Is it a well-known fact that toddlers are attracted to Asian flavors? My son sure is an umami magnet, and many other moms have told me their kids are the same. This natural inclination probably has to do with the fact that many classic Asian sauces have sweet components to them—soy, hoisin, teriyaki, and so on—and the dishes are often colorful. These two factors can make food go down more easily when it comes to younger appetites.
After I noticed my son would eat anything served along with sticky or jasmine rice, I started using subterfuge to make him try new proteins. Sesame salmon, ginger tilapia, peanut chicken, miso tofu, and noodle salads are all on heavy rotation at our house, and we’ve recently added a new dish to the mix: Sesame Orange Beef Stir-Fry. I very rarely cook beef at home, first because it’s expensive and second because I’m always afraid I’ll mess it up. Let me tell you, though, this sesame orange beef stir-fry is pretty much impossible to mess up. It also comes together lightning fast. It’ll literally take you more time to gather the ingredients to make the sauce from the fridge and pantry than to actually cook the dish.
Many grocery stores sell beef strips ready for stir-frying. If you want to save even more time, look for those convenient strips at the meat counter or ask your butcher to slice a steak for you. Alternatively, you can slice up the strips yourself since it really isn’t that hard. Just make sure your knife is super sharp before you start. To get the most tender meat, make sure you slice the steak across the grain. If you’re wondering what “slicing across the grain” means, Serious Eats has an extremely useful article about it (complete with helpful pictures). Basically, if you slice the meat right, you’ll see that the fibers are interrupted by the cut. The pieces of meat seem “broken up,” showing cracks on their cut sides. If you notice long strands of fibers on the cut side, it means you’ve done it wrong. Rotate the steak 90° and cut it again. You should notice the difference right away.
I like to buy sirloin steak in bulk when I see it on sale at my grocery store. I then cut it all up in a single session and freeze it in 1lb (450g) portions in airtight bags. To defrost it, I either leave a sealed, frozen bag of meat in the fridge overnight or dip it in a bowl of water for about 15 to 30 minutes. Voilà—it’s all set and ready to stir-fry.
Makes 4 servings.
This sesame orange beef stir-fry is super fast to prepare and packed full of flavor. It's the perfect weeknight, family-friendly meal!
5 minPrep Time
10 minCook Time
15 minTotal Time
Combine all the sauce ingredient in a measuring cup and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat.
In a large bowl, combine the steak strips with the cornstarch, tossing to coat. Immediately transfer the steak strips to the hot skillet and sauté until just cooked and browned in spots, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Lower the heat to medium, then pour the sauce into the skillet and bring to a simmer. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken, then stir in the steak and toss to coat with the sauce.
Serve immediately, sprinkled with sesame seeds and green onions, and accompanied with steamed veggies and rice.
Recipe Credit: Adapted from Damn Delicious.
More Asian-Inspired Weeknight Meal Ideas