Chinese surf and turf

Chinese surf and turf

Chinese surf and turf

So, I’d just purchased a brand-new non-stick wok, and was trying hard to think of a recipe to test-drive it with.

A Chinese dish seemed to be the obvious starting point.

Seeing as Mrs. Paleovirtus and Paleovirtus Jr. would be sharing the meal, it couldn’t be anything that strayed too far towards Sichuan-style heat. Mild it is, then.

One of us wanted beef. One of us wanted fish. The teenager wanted “meh”, unsurprisingly enough.

“Hmmmm, I think I have an idea….”, I thought to myself, “It’s crazy, but it just might work…”

It did, actually!


Serves 2 – 3


  • approx. 350g good quality beef
  • approx. 200g cooked prawns, defrosted if frozen
  • a 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
  • approx. 6 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 green pepper, de-seeded and sliced into little finger wide strips
  • approx. 10 green asparagus spears, steamed until just tender, about 6 mins. or so, then cut into thirds
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely sliced on the diagonal
  • 5 spice powder
  • coconut oil
  • sesame seed oil
  • fish sauce


  • Trim the beef of excess fat. Cut across the grain into thin strips no longer or wider than your little finger.
  • Place the beef strips into a small bowl. Add about 2 tsp of sesame seed oil and a similar quantity of fish sauce. Mix well, and allow to marinade for about 15 minutes or so.
  • Heat up 2 tbsp of coconut oil in a non-stick wok to very high heat. Add half the garlic and ginger, and approx. 1 tsp 5 spice powder. Stir fry for a few seconds, then add the beef strips. Stir fry until they have just lost their raw, uncooked colour, about 2-3 minutes max. Remove from the wok, and set aside.
  • Clean the wok, then return to the heat. Heat up another 2 tbsp coconut oil. Add the remaining garlic and ginger, and 1 tsp five spice powder. Stir fry for a few seconds, then add the onion, celery, and green pepper. Stir fry until cooked but still crisp, about 3 minutes or so.
  • Return the beef to the wok and add the cooked prawns and the asparagus. Stir fry until warmed through, about 1 minute or so. Add a splash of fish sauce, stir well for a few seconds at most, then remove the wok from the heat.
  • Serve with either cauliflower rice, or courgette / squash / zucchini noodles.
Making the magic happen....

Making the magic happen….


Feel free to experiment wildly with this dish, especially with the vegetables used. Spring onions (scallions) would have been used instead of red onion for starters, if our local hypermarket would have had any in stock. Carrot batons would also work, for example.

If I hadn’t have been cooking for the less chilli-tolerant palates of my womenfolk, I certainly would have included a good old slug of fire-fruit in this dish, and no mistake.

You could also experiment with a sweet-and-sour sauce – something along the lines of freshly squeezed orange/lemon juice with an arrowroot thickener.


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