sweet and spicy beef stir fry with homemade kimchi

This Sweet and Spicy Beef Stir Fry was gobbled up so fast, it was hard to even wait and snap at least one shot. Home made kimchi was made for a dish like this, if you can get your hands on some, your tastebuds will cheer. As we unpack our house and kitchen, and attempt to organize and create a functional space, the nourishment is often a quick throw together. The result is often better than something slaved over for hours. This honey laden, zippy sauce would go great with grilled chicken or a vegetarian version of the stir fry.

I have a question, what does stir fry mean to you?  To me, growing up, stir fry was pretty meh, not very exciting, and often soggy. (I love you mom, your cooking has gotten so much better over the years. ) Nowadays stir fry is just a common term I use for a flavourful,colourful, sexy dish of pretty much whatever’s in the fridge, yo. For those days when you get carried away creating, focused and slightly flustered stir fry is my go to.  With whatever seasonal delicious vegetables and a few key flavour combinations you can create a simple and fantastic stir fry in a flash.

Oh yeah, purple carrots! Closest thing you’ll ever get to a tye-died vegetable, technicolor wonderment indeed. But all hippie kaleidoscope lingo aside, purple carrots are how carrots should be, or at least how they used to be, until those crazy Dutch lovers of all things orange came along. The first domesticated carrots were white and purple, they still grow wild in Afganistan and some of the locals use them to make a charming carrot alcohol brew. Personally, I prefer my purple carrots sliced lengthwise to show their inner beauty, stir friend, roasted, grilled or just as is. They are an heirloom that just seems way cooler than plain old orange carrots.

My friend Aya makes amazing kimchi, she makes the best kimchi in all of the Kootenays, and she gave me a special korean chili powder so that I could make delicious kimchi like her. Fermented foods delight my inner child, they are magical, after all. Somehow, amidst delicious crunchy vegetables, lie invisible beneficial microbes who help to heal our beings on so many levels. You can read more about the magical and scientifically proven benefits of fermented foods here. I adapted my recipe from the one over at use real butter. Instead of water I wanted to add some extra umami by infusing kombu seaweed. Aya (kimchi specialist) informed me that no two Korean red pepper/chili powder are the same, I would make sure that their is no added MSG or pseudonyms, see this article for a list ingredients that have MSG. sweet  and spicy beef stir fry with kimchi

Sweet and Spicy Beef Stir Fry with Kimchi


    For the Sweet and Spicy Beef Stir Fry
  • 1-2 beef sirloin steaks
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 purple carrots or regular carrots, cut lenthwise into strips
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 head of napa cabbage or regular cabbage, cut into strips
  • a few kale leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbs coconut cream
  • 1 tsp chopped red hot chilis or hot sauce like sriracha
  • 1 Tbs tahini paste
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • black sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
  • green onion, for garnish (optional)
  • For the Kimchi
  • 5 lbs. napa cabbage, chopped into 1-inch portions
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup sweet rice flour or tapioca starch
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1-2 strips kombu seaweed
  • 2 tbsps coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, cut into medium chunks
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups korean coarse ground red pepper powder
  • 5 green onions, sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 cup leek, chopped (greens too)
  • 2 cups daikon radish, julienned
  • 1/4 cup carrot, julienned


    For the Sweet and Spicy Beef Stir Fry
  1. Heat sesame oil in a wok or skillet. Add onion and garlic and cook on high just until they start to turn golden, add carrots, pepper, cabbage and kale and stir continuously until cabbage and kale start to wilt significantly.
  2. Add your rice wine vinegar followed by the coconut cream, chilis or hot sauce, tahini paste and sea salt. Stir until well combined and bubbling.
  3. Lower the heat and cover for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  4. Heat a separate cast iron skillet or a grill for your steak. Dry off the steak and sprinkle with salt and pepper. When the pan or grill is nice and hot add the steak, without any oil, sear for 3 minutes each side for a medium rare steak or 4-5 minutes for well done. If your steak is thicker than 1 inch, you can turn the broiler on in your oven and pop it in for a few minutes after searing. Allow steak to rest and cool for a few minutes before slicing into thin strips. Add to the stir fry.
  5. Finish with a drizzle of honey, black sesame seeds and green onion slices
  6. For the Kimchi
  7. Using a very large vessel (a roasting pan works perfectly) add to it the chopped napa cabbage along and cover with purified water and sprinkle with the salt, creating a brine. Turn cabbage every 30 minutes, for a total of 90 minutes. Rinse cabbage in clean pure water 3 times, drain and set aside.
  8. Boil the 1 1/2 C of water with the kombu for 10 minutes. Remove kombu and add rice flour, if you are using tapioca, allow the infusion to cool before mixing in tapioca so that it doesn't clump. Mix in the sugar and red pepper chili powder.
  9. In a food processor or blender add garlic, onion, ginger and fish sauce and make a paste. Combine with the starch and chili paste, mixing in the carrots leeks and green onions. Add cabbage and mix well, until everything is thoroughly coated. Use gloves for this as the chili powder can stain easily.
  10. Press kimchi into airtight glass jars (you may need a few, this recipe makes 1 Gallon) leaving about 1 inch of space and make sure the liquid covers the top. Place a towel or plates under your jars to soak up any spillage and leave to ferment for 2-5 days. Make sure to open the kimchi jars twice a day to relieve the build up of pressure in the jars and push the kimchi back down. When it's ready depends on your personal preference, taste daily to see if you like the flavour/texture that has developed. Store in the refrigerator


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