Pepper Steak with a drizzle of sriracha!!!
Pepper steak is a Chinese-American dish featuring strips of steak heavily seasoned with pepper.
It is believed to have its origins in the cuisine of Fujian Province in China, where it was originally made with pork. This dish can be served as an appetizer or entree with rice or noodles or on its own. Chinese-American restaurants often have a version of pepper steak on their menus and this dish can be made at home very easily. In addition to being consumed hot, it can be eaten cold.
For this version I am using sweet mini peppers.
This dish typically includes cuts of beef sauteed with bell peppers and seasoned with pepper, ginger, and soy sauce. Cornstarch may be added to thicken the sauce. Some cooks add onions for additional flavor and the dish can also include water chestnuts and other additions. Lots of pepper is added to make the dish strong and spicy and the dish can include a blend of different kinds of pepper. The spiciness can be increased by adding more peppers, if desired.
People have been making various versions of this dish in the United States since at least the 1940s. The seasoning used in pepper steak tends to be stronger and heavier than the seasoning in traditional Chinese dishes. Chinese-American food in general often has more bold, aggressive flavors, reflecting American tastes in food. The sauce can also be very soupy, designed for absorption by noodles or rice served alongside the pepper steak.
Cooks interested in making pepper steak at home can use a variety of thin strips of steak often flank, sirloin, or round. If the steak is difficult to slice, putting it in the freezer for several hours to firm it up before slicing can be helpful.
The peppers and other inclusions should be uniformly sliced so the dish will cook evenly, and it is advisable to avoid overloading the dish with extra vegetables, to allow the flavor of the steak to dominate.
To prepare pepper steak, you should brown the meat in the wok/skillet before setting the meat aside, and cook the vegetables. As the vegetables soften, the meat can be added back to the pan, along with additional pepper and other spices can be added to taste. If the sauce is too thin, cornstarch can be added to thicken it as desired. Pepper steak should be served hot or refrigerated immediately.
For the marinade:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup water
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger or grated with a micro-plane
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. corn starch
1/2 tsp. coarsely-ground black pepper
Pepper Steak Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb. thinly sliced flank steak or sirloin, cut diagonally across the grain into thin strips
12 mini sweet peppers, thinly sliced (or 2 regular-sized bell peppers a green and red into thinly slices)
1 small onion sliced into strips
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Slice steak into 1/4 inch strips against the grain
Add all marinade ingredients to a large bowl or ziplock bag, and stir to combine. Add the sliced steak, and toss in the marinade. Cover/seal and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
Depending on size of wok or skillet you may have to cook the steak in batches.
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sweet peppers and onions, and saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a plate.
Remove steak from the marinade with a slotted spoon (reserving the marinade) and saute about 2-3 minutes until browned, stirring occasionally.
Transfer steak to plate with the veggies.
Add the reserved marinade to the skillet and bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes to remove any food borne bacteria.(if you are uncomfortable with this step, then go ahead and skip it all together)
Add the steak, veggies and onion back to the wok or skillet, and stir to combine. Cook for an additional minute, then remove from heat.
Serve immediately over rice, noodles or quinoa. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds if desired, or more fresh cracked black pepper.
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