Add the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil to the pan and then add the onion, pepper, bok choy, and cabbage. Toss to coat in the oil and drippings. Cook, tossing frequently, for 5-7 minutes. You want the veggies to be tender-crisp.
Remove the pan from the heat and return the beef to the pan. Toss to combine everything. Keep warm until you are ready to serve.
Place a scoop of coconut rice in each serving bowl and top with the beef/veggie mixture. Garnish with fresh herbs, scallions, a drizzle of sesame oil, and the toasted coconut flakes. Sprtiz with fresh lime and serve immediately.