Sometimes simple is best.
Currently I am in loving the little lunchbox peppers available in stores. There still aren't any good local vegetables yet, so sweet bell peppers, mushrooms and bagged salad have been staples in my house. Peppers especially because of the fabulous crunch and color they add to any dish. Hello vitamin C!
I have also had Chinese food on the brain, and we don't have any decent Chinese restuarant options around here so that isn't an easy itch to scratch. So I decided to see what I could do with a Beef and Pepper Chow Fun style dish.
I couldn't find the wide rice noodles that usually go in Chow Fun, but I could readily find the Pad Thai style rice sticks in my town. I would grab whatever you can find. I am partial to the wider noodles, but the taste is the same. Rice noodles are very plain, but will take on the flavor of anything you are making. This beef and sauce more than makes up for the noodles.
Bring a pot of water up to boil. Turn off the heat and then add the rice noodles. Soak them for about 3 minutes shy of the package directions. You don't want them to turn to mush while they simmer in the sauce later.
I whisked up the sauce and then used a 1/2 cup to soak my beef in while I sliced and sauteed the vegetables. Reserve the remaining sauce for tossing everything at the end.
Grab a knife and start by slicing everything into uniform sized peices. Slice the peppers, the onions and enjoy the gorgeous array of colors in your pot. Now, since I am using high heat here I went with a cast iron pan. Feel free to use a wok if you got it.
With a little sesame oil and canola oil in the pan, I sauted the peppers and onions till just crisp tender. Then I added the sliced mushrooms and gave them a few tosses. Put all these lovelies over to the side and start on browning the beef strips.
Thinner is better here. These slices came pre-sliced from the meat department. I trimmed them down to bite sized pieces and then working in batches with tongs I quickly browned each side.
Then everything went back into the pot.... the meat, the vegetables, the sauce and the finished rice noodles. Give them all a little toss and allow the sauce to thicken slightly over medium heat.
Add salt and pepper to taste if you wish. With the soy sauce I didn't need to add very much.
Now, doesn't that look yummy? Who needs take-out when you can have a fast meal in.
Beef and Pepper over Rice Noodles
You Will Need:
- 1 package rice noodles
- 1 c. soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- 4 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 4 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed
- 2 Tbsp. ginger, freshly grated
- 2 tsp. Thai Red Curry Paste
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lime, half juiced
- 1 1/2 lb. flank steak sliced very thin and cut into bite-sized peices
- 2 Tbsp. canola oil
- 1 dash of sesame oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
- 3 c. sweet bell peppers, sliced thin and in assorted colors
- 1 c. mushrooms, sliced thin
Begin by preparing the rice noodles. Bring a pot of water up to boil, then turn off the heat. Cook according to package directions draining the noodles 3 minutes early. Reserve some of the pasta water.
In a bowl, whisk together the next 8 ingredients for the sauce. In a separate bowl marinade the thinly sliced steak in 1/2 cup of the sauce. Reserve the rest for later.
In a cast iron skillet or wok, add the oil and saute the onions and peppers till crisp tender. Just before they are done add the mushrooms. Remove the vegetables when done to a separate bowl.
Working in batches, in the same pan, start browning the slices of meat. With tongs add a single layer of meat to the pan to sear, turn to cook for another 30 seconds or so and then set aside.When all the meat is browned add the previous batches of meat, vegetables and sauce back to the pan. Bring up to a simmer to thicken the sauce. Then add in the cooked noodles, use tongs to toss and use the pasta water to thin out the sauce if necessary. Let the mixture heat through and serve warm.