Let’s Cook Together: Lemongrass Beef Stir Fry

bashed lemongrass

It began with a bashed piece of lemongrass.

Our neighbor, Sara, who is becoming a good friend, had been over at our home a few days before. While her tow-headed boy Blake bounced on the trampoline with Lucy, Sara told us she and her husband John wanted to change their ways. As is true of many families with young kids, Sara relied on boxed meals and packaged foods. Last year, they had us over for a crab feast, with warm butter and homemade cocktail sauce. Sara’s a good cook. But with a one-year-old on her hip as she stirs a pot at the stove, and a small boy running around playing trucks at her feet, she doesn’t always have the time to cook meals that take long.

But as is true for so many families with small children, Sara and John want to eat better: more vegetables, slower meals, and more food from scratch. She told us she had bought a copy of our new cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl Every Day, which made us feel sort of bad. We would have happily given her one. She’s a friend. But she wanted to support our work. And she loved what she saw: the weeknight meals, the chapter about setting up a pantry, the big flavors without too-complex preparations. She was excited.

That day, standing by the trampoline while I made goony faces at Deena, Sara said, “I want to make the lemongrass beef stir fry. But I don’t know how to bash the lemongrass. Can you show me how?”

So the kids stayed on the back deck, Lu playing princess with Blake, who looked confused by all the dancing. Deena sat strapped on her mama’s back. And Danny bashed up a lemongrass stalk for her.

beef cut against the grain

“The directions say to cut the flank steak against the grain. Can you show me what that looks like?”

Here you go.

bashing the lemongrass

So how do you bash a lemongrass stalk?

Danny turned over his chef knife and hit the bottom of the stalk with the top of the knife, the long straight edge. And then he smacked it with the side of the knife, to blow it open more.

We three leaned in for a smell. Mmmm.

Then Danny diced the lemongrass into tiny dices and made the marinade. We recommend letting the beef sit in the marinade for at least an hour. Honestly, the flavors seep through the beef entirely when you make the marinade in the morning, let it sit through the day, and pull it out in time for dinner.

However, when you have three active kids squirming for lunch? You make that stir fry pretty quickly.

oil in the wok

We have an entire chapter on stir frying in our new cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl Every Day. It’s one of my favorite ways to make a quick, full-flavored meal with lots of good protein and vegetables. The wonderful Grace Young taught me so much about how to best use a wok, which we distilled for you in a few pages. We think that after cooking from our new cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl Every Day, you might never make a soggy skillet stir fry again.

Get that wok hot. That’s one key.

Peanut oil is another.

Danny cooking stir fry

Get it all prepped. Make that wok hot. Cook the onions and ginger first. Push them aide.

Sear the beef. Push it aside.

And then stand back. If you have the confidence of Danny, flip those mushrooms high in that hot wok.

For the rest of us, push them around the wok with a metal spatula. Let them dance until they wilt and squeak.

in the wok

Seven or ten minutes later, it’s done. Lemongrass-infused flank steak with mushrooms and ginger.

beef stir fry

Time for dinner.

Every Friday, we’re showing you one of the dishes from our new cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl Every Day. If you’d like to cook along with us, make the dish this weekend. We’re happy to answer any questions or comments you have here, or on the Facebook fan page.

For those of you have the book, the recipe is on page 137.

For those you who don’t have the book yet? Well, we suggest you buy one!

15 comments on “Let’s Cook Together: Lemongrass Beef Stir Fry

    1. LB

      The peanut oil is just for flavor, I think. I use regular canola when cooking for friends with a peanut allergy…though any neutral oil with a high smoke point should work.

      1. Elizabeth

        Hey LB! I used to use canola too,until one day I was watching a youtube video on the healthiest way to make homemade salad dressing. The woman on the video mentioned in passing that canola oil is extremely healthy, but has a very low burn rate…after a certain heat it actually goes rancid! Manufactures actually deodorize the oil so us consumers won’t notice the off smell of the spoiled oil! Eek! Here’s the link to the video if you’re interested. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02A-RaQDlz0

  1. Jessica

    As it happens I made this last night and it was delicious, I added broccoli and shiitake mushrooms. As I did not have any peanut oil I used sunflower oil instead. Served it up with sticky black rice and yum!!! Will definitely be making this again.

  2. Samantha

    I was wondering what kind of wok you use. I know it’s probably been seasoned for years but the ones I’ve seen on Amazon seem to have a catch (i.e. the lid spontaneously shatters). I didn’t see one on your list and am interested in trying to make stir fries!

    1. Ginger

      Buy your wok from the wok shop in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Steel or cast iron. They have very good directions on seasoning it. If you have an electric stove or one with too few BTUs, get the iron one. The people there will sell you a great wok and accessories for a reasonable price.

  3. Sarah B.

    I made this delicious recipe a couple weeks ago. I bought a new wok and was even so excited to season it and get it all ready for cooking! I found I didn’t need to bash the lemongrass, though. It minced rather easily for me, so I went with it (never having used lemongrass before!!). I also couldn’t figure out how to cook the onions and ginger and get them to stay pushed aside!! They kept falling back into the middle of the wok. So… I ended up removing to them another dish so they wouldn’t burn, and added them back in after the meat was cooked. It still tasted scrumptious, and my four kids and husband raved about it. This recipe will definitely be on the menu again soon, and next time with mushrooms and broccoli. :-)

  4. Richard

    What a great recipe, thanks so much. I really love the taste and smell of lemongrass :) I may use coconut oil and marinate over night, to get that full flavor.

  5. Mallory

    I just got your book for my birthday! The first thing I made were the biscuits. THANK YOU for bringing tasty, fluffy biscuits back to my life!

    A question about the lemongrass…We don’t have access to any here in southeast ohio, can I substitute dried lemongrass or fresh lemon verbena? Thanks.

  6. Gwen

    I have bushels of lemongrass growing in my garden but I never knew what to do with it besides make tea. Thanks for the idea.