This recipe contains an unlikely ingredient – a generous glug of Coca Cola - which adds a wonderful toothsome stickiness. Admittedly, Coke isn't the most wholesome of foods (even though I think it's one of the best tastes ever invented by man - sweet, acid, fizzy, zingy and totally addictive) but somehow it just makes this recipe. If you have time, let the beef strips soak in the marinade for an hour or so.
I serve this tucked into warmed split pitta breads, with a choice of crunchy fresh toppings: shredded lettuce, finely chopped spring onions, alfalfa sprouts and cucumber relish. Chopped coriander, parsley or mint will add extra pep.
Everybody-Loves-It Beef Stir-fry with Coca-Cola
For the marinade
2 T (30 ml) balsamic vinegar or rice vinegar
juice of one fat lemon
1/2 cup (125 ml) Coca-Cola
2 T (30 ml) dark soy sauce
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh garlic, finely grated or chopped
freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste
For the stir-fry
750 g lean beef, cut into slim strips
2 T (30 ml) sunflower or olive oil
2 T (30 ml) sesame seeds, raw or roasted
2 T (30 ml) smooth peanut butter
Put the beef strips into a shallow dish. Combine the marinade ingredients and pour over the beef strips. Toss well. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes (an hour would be better).
Drain the beef strips and reserve the marinade.
Put the oil into a wok or deep frying pan, set on a high flame and heat until the oil is smoking. Stir-fry the beef strips, in small batches, for just a few minutes, until lightly browned but not cooked through. Put the cooked beef onto a warmed plate while you stir-fry the rest. Tip any excess fat out of the wok and pour in the marinade. Turn up the heat and allow to bubble furiously for about 3-5 minutes. Add the peanut butter, stirring well to 'melt' it into the mixture. Now tip the cooked beef into the wok, stir well to coat the strips, turn down the heat and allow to bubble for a minute or so, or until the beef is cooked through but still tender. Stir in the sesame seeds and grind over plenty of black pepper. Check seasoning - you might need to add salt.
Serve in warm pitta breads.