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Buyer beware, this is two recipes, made in two pans and would have been two posts, but, confession, it was the photographs’ fault. Both recipes are excellent, but I’m really excited about the bok choy because it takes this passed-over vegetable from tolerating to craving.

This little miracle happened the other day – a day which started out as most: a sweatpants decision, exercise written down on a to-do list to that will never get checked off, contemplation if the shirt I slept in could also serve the day – it did. Then, later that afternoon, a ding on my phone. It’s a text from my son who’s been holed up in a study-pod house a few hours north, I believe – communication has been sparse. The text says…any tips for stir-frying? My knees buckled, I screamed. I’ve waited twenty years of his life for a question like this. It’s right behind, can I move home for the rest of my life and ahead of would you like to see my grades? I took a deep breath then spilled: “Have all ingredients and flavorings prepped into separate bowls. Pan med high. Heat oil first, then cook protein. Remove protein to plate. cook vegetables in pan maybe more oil Add protein back in Add seasonings and serve” Yeah, I helicoptered his stir-fry, but wasn’t this my moment? My countless stir-fry fails shouldn’t go to waste. If we’ve learned just one thing – stir fry is all about prep and planning, not the actual frying.

Both recipes come from the same book Secrets of the Best Chefs and from the same chef and cookbook author, Grace Young. who writes very specific recipes, but the result is successful. Modify to your comfort level and taste.

beef tomato & bok choy stir-fry

Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Ginger

Preptime – 15 minutes                                4 servings

Cooktime: 5 minutes

  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sherry
  • 1 Tbsp chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp peanut oil (canola also works)
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 12 oz. baby bok choy cut into 2-inch pieces and patted very, very dry. Separate in to leaves and stems – they cook differently
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  1. Assemble all prepped and measured ingredients.
  2. In small bowl, whisk together soy, sherry and chicken stock.
  3. Heat the wok or pan until a flick of water on the surface evaporates immediately.
  4. Swirl the oil in the down side of the wok (essentially getting the pan coated). 
  5. Add ginger and the bok choy stems – stir and cook for 10 seconds.
  6. Add bok choy leaves – stir and cook for 45 seconds.
  7. Add sugar, salt and soy mixture. 
  8. Toss together. Dish up and serve.

Beef with Tomato Stir-Fry

Preptime: 30 minutes                               4 servings

Cooktime: 5 minutes

  • 12 oz flank steak
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp dry sherry
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp minced peeled ginger
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp + 1/2 tsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp peanut oil (canola also works)
  • 2-3 very ripe tomatoes (blanched, skins removed, cored and cut into bite-size wedges OR 4 whole canned tomatoes from 1 can of whole tomatoes (make sense?) 
  • 2 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 Tbsp chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  1. Cut the meat into three equal portions and slice each portion against the grain into 1/2 inch slices – hint: freeze the meat for 45 minutes to an hour. It will cut easier. Set meat slices aside.
  2. In a bowl, make marinade combining: cornstarch, sherry, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and 1/4 tsp of sugar.
  3. Stir in cornstarch.
  4. Add meat to marinade about 20 minutes before you stir-fry.
  5. Assemble and measure out all the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Heat the wok or pan until a flick of water on the surface evaporates immediately.
  7. Add the oil, swirling to cover wok, add and spread out the meat. Do not touch for one minute.
  8. Turn the meat to sear the other side and remove to a plate.
  9. Add the tomatoes, oyster sauce, chicken stock, remaining sugar, and scallions.
  10. Cover pan for 20 seconds. 
  11. Lift the lid, add the meat and cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. 
  12. When the meat is cooked, the tomatoes still firm but have released their juices, remove it all to a serving bowl and serve.


  • Use jarred ginger and garlic.
  • If you don’t have sherry, apple cider vinegar (at half portion) is a good substitute. 
  • Prep all ingredients earlier in the day. 

Recipe modified from Secrets of the Best Chefs and provided by your friends at crunchtimfood.com. 


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