I’ve done a husband-wife pairing before, with Sarah and Dan Hoyt. But it took me altogether too long to realize that although I’d gotten a recipe from James Young, I hadn’t talked with his lovely wife Anita about her books and food yet. For the meal, I’m making her Pepper Steak, and we’re recommending her Paranormal Thriller series to you, the latest of them being The Will of Tyr. She writes a psychological, character driven book, one that will appeal to paranormal romance readers. For such a dark story as she can twist, she likes bright food!
Since I knew there would be the green of scallions, I chose a red and a yellow sweet pepper to get the most color possible in this dish. Food doesn’t always have to be about brown.
Before you stir-fry, you will want to have everything prepped and ready, once the pan is hot and the action starts, there is no dilly-dallying around.
One of my readers was kind enough to send me a packet of Sichuan Pepper Powder to try. Be careful, he cautioned, it’s potent! Start with just a pinch. My pinch may be smaller than his, we could taste it but there was no heat. Next time I’ll try two or three pinches.
In the hot wok, fry the vegetables, white part of scallions, ginger and garlic first, then when they are barely tender, remove them to a bowl.
Fry the meat in portions, adding a little oil, then about half the meat, keeping the marinade in the bowl until the end, when you put everything back in the wok and pour the marinade over, cooking until it thickens into a gravy.
This came out very well, served with sticky rice. The First Reader commented that it needed more spice. Next time I’ll be less timid with the pepper powder.
1 1/2 lb thinly sliced steak (I used london broil, but any cheap cut will do)
2-3 tbsp peanut oil (or canola, you need an oil with a high smoke point)
2-3 sweet peppers
bunch of scallions
1/4 cup chopped ginger
5-6 garlic cloves
Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a bowl, toss the meat in it to coat. If you will be marinading overnight, put this mixture into a large ziploc and in the fridge. Otherwise just give it a stir every few minutes while you prep the rest of the meal.
In the rice cooker, put two cups of short-grain rice (I like Nishiki) and three cups of water. Set to white rice and leave it.
Prep the vegetables, putting the thinly-sliced sweet peppers and white part of the scallions in one container, and the green tops in another. They cook at different rates, so you won't add the greens until the very last stage. Finely mince the garlic and ginger.
Heat your wok over med-high heat until it is very hot. Carefully add a tablespoon of oil, then toss in the garlic and ginger. Stir once or twice, then add the rest of the peppers and onion mixture. Don't let the garlic and ginger burn. Stir fry until the peppers are barely tender (they will be cooked more later) and pour them from the wok into a bowl.
Add another tablespoon of oil, letting the temp come back up until it almost starts to smoke, then with a slotted spoon to allow the sauce to escape, add about half the meat to the wok. Stir-fry until browned, then add to the bowl with the veg.
Add another tablespoon of oil, stir-fry the remaining meat, and then pour the contents of the bowl into the wok. Add the sauce and allow to simmer, stirring gently, until it thickens. Fold in the green onion tops and serve.