Stir-Fried Cumin-Scented Beef with Vegetables

This is a robust Hunan-style stir-fry of beef with cauliflower, carrots and tomatoes. The seasoning of cumin, garlic and red pepper flakes not only is wonderfully fragrant, but kicks it up a notch without taking it over the edge.

Nearly 4 years ago I blogged on this recipe and talked about the the “jau-yau” advanced Chinese stir-frying technique. It may seem like a heck of a lot of oil for only 15 seconds, but this process of bite-size pieces of beef “passing through oil” ensures that the ingredients will be more succulent and flavorful. And there is no denying, the meat is very tender and juicy.

Do yourself a favor and make sure to prep everything before you begin because you won’t have any extra time to do so between steps.

In this repeat process, I decided not to wash and clean the wok after removing the beef to a plate (the cooking oil was reserved for another use). The remaining tablespoon, along with any browned bits (which add  flavor) was enough to continue to Step 7, thus saving a bit of time. As before, we needed to more than double the amount of time to get the veggies crisp-tender from 2 to 5 minutes (it also may be the fact that I almost double the amount of vegetables).

Typically, we tend to favor stir-fries with more of a saucy base so I was a little skeptical. But we both loved the dish, and feel a sauce wasn’t at all necessary.


Stir-Fried Cumin-Scented Beef with Vegetables

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
  • Print


  • 12 oz. Flank Steak, cut into 2-inch wide strips with the grain, then cut against the grain into ¼ in wide strips
  • 1 Tbsp. Corn Starch
  • 1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
  • 2 tsp. Shao Hsing rice wine (or Dry Sherry)
  • 1 Tbsp. Peanut Oil
  • 1 ½ cups Canola Oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Garlic, Minced
  • ½ tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 cup Cauliflower Florets, cut into bit-sized pieces
  • ½ cup Carrots, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • ¾ tsp. Salt, divided
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • ½ cup Green Onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups Cooked White Rice


  1. Prepare steamed rice according to packaged directions.
  2. Combine the beef, corn starch, soy sauce, sherry, and peanut oil in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Heat the canola oil in a flat-bottomed wok over high heat until the oil is 280°F. Add the beef to the oil and spread it evenly in a single layer on the bottom of the wok. Cook until the outside surface of the beef is just starting to change color, about 15 seconds, and then remove the wok from the heat.
  4. Carefully extract the beef from the oil with a kitchen skimmer and place on a paper-towel-lined plate. Pour the oil into a large cup or bowl and set aside.
  5. Clean and thoroughly dry the wok and the return to the stove over high heat. (I omitted this step this time with no adverse affects.)
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved oil along with the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir fry for 20 seconds or until aromatic.
  7. Add the cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes, and ¼ teaspoon of the salt and stir fry 2-3 minutes.
  8. Add in the cumin and stir fry for 5 seconds. Return the beef to the wok and stir in the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and green onions. Stir fry for 30 seconds to 1 minute until beef is cooked through and ingredients are well combined.

    Serve with rice and enjoy!

Adapted from Grace Young’s cookbook “Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s