Takeout or lunch at a Chinatown restaurant can include this Scallion Ginger Beef and Tofu Stir-Fry. Cooking it over high heat in thin, superheated carbon steel woks gives it a distinctive “wok hay” flavor profile.
There isn’t a lot of sauce, but what there is is packed with flavor and goes wonderfully with steamed rice.
It’s also simple to prepare this meal. You can replicate the true flavor of Noodletown in New York City by cooking the noodles in a wok that is blazing hot.
Slicing the beef and tofu, preparing the sauce, and chopping the aromatics all take time. Firm tofu must be pre-cooked, too, by giving it a light golden crust by scorching it in the wok. This not only enhances the tofu’s texture but also makes it sturdy and less likely to break when stir-fried.
But how can you prevent tofu from sticking to the wok when pan-frying it? The secret is to heat the wok without the oil inside. This technique for making food in a wok without using oil works for any kind of high-temperature wok cooking.
The wok is preheated until the edges start to smoke. Following this, oil is poured around the rim of the wok. Tofu will move around the wok as if it were coated with nonstick spray if you follow that procedure.
Use only a wok made of carbon steel for this. Do not use a wok made of stainless steel, and avoid using a nonstick wok altogether. Heating a nonstick surface to unsafe temperatures is not recommended.
FOR THE BEEF & MARINADE:
- 8 oz. of flank steak
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of water
- 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon of oyster sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
FOR THE REST OF THE DISH:
- 8 ounces of firm tofu
- 7 slices of ginger
- 4 large scallions (white and green pieces separated; cut at an angle into 5 cm pieces)
- 1 clove of chopped garlic
- 1/2 cup of red bell pepper (1-inch pieces)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons of hot water
- 1 tablespoon of shaoxing wine
- 2 teaspoons of light soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon of dark soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of hoisin sauce
- ¼ teaspoon of sesame oil
- 1/8 teaspoon of ground white pepper
- In a medium bowl, combine the flank steak, 1 1/2 tablespoons water, the cornstarch, oil, oyster sauce, and baking soda. Stir to combine. It is recommended that the steak be sliced very thinly against the grain into pieces that are approximately 2 inches (12 centimeters) in size (if using). In the meantime, prepare the remaining ingredients and set aside for 20-30 minutes.
- Cut the tofu into thin rectangles, about 1 cm in length and width.
- Hot water, sugar, hoisin sauce, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, sesame oil, white pepper, and a pinch of salt should all be combined in a small dish to produce the sauce combination. Coat the sugar with the mixture and stir until it is dissolved.
- Get the ginger, garlic, and scallions ready. If your onion slices are very thick, cut them in half lengthwise.
- The wok needs to be heated until it emits a thin cloud of smoke over high heat. Add 1 spoonful of oil to coat once it has started to smoke. Place the tofu slices in the wok in a single layer and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Put aside on a platter.
- Add another tablespoon of oil and re-heat the wok until it is smoking. Sear the beef for 30 seconds to 1 minute, in a single layer. Continue to stir-fry the beef for an additional 15 to 30 seconds or until the internal temperature reaches between 75 and 80%. Take out of the pan or wok and put to one side.
- Toss the ginger slices into the skillet and add another half a tablespoon of oil. You should brown and caramelize them for around 20 seconds. A lot of ginger flavor will be transferred to the oil and the wok in this way.
- Bring the heat back up to high, then stir in the garlic, scallion whites, and red pepper flakes. After about 10 seconds of stirring, pour in the Shaoxing wine.
- Stir-fry the tofu that has been previously pan-fried, the meat (along with any juices), and the sauce mixture for an additional 30 seconds is recommended. Add the sauce and continue to stir-fry for another 20 seconds or until everything is evenly coated.
- Stir-fry the scallion greens until they are wilted, and add them to the dish. Put it on a plate and serve the delicious Scallion Ginger Beef and Tofu Stir-Fry with steamed rice as soon as possible.