What Is Steak Stir-Fry?

Lori Kilchermann

Steak stir-fry is a dish cooked in a wok over high heat that features beef steak as a protein. The steak is typically sliced very thin to allow it to cook quickly and is combined with vegetables as it is cooked. Usually used in an Asian cuisine, steak stir-fry is commonly used to make a small quantity of steak go a long way. The focus of steak stir-fry is the beef steak, however, the substance of the dish is typically the large amounts of vegetables featured in it.

Peanut oil has a high smoking point and neutral taste ideal for any steak stir-fry.
Peanut oil has a high smoking point and neutral taste ideal for any steak stir-fry.

A wok is a type of deep pan commonly used to prepare steak stir-fry. By using a small amount of oil and thinly sliced beef steak, the meat is cooked through very quickly over extremely high heat. It is common to prepare any type of stir-fry one ingredient at a time and then to combine all of the ingredients at the end to warm all of the food equally for service or presentation. Cooking the beef first in a steak stir-fry allows the meat to rest for a few minutes after cooking. This allows the meat's natural juices to be redistributed throughout the thin cuts, creating a tender and juicy stir-fry for diners to enjoy.

Typical vegetables found in a stir-fry dish are onions, carrots and peppers. Garlic and sesame oil are also common items used to prepare the wok for the beef. The wok is typically heated until the garlic and oil begin to smoke, thereby signaling that the pan is ready to receive the steak. Other vegetables of the consumer's choice can be added to the wok, including leeks, water chestnuts and broccoli. The vegetables are stirred in the wok until hot, thus preserving the crispy texture of the vegetables in the finished dish.

Several spices can be used in steak stir-fry, from cayenne pepper to ginger, in order to appeal to the diner's personal taste. The ingredients of any stir-fry are often tailored to individual preference. It is common for tougher and less-appealing cuts of steak, such as round, butt and London broil, to be used in steak stir-fry since the thin slices are often more tender when prepared in this manner. For an even tastier dish, rib eye steak can be sliced thinly and cooked in the wok. The naturally fat and marbleized beef will become very tender as the fat is rendered over the high heat, allowing the juices to create a flavorful sauce.

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