Stir-fried beef with Ginger and leek

Stir-frys are definitely my go-to on days I can’t be bothered to do something elaborate. Once you master the basics, you can apply it to any type of protein or vegetable and make it work for you. Just quickly breaking it down, you heat a wok or pan till almost at the smoking point, add oil, aromatics, protein, and vegetables, followed by sauces, garnish and serve. So easy! 

This stir-fry recipe utilises one of my favourite cuts of Portuguese beef here, vazia, with an umami-rich gingery and garlicky sauce. I love to use leeks with beef, but you can always substitute that element with whatever tickles your fancy. One great option for a meat protein replacement is smoked tofu. 


  • 120gm Portuguese vazia
  • 1 cup leek halved and sliced into 2-inch sections
  • 2 cloves minced garlic 
  • 1 thumb ginger finely sliced
  • ½ tbsp vegetable oil 
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce 
  • ½ tsp dark soy sauce
  • ½ tbsp Chinese cooking rice wine
  • ¼ tsp sesame oil 
  • ¼ tsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cornflour


Slice and marinade beef with cornflour, sesame oil and brown sugar. Set aside. 

Heat your wok; once it is starting to smoke lightly, add in your vegetable oil. When your oil is hot, it is ready for your ginger and garlic. Fry till lightly golden and the aroma wafts into your kitchen space, then add your marinated beef and stir until the beef colours. 

Next, add your leeks and stir until they are well mixed in with the beef but not yet wilted. It is time to add all your remaining sauces. One top tip here is to prepare the variety of sauces required in one bowl, so you have all the sauces ready to add quickly during the stir-fry. 

Now watch as the beef and leeks caramelise in all that luscious sauce. You’ll notice the sauce thickening. This is because of the corn flour utilised in the marination – it is a thickening element and we love it for that. I would stir around for five or so more minutes, not too much more so as not to overcook the beef and leek. 

Now garnish with the trifecta coriander, spring onions and fried shallots and dive in! This recipe serves one and can easily be doubled for two. I would say a stir-fry works best when done in smaller portions, so the maximum I would apply this recipe would be for four or, if you have to, six. 

Where to shop?

Some of you have written to ask me where I shop for my Asian ingredients. Here are my top four:


Formerly known as Go Dutch, this shop stocks most of what I need with a very good selection of Asian sauces, many Indonesian condiments and a frozen section with the likes of wonton wrappers and kaffir lime leaves. (R. Gomes Vinagre 13 Loja 2, 8600-315 Lagos)

Continente Modelo Lagos 

You will be able to find a decent selection of Asian sauces in the dry goods aisle and a variety of noodles too. (Urbanização Cerro das Mós 315 lote, 8600-571 Lagos)


From Asian noodles to sauces and other ingredients, the Asian section also does a really nice selection of Indian food items which you might enjoy. I also love that they always have fresh turmeric, chillies, pak choy, lemongrass and spring onions! (Lugar da Pedra Alçada – Ameijeira Verde, 8600-546 Lagos)

Asia Supermarket 

The nearest full-on Asian grocer is in Albufeira. They stock just about anything you will need for an Asian cook for Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian and even Malaysian dishes. (Beco da Felosa 33, 8200-182 Albufeira)

Joy Entry is a Malaysian home cook based in Lagos who is obsessed with the provocative, unapologetic flavours of South-East Asian cuisine 

Instagram: @thatasianhomecook 


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