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Stir-fried Beef with Celery: A Refreshing and Nutritious Dish

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Stir-fried Beef with Celery is a classic Chinese dish that exemplifies the art of stir-frying—quick cooking over high heat to retain the natural flavors and textures of the ingredients. This dish pairs the tender texture of beef with the crispness of celery, creating a delightful contrast in both taste and mouthfeel. Flavored with garlic, ginger, and a savory sauce, Stir-fried Beef with Celery is not only delicious but also nutritious, making it a popular choice in both Chinese homes and restaurants.

Culinary Heritage and Significance

Stir-frying is a fundamental cooking technique in Chinese cuisine, dating back thousands of years. It involves cooking ingredients swiftly over intense heat in a wok, which preserves their nutrients and enhances their natural flavors. Stir-fried dishes like Stir-fried Beef with Celery highlight the Chinese emphasis on balance—balancing flavors, textures, and nutritional elements to create harmonious meals that are both satisfying and healthful.

Ingredients

To prepare Stir-fried Beef with Celery, gather the following ingredients:

For the Beef Marinade:

  • Beef Sirloin or Flank Steak: 1 lb (about 450g), thinly sliced against the grain
  • Soy Sauce: 2 tbsp
  • Shaoxing Wine or Dry Sherry: 1 tbsp
  • Cornstarch: 1 tbsp

For the Stir-fry:

  • Celery: 3-4 stalks, thinly sliced diagonally
  • Garlic: 3 cloves, minced
  • Ginger: 1-inch piece, julienned
  • Green Onions (Spring Onions): 2, sliced diagonally
  • Vegetable Oil: 2 tbsp

For the Sauce:

  • Soy Sauce: 2 tbsp
  • Oyster Sauce: 1 tbsp
  • Sesame Oil: 1 tsp
  • Cornstarch Slurry: 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water
  • White Pepper: 1/4 tsp

Optional Garnish:

  • Toasted Sesame Seeds: For garnish
  • Red Chili Flakes: For a spicy kick

Preparation and Cooking Instructions

  1. Prepare the Beef:
    • In a bowl, combine thinly sliced beef with soy sauce, Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry), and cornstarch.
    • Mix well and let it marinate for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Prepare the Sauce:
    • In a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch slurry, and white pepper. Set aside.
  3. Stir-fry the Ingredients:
    • Heat vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat until smoking.
    • Add minced garlic and julienned ginger, stirring for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
  4. Cook the Beef:
    • Add the marinated beef to the wok in a single layer, spreading it out to ensure even cooking.
    • Stir-fry the beef for 2-3 minutes until it is browned and cooked through. Remove from the wok and set aside.
  5. Stir-fry the Celery:
    • Add the sliced celery to the wok, stir-frying for 2-3 minutes until it begins to soften but remains crisp.
  6. Combine and Finish:
    • Return the cooked beef to the wok with the stir-fried celery.
    • Pour the prepared sauce over the beef and celery, stirring well to coat evenly.
    • Cook for another minute until the sauce thickens and coats the ingredients.
  7. Serve and Garnish:
    • Transfer Stir-fried Beef with Celery to a serving dish.
    • Garnish with sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds.
    • Serve hot with steamed rice or noodles.

Tips for Perfect Stir-fried Beef with Celery

  • Beef Slicing: Slice the beef thinly against the grain for tender bites.
  • High Heat: Stir-fry over high heat to quickly cook the beef and celery without losing their crispness.
  • Sauce Consistency: Adjust the amount of cornstarch slurry to achieve the desired thickness of the sauce.

Serving Suggestions

Stir-fried Beef with Celery can be served:

  • As a Main Course: Enjoy with steamed jasmine rice or egg noodles for a complete meal.
  • With Vegetables: Add bell peppers or snow peas for added color and crunch.
  • For Special Occasions: Ideal for family dinners or festive gatherings, showcasing the flavors and textures of stir-fried dishes.

Nutritional Benefits

  • Beef: Rich in protein, iron, and B vitamins, supporting muscle growth and overall health.
  • Celery: Low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins K and C, promoting digestion and heart health.
  • Garlic and Ginger: Provide antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, boosting immune function and adding depth of flavor.

Conclusion

Stir-fried Beef with Celery offers a delightful blend of tender beef, crisp celery, and savory sauce—a testament to the versatility and appeal of Chinese stir-fry dishes. By following this recipe, you can recreate a dish that celebrates the freshness and balance of ingredients, making it a favorite in both everyday meals and special occasions. Whether enjoyed as a quick weeknight dinner or served as part of a larger Chinese feast, Stir-fried Beef with Celery promises to delight with its delicious taste, cultural significance, and nutritional benefits, inviting you to savor the flavors of authentic Chinese cuisine.

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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