In my kitchen, stir-frying is always an option I tend to fall back upon, especially when I’m out of ideas of what to cook.
It’s easy, relatively simple and you don’t need a degree in chemistry to get the basics right. Plus, it makes use of my favorite kitchen utensil – the wok.
There is something deeply comforting and therapeutic in stirring ingredients in a wok.
Whether watching beef turn from a pinkish-red to light pale brown, or seeing vegetables take on a shine as they get cooked in heat and oil, just standing over the miracle taking place before you, and being able to take part in every single step of the process is something I find extremely liberating and fascinating.
And ohhh, the smells that arise and tempt your nostrils, and the crackling and sizzling as you add more ingredients and raise the fire, all combine to create one of the most pleasurable ways food can be cooked.
Imagine the sizzling delight before you as the beef cooks in the heat, the aromas enveloping the kitchen as you stir-fry with your wooden stick and wok.
Shifting the ingredients in circles, adding a dash of soy sauce for flavor, breathing in heavenly smells, tasting the ingredients to test for saltiness, and feeling the heat of the fire, is such an amazingly sensual experience. Every single sense is involved; you feel one with the kitchen.
Because of the ease and beauty of stir-frying, I’ve cooked large varieties of food using this beloved method, ranging from Chinese-style fried rice, or spring vegetable and ham spaghetti, and most recently, the filling for beef, carrot and zucchini fajitas.
Let me tell you a little about these fajitas.
They’re Mexican-style fast food, finger-licking good and so ridiculously fun to make. You can choose your own base filling (beef, chicken, pork), which is then wrapped in warm, freshly-toasted tortilla bread. You can add guacamole, cream cheese or any other garnishing, or you can just feast on the filling and tortilla bread alone, the way we did this week.
I made these with Juan’s mum the other day, and we chose beef this time, because Argentinians almost never get sick of beef, which is their staple food, apart from bread. For a different twist, we added carrots and zucchini, to complement and sweeten the taste of beef.
And then, once you’ve cooked the ingredients, the only thing you need to do is to toast the tortilla bread slices quickly in a pan with very little oil, until they’re warm and no longer soft. Then fill them with the filling you cooked and you’ve got the fajitas in the palm of your hands!
STIR-FRIED BEEF, CARROTS & ZUCCHINI FAJITAS (Serves 4)
1) 1 kg of rump steak, cubed
2) 3 -4 medium carrots, sliced into 10 cm long sticks
3) 1 large zucchini, sliced into 10 cm long sticks
4) 1 large onion, diced
5) 4 -5 tablespoons of soy sauce
6) 8 sheets of tortillas bread
1) Peel and cut carrots and zucchini into 10 cm long sticks
2) Cut rump steak into cubes
3) Dice onion into small pieces
4) In a wok, stir-fry carrots and onions until onions turn transparent
5) Add in beef cubes and stir until they are slightly browned
6) Add in zucchini sticks and stir
7) Pour soy sauce evenly over beef and vegetables, stir until beef is well-cooked
8) Toast tortilla bread sheets in a pan with a small amount of oil until they are no longer soft
9) Serve tortilla bread sheets warm with beef filling
Stir-fry carrots and onions until onions turn transparent:
Add in beef cubes:
Stir until they are slightly browned:
Add in zucchini sticks and stir:
Ready to be eaten!
Serve with toasted tortilla sheets to make fajitas: