This delicious celery leaves beef stir-fry dish features crispy French fries, and tender and savory beef with the intense aroma from celery leaves. If you try this dish, from now on you will never want to throw celery leaves away. The aroma and flavor from them are incredible. I will also share with you all my tips for making perfect fries. To me, homemade fries are the best.
Beef potato stir-fry (Bo xao khoai tay) is a common home-cooked meal in Vietnam. It’s also one of those dishes each family cooks differently. My favorite way to cook it is to make a crispy batch of french fries, stir-fry beef with aromatics such as onion and celery leaves, then top the fries with the beef. My housemates in London asked me to make this every week because it’s super easy yet tasty. The only special skill it requires is patience, and I will explain more in the post.
Ingredients to make celery leaves beef stir-fry with fries
The main ingredients in this recipe are beef, potatoes, celery leaves, leeks, and onion. Let’s start with celery leaves first. I guess many of you may wonder what the heck this is right? It’s just the leafy part on top of celery stalks. In the U.S., celery is often sold in bunch with little green leaf remaining. I always think this is so wasteful because the leaves are so flavorful with an intense aroma. They have the same scent and flavor as celery stalks but stronger.
I sometimes see some bunches of celery with a decent amount of leaves at my local grocery store. You can go to Asian/Vietnamese/Chinese grocery stores to get a celery bunch with plenty of leaves. The one at Asian grocery stores has thinner stalks, and the leaves have even stronger celery taste and smell. Below is the photo of celery leaves I took at my Vietnamese grocery store the other day. In Vietnam, we use celery leaves in stir-fry all the time. I seriously think you should give it a try if you haven’t.
As I already mentioned in my Thai basil beef stir-fry recipe, my favorite cut of beef for stir-fry is flank steak. It’s flavorful and easy to slice. I like using Yukon gold potatoes to make french fries. They are in between waxy and starchy potatoes, resulting in a great texture after I fry them. Please feel free to comment to let me know which type of potatoes you like to use for french fries so I can try them next time.
Cooking tips for making celery leaves beef stir-fry with fries
Do you remember at the beginning of this post, I said that the only special skill you need for this dish is patience? Here’s why: you need quite a lot of patience to cut potatoes into thin matchsticks with an even thickness (about 3/8-inch). We want them to cook uniformly. Next, you need to let them soak in water to get rid of excess starch. You will then need to give those cute potato matchsticks enough time to dry before you fry them.
Everybody loves crispy fries, and nobody likes soggy fries. Therefore, you will need to use a lot of oil in something like a wok, a wok-shaped pan or a deep heavy-bottomed pot. If not enough oil is used, the fries will absorb more oil and be soggy. Besides, you should fry them in small batch to ensure adequate temperature of oil and evenness of cooking. Yes, that takes time.
My final tip for crispy fries is to double fry them. This requires more cooking time, thus more patience. However, it’s totally worth it. Double frying will result in fries with a thick layer of crispy skin, and they will remain crispy for quite a while. I think we spent about an hour taking photos and the extra fries I made were still crispy when we finished.
For the beef, you should slice it thinly against the grain in a stir-fry dish. If your pan is small, stir-fry the beef in batch over medium high-high heat. It’s important not to overcrowd the pan. Celery leaves and leeks should be added at the end of the cooking process to retain their flavors as much as possible.
Though it can take a considerable amount of time to prepare and cook this dish, I think you won’t regret making it.