Crew’s Mess: Sesame Ginger Beef Stir-Fry

Oct 21, 2018 by Capt. John Wampler

Crew’s Mess: by Capt. John Wampler

One would think that stir-fry cooking dates back to China’s earliest history, but that’s not the case. Historians think that during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.) a bronze vessel was used for “stir-drying” grain and roasting tea leaves, but the wok did not obtain its current shape until the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and it was used mostly for boiling and steaming because only the wealthy could afford cooking oil. It wasn’t until the late Ming period, when wood and charcoal was very costly in the cities, that quick cooking became a necessity.

The stir-fry technique was brought to the West by early Chinese immigrants and has been used in non-Asian cuisine, like the Lomo Saltado recipe from Peru that I wrote about two years ago. The actual term “stir-fry,” however, did not even enter the lexicon of cooking until the 1945 release of How to Cook and Eat in Chinese, by Chao Yang Buwei.

This is a very simple and tasty recipe. I use either flank or flap for best results. The important thing to remember is to cut your thin strips of meat across the grain.

If you made the ponzu recipe from last month, use it to marinate the meat and for cooking. If not, use the recipe below for excellent results. Make sure your wok and oil are hot.

Sesame Ginger Beef Stir-Fry


12-ounce package of stir-fry noodles

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided

1 teaspoon sugar

1 pound beef flank steak, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 cup snow pea pods

2 tablespoons fresh ginger root, grated

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, optional



Prepare noodles according to package directions.

In a large bowl, combine cornstarch, vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and sugar.

Add thinly sliced beef and stir to coat with marinade. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes.

In a large wok or skillet, heat sesame oil over high heat.

Add beef and stir-fry for 5 minutes.

Add snow peas and ginger. Stir-fry for 3 minutes.

Add cooked noodles and remaining soy sauce, then continue to stir-fry for 2 more minutes.

Plate and serve with a white wine, such as a Riesling. Enjoy.

Capt. John Wampler ( has worked on yachts for more than 30 years. His recipes are casual enough for anyone to prepare. Comment at


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