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Milk Street Recipe
Milk Street Bowtie Spicy Stir-Fried Cumin Beef (Wok Version)

Spicy Stir-Fried Cumin Beef (Wok Version)

1 hour 35 minutes active

Spicy Stir-Fried Cumin Beef (Wok Version)

Free

Once cooking begins, things move along quickly, so have all ingredients prepared and a serving platter nearby. Toasted cumin seeds added both earthy flavor and crunchy texture. Breaking some of the chilies in half released the seeds, giving the dish assertive spice; leave the chilies whole for a milder version. We also loved this dish made with 1½ pounds of lamb leg or shoulder, trimmed and thinly sliced (freeze the lamb for about 30 minutes before slicing). The chili pods are edible, but we ate around them. Serve with steamed white rice.

1 pound sirloin tips, trimmed
3 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon white sugar
12 dried red chilies (such as arbol or japones), stemmed
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted
5 large garlic cloves, minced
6 teaspoons grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
Ingredients
  • 1

    pound sirloin tips, trimmed

  • tablespoons soy sauce, divided

  • ½

    teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 4
  • 1

    teaspoon white sugar

  • 12

    dried red chilies (such as arbol or japones), stemmed

  • tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted

  • 5

    large garlic cloves, minced

  • 6

    teaspoons grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided

  • 1

    large yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise

  • 2

    teaspoons toasted sesame oil

  • cups coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems

Directions
  1. 01
    Cut the meat into 2-inch pieces, then thinly slice each piece against the grain. In a medium bowl, combine the beef, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and the black pepper. Stir to evenly coat. Set aside at room temperature. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2½ tablespoons soy sauce, the vinegar and sugar.
  2. 02
    Meanwhile, break open about half of the chilies, then transfer all of them to a wok. Toast over medium, pressing the pods against the wok, until fragrant and darkened in spots, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and add the cumin. In a small bowl, stir together the garlic and 2 teaspoons of the oil to form a paste.
  3. 03
    Heat a wok over medium-high until a drop of water evaporates within 1 to 2 seconds of contact, about 3 minutes. Swirl 2 teaspoons of the remaining oil in the wok, add the onion, then stir-fry using a metal spatula until charred in spots and partially softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the cumin seeds and chilies.
  4. 04
    Return the wok to high, add 1 teaspoon of grapeseed oil, then arrange half of the beef in a single layer on the bottom and up the sides of the wok. Cook, undisturbed, until deeply browned on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir, scraping the bottom and sides, and cook until no pink remains, 60 to 90 seconds. Transfer to the bowl with the onion. Repeat with the remaining oil and beef.
  5. 05
    In the wok over medium-high, cook the garlic paste, mashing the mixture, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the beef, onion, chilies and cumin. Stir the soy sauce-vinegar mixture and pour in a thin stream along the sides of the wok. Stir-fry, scraping up any browned bits, until the liquid is thickened, about 1 minute. Off heat, stir in the sesame oil and cilantro.
Tip: Don’t make this dish in a tight space. Toasting the chilies and searing the meat produced a fair amount of smoke and fumes. Turn your hood vent to high before beginning, or open a window or two.
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Comments
  • Michele R.

    So good made with lamb shoulder! And lamb with chiles and cumin is how I've had this in Chinese restaurants serving more regional fare. If I was the Queen I would wave my scepter and bid Milk Street to publish more recipes with lamb as the main protein and showing beef or chicken thighs in the "you may also use" notes instead of the other way around as it seems to be now. As in this recipe. Or a recent on for josh rogan - typically made wiht lamb but published recipe here made with chicken thighs. I could go on...but that makes the point. Americans eat only 1# per person of lamb a year on average. As compared to roughly 97# of chicken. (Someone is eating 92 pounds of the latter for me.) I contend it is possible they don't eat it because their only exposure has been a poorly cooked leg of at some spring observance dinner or rack of lamb at a restaurant that didn't get it right. Stir fried lamb dishes are delicious and so are braises - including lamb meatballs. I suggest if cooking resources like Milk Street starting publishing lamb as primary protein (as could have been done here) and people try it, they will enjoy it. And another good thing about lamb as protein, it is not a part of the conglomerate slaugherhouse food chain as chicken and beef and pork but very often a more local food chain protein.

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Spicy Stir-Fried Cumin Beef (Wok Version)

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

1 hour

35 minutes active

Tip

Don’t make this dish in a tight space. Toasting the chilies and searing the meat produced a fair amount of smoke and fumes. Turn your hood vent to high before beginning, or open a window or two.

Ingredients
  • 1

    pound sirloin tips, trimmed

  • tablespoons soy sauce, divided

  • ½

    teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 4
  • 1

    teaspoon white sugar

  • 12

    dried red chilies (such as arbol or japones), stemmed

  • tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted

  • 5

    large garlic cloves, minced

  • 6

    teaspoons grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided

  • 1

    large yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise

  • 2

    teaspoons toasted sesame oil

  • cups coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems

Step 1 of 5

Coat the beef

1
pound sirloin tips, trimmed
tablespoons soy sauce
½
teaspoon ground black pepper
4
teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1
teaspoon white sugar

Cut the meat into 2-inch pieces, then thinly slice each piece against the grain. In a medium bowl, combine the beef, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and the black pepper. Stir to evenly coat. Set aside at room temperature. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2½ tablespoons soy sauce, the vinegar and sugar.

Step 2 of 5

Darken the chilies

12
dried red chilies (such as arbol or japones), stemmed
tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted
5
large garlic cloves, minced
2
teaspoons grapeseed or other neutral oil

Meanwhile, break open about half of the chilies, then transfer all of them to a wok. Toast over medium, pressing the pods against the wok, until fragrant and darkened in spots, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and add the cumin. In a small bowl, stir together the garlic and 2 teaspoons of the oil to form a paste.

Step 3 of 5

Stir-fry the onions

2
teaspoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
1
large yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise

Heat a wok over medium-high until a drop of water evaporates within 1 to 2 seconds of contact, about 3 minutes. Swirl 2 teaspoons of the remaining oil in the wok, add the onion, then stir-fry using a metal spatula until charred in spots and partially softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the cumin seeds and chilies.

Step 4 of 5

Cook the beef

2
teaspoons grapeseed or other neutral oil

Return the wok to high, add 1 teaspoon of grapeseed oil, then arrange half of the beef in a single layer on the bottom and up the sides of the wok. Cook, undisturbed, until deeply browned on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes.


Stir, scraping the bottom and sides, and cook until no pink remains, 60 to 90 seconds. Transfer to the bowl with the onion. Repeat with the remaining oil and beef.

Step 5 of 5

Finish cooking and serve

2
teaspoons toasted sesame oil
cups coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems

In the wok over medium-high, cook the garlic paste, mashing the mixture, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the beef, onion, chilies and cumin. Stir the soy sauce-vinegar mixture and pour in a thin stream along the sides of the wok. Stir-fry, scraping up any browned bits, until the liquid is thickened, about 1 minute.


Off heat, stir in the sesame oil and cilantro.

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Spicy Stir-Fried Cumin Beef (Wok Version)

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