Beef with walnuts

Here we are in the middle of summer, but for some reason the weather turned inexplicably cool today. It was overcast all day long, with clouds had that interesting depth that suggests stories. Perfect weather for a savory home-cooked meal.

In keeping with the TastyAsia tradition, this is comfort food: not fancy, just wholesome fare that makes you happy that it’s raining outside, while you’re sitting inside before a warm home-cooked meal.

One good word of wisdom that comes to life in this recipe: “use light soy sauce for flavor, and dark soy sauce for color.”

Beef with walnuts

Beef with walnuts


  1. 1 cup raw walnuts, whole
  2. 1.5 lb flank steak (cut into thin pieces slightly bigger than the walnuts), added to a mixture of 1.5 Tbsp light soy sauce, 1 Tbsp Shaoxing rice wine, 1 tsp corn starch
  3. 2 cloves garlic and 1.5 inch ginger, minced
  4. 1 Tbsp light soy sauce, 1/2 Tbsp dark soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp ground pepper, 1 tsp corn starch, combined and stirred so that the starch dissolves


  • Add the walnuts to briskly boiling water and cook for about 7 minutes, then drain and dry on a towel.
  • Combine everything in #2 and let it marinate for at least 20 minutes.
  • Put enough peanut oil in your wok to cover the bottom by 1/8 inch. Heat it until barely smoking, then add the dry walnuts and stir-fry until golden-brown and fragrant, taking care not to let them turn dark brown or burnt. Drain them on paper towels, reserving about 1 Tbsp oil in the wok.
  • Heat the remaining oil until it just begins to smoke and then add the beef. Spread it out quickly into a thin layer and let it cook undisturbed on high heat for about a minute or two, until almost opaque. Then add #3 (garlic and ginger) and stir-fry until all the pieces of beef are cooked through.
  • Reduce the heat. Stir #4 together (light and dark soy sauces, sesame oil, pepper, and corn starch) and add to your wok; toss until the sauce thickens and coats everything. Serve.

Variations: Garnish with thinly-sliced scallions or red peppers. Add 1 tsp chile oil to the the sauce (#4). Add a hearty vegetable such as carrots, parsnips, or potato. Replace the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in the photo with the beverage of your choice.

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