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Sweet and Spicy Beef Stir-Fry Recipe

Craving Chinese food? Now you can easily make a healthier version of the takeout staple right at home.
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Stir-fries by their very nature—fresh vegetables, a bit of protein, a thin veneer of sauce—should be bona fide healthy eats. Unfortunately, America's adaptation of Chinese food involves less of the fresh vegetables, a fatty rather than lean protein, and an abundance of oily sauce that makes every dish taste just like the last. Hence the cavalry of 1,000-plus-calorie meals swimming in sodium. This spicy-sweet beef treatment is exactly what a stir-fry should be: fast, flavorful, and incredibly good for you.

Nutrition: 300 calories, 13 g fat (5 g saturated), 570 mg sodium

Serves 4

You'll Need

2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp cornstarch
12 oz flank steak, thinly sliced against the grain
1⁄2 Tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
8 scallions, greens and whites separated, chopped
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 cups mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 cups green beans, ends removed, or sugar snap peas
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp chili garlic sauce

How to Make It

  1. In a large shallow dish, stir together the soy sauce and cornstarch with a fork.
  2. Add the steak, toss to coat, and let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Heat the oil in a wok or large sauté pan over high heat. When the wok is screaming hot, add the scallion whites and the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant but not browned. Add the mushrooms and green beans and stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes, using a metal spatula to keep the vegetables in near-constant motion.
  4. Add the beef, along with the soy sauce, and continue to stir-fry for 3 minutes, until the beef is fully browned on the outside. Stir in the hoisin and chili sauce, and cook until the sauce lightly clings to the surface of the meat and vegetables. Garnish with the scallion greens.

Eat This Tip

"Mise en place" (pronounced meez a plas) is the fancy French phrase that basically means "have all your ingredients ready before you start cooking."

For serious cooks, it's not just a suggestion, it's a religion. Nowhere is that dictum more essential than with stir-frying. Mince, dice, and chop your way through all the vegetables and proteins you'll need, then arrange on a plate or cutting board in the order you'll need them. Have sauces and condiments measured out, and, most importantly, always have salt and pepper at arm's length.

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