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Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

Stir Fry is one of my favorite things to cook because there are so many combinations of ingredients you can use. It doesn't have to be the same boring vegetables with soy sauce. Even though I made stir fry with peanut sauce recently, this recipe ended up tasting totally different due to using steak instead of chicken. I also used cabbage instead of the more "typical" vegetables and altered the sauce a bit.

The other wonderful thing about stir fry is that it is so quick. I prepared all the ingredients the night before (steps 1-3), so it took me less than 15 minutes to cook everything today. The longest part was waiting for the rice to cook.

Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry

Some tips before you start:

  • If you are thinly slicing the steak yourself, it is easier to do so when it is half-frozen. When the steak is half-frozen, it is easy to make even, thin slices. Otherwise it gets tugged back and forth by the knife and I end up with slices thicker than I would like. This would be OK but they just might be a bit tough. I actually had to defrost my steak from the freezer, so I waited until it was half-defrosted, and sliced. If yours is not frozen, just place it in the freezer for 15 minutes and let it stiffen up a bit.
  • You can use canola oil if you don't have sesame oil.
  • Grate all the garlic and the ginger for the stir fry and the peanut sauce, and just use about ⅔ of the mixture for the peanut sauce and the rest for the stir fry. You'll need a total of 3 large cloves of garlic and a 2 x 1 inch piece of ginger.
  • Don't cook the cabbage for too long - 2 minutes before adding the carrots is enough. You want it to retain some crunch.

Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry

Makes 4 servings. Total cooking time: 30 minutes.

  • 1 pound sirloin steak, thinly sliced.
  • 1 small cabbage (green or savoy), about 1 lb
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • ½ tablespoon each grated garlic and ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives, toasted sesame seeds, or crushed peanuts (optional)
  • Rice or noodles for serving, cooked


  • Wok or a very large frying pan
  • Small grater/zester for the garlic and ginger

Peanut Sauce

Makes more than enough for the beef and cabbage, plus extra for pouring all over rice.

  • ½ cup smooth natural peanut butter
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)

1. Cook your rice or noodles according to the package.

2. Prepare the peanut sauce. Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk until the sauce is smooth. Go easy on it first otherwise the orange juice will splash all over the place as you try to stir the peanut butter in.

3. Prepare all the ingredients for the stir fry: Slice the onions, thinly slice the cabbage, and julienne the  carrots or cut them into thin strips. Grate the garlic and ginger.

4. Saute the onions in sesame oil for 2 minutes. Then throw in the minced ginger and garlic and give it a good stir.

5. Add the steak and sprinkle with salt. Stir fry for 5 minutes, or until the meat starts browning. If the steak is releasing too much liquid, carefully drain it and you should be able to brown the steak without all the liquid in the pan.

Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry

6. Once the steak is cooked, add the cabbage and stir it all together. It will seem like an impossible amount of cabbage at first, but it cooks down quickly... just keep stirring for about 2 minutes, taking care not to accidentally toss the cabbage overboard.

7. After 2 minutes add the carrots and stir to combine everything.

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8. Add the peanut sauce and stir to combine.

9. Sprinkle with chopped chives, or with crushed peanuts or toasted sesame seeds.

10. Serve with rice (or noodles), and make sure you spoon some of the extra sauce from the bottom of the pan onto your rice.

Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry

What stir fry vegetable and sauce combinations do you like?


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