It's crunch time.
When it comes to quick cooking, there’s nothing better than a stir-fry. Whether you’ve got unexpected guests to impress on short notice, walk into your house absolutely ravenous after a long day at work or just don’t really feel like cooking, it’s your go-to, foolproof, delicious and time-efficient meal that’s even better than takeaways.
Stir-fries are a perfectly light dish that allow you to mix and match ingredients, embrace your creativity, brush up your cooking skills and most importantly, use your kitchen leftovers. They’re the ideal, hearty and vegetable-packed dish to create on a Sunday with leftover produce, or to have in your cooking arsenal for an easy midweek dinner.
If you haven’t picked up what I’m putting down, they’re the perfect meal for anytime because sometimes, all we really need is something quick and easy for lunch or dinner that provides warmth, comfort and nourishment.
Oh, and before you ask, I far prefer stir-fried vegetables over boiled veggies as they retain more nutrients and quite frankly, taste a heck of a lot better than sad boiled Brussels sprouts and carrots! In other words, if your favourite way to cook carrots is to boil them, then maybe you should unfollow me now, (joking :))
The Beef Stir-Fry with Peaches from my latest book, Supercharge Your Life is a delicious and convenient dish that is always within arms-reach when you have a fully stocked supercharged pantry!
When you’re starting to transform your kitchen into a supercharged paradise that’s equipped for serving up fulfilling and tantalising meals, work on getting a few basics in place. Here are a few tips and ideas...
- Stock your pantry with essentials that bring oodles of flavour and texture to your dishes. Not only will this turn them into enticing meals your whole family will enjoy but knowing everything is ready to go will also make it simpler and faster to get cracking, saving you time and energy.
- A well-stocked pantry, fridge and freezer are critical tools for planning ahead. Getting your pantry right and always having the basics on hand means fewer trips to the supermarket in the long run, and smaller trips where you’ll just be topping up your perishable items – which is better for your wallet and the environment! Along with your spice rack, slowly and systematically building up your pantry is the best way to ensure you always have staples and dry good on hand. Buying staples in bulk will help you and your wallet too.
- To add some instant flavour, maintain stocks of a few basic dressings, oils and vinegars. Start with mustard, wheat-free tamari or coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Wheat-free tamari is a thicker, less salty, fermented soy sauce that can be used in Asian and non-Asian cooking to add a full, savoury umami flavour to your dishes.
- Onions and garlic, both from the Allium genus of plants, are two of my favourite flavour accompaniments to use in cooking. They don’t just play an important culinary role, they also provide a plethora of health benefits. When you start by sautéing onion or garlic at the beginning of cooking, you’ll find they unleash a powerful flavour that helps release the aromas of the other ingredients in your dish, (or use garlic/onion infused oils if you're in a hurry. This is a really important first step, as the strong flavour combinations will only increase the longer you wait to eat it. This is ideal for dishes you plan to reheat the following day and I mean, who doesn’t love leftovers? Whenever I can, I cook large batches of food, so my family and I can have lunch prepared for the following days. Onions stay fresh for well over a month in your pantry, and garlic can last for more than three months, so you’ll have your flavour friends right by your side for a good length of time.
- If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, keep alternatives to refined sugar and artificial sweeteners on hand. I personally use raw honey, stevia, coconut sugar or coconut milk, rice syrup, and various fruits like banana, mango or berries to satisfy your sweet tooth and balance out savoury flavours.
- When it comes to the freezer, frozen fruit, stocks, sauces, snap frozen peas and veg plus additional meat are key to have on hand. I usually have mince meat in my freezer in case of emergency and can do a quick savoury mince for the kids.
In the case of this stir-fry, we call upon a beef or sirloin to provide the protein which can help with muscle protein synthesis and strengthening the immune system. Beef also contains iron, zinc and selenium to improve metabolism and help break down fats in the body.
To counteract the meatiness, I love adding fruits to my stir-fries which is why I’ve included peaches here. Before you look at me and think ‘why are you ruining a perfectly good peach by adding it to a beef stir-fry?’, you’ve got to just trust me on this one. Peaches add a natural sweetness that’ll send your tastebuds to paradise. I always forget how much I love peaches until I have a peach and then I can’t stop eating them! Plus, once they’re baked, their deliciously juicy texture embodies everything nice in the world. So, let’s start adding fruit into our savoury meals and keep everyone on their toes - that’s my idea of exciting. Peaches (or nectarines, if you swing that way), are best in this recipe when they’re firm and cut into wedges.
No supercharged stir-fry is complete without vegetables. I love bok choy, also known as pak choy, into a stir-fry to ramp up the nourishment. This Chinese cabbage provides fibre and antioxidants to look after our digestion, skin health and even our livers!
Now that we’ve got some of the largest components of this dish in order, it’s crunch time. When I was initially creating this dish, I realised I had the flavours in order and all of the textures I needed but there was just one thing missing. I opened my fridge and had a look at my cauliflower and I could see it looking back at me, knowing its fate: it was so ready to be riced. Cauliflower rice is a great addition to any stir-fry because it’s light and neutral-tasting but adds the texture of a crunchy rice that complements a stir-fry so perfectly.
This dish is satisfyingly balanced when it comes to savoury and sweet flavours, as well as crunchy and juicy textures. My favourite part? This dish is popping with colour which makes my food-styling heart sing with joy. It’s the little things, isn’t it?
Next time you walk into your house at a time that’s far too late to start organising a five-star gourmet feast, think of me and of course, our beloved stir-fry. I hope you give this dish from Supercharge Your Life a whirl and love it as much as I do!
If you haven’t had a chance to look at it yet, Supercharge Your Life makes for the perfect gift. It provides tips on living a purposeful life and will help any reader fall in love with food all over again. Just like this stir-fry, all of the recipes are hearty, wholesome and energising. You can grab a copy here.
Beef Stir-Fry with Peaches
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil or coconut oil
- 300 g (101/2 oz) beef rump or sirloin, cut into strips
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 × 5 cm (2 inch) piece fresh ginger, grated
- 4 peaches or nectarines, halved, stone removed and cut into wedges
- 800 g (1 lb 12 oz/2 small bunches) bok choy (pak choy)
- 1 tablespoon coconut aminos or wheat-free tamari
- 2 tablespoons rice malt syrup
- Cauliflower Rice, to serve
Heat the sesame oil in a wok over medium– high heat and stir-fry the beef strips until browned, working in batches if necessary. Add the garlic and ginger, and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the peaches and cook for 3 minutes, or until caramelised.
Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Return the wok to the heat, add the bok choy and aminos, and stir until the bok choy has wilted. Add the rice malt syrup and return the beef and peaches to the wok, stirring gently to warm through.