Neil Perry's black pepper chilli beef and asparagus stir-fry

Neil Perry
Neil Perry's spring stir-fry.
Neil Perry's spring stir-fry. Photo: William Meppem

Asparagus season is in full swing, so make it a main player with dishes like asparagus salad and asparagus vinaigrette, or just cook it and dip it into hollandaise. It's really important to buy good quality local produce – not the imported variety – and support our farmers.


1 tsp potato flour

1 tbsp shao hsing rice wine

3 tsp soy sauce

250g beef fillet, thinly sliced

60ml fresh chicken stock

1 tsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp cornflour, dissolved in 1 tbsp water

3 tbsp vegetable oil

6 spears asparagus, cut ½-cm off stalks and sliced into 4cm lengths

½ small red onion, sliced

1 long fresh red chilli, sliced

1 long fresh green chilli, sliced

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tsp black peppercorns, toasted and crushed

1 large handful coriander sprigs


1. Mix the potato flour, shao hsing and 1 teaspoon of the soy sauce in a bowl. Add the beef and toss to coat, then marinate for 20 minutes.

2. Combine the remaining soy sauce with the chicken stock, oyster sauce and cornflour mixture in a bowl and set aside.

3. Heat a wok until smoking, then add half the vegetable oil and stir-fry the beef slices for 2-3 minutes or until browned. Remove the beef from the wok and set aside.

4. Heat the remaining oil in the wok and stir-fry the asparagus, onion, chilli, garlic and black pepper until fragrant.

5. Return the beef to the wok with the soy sauce-stock mixture and stir-fry for a few more minutes. Spoon onto a large platter and sprinkle with the coriander to serve.

Tip: I use asparagus a lot from October until just after Christmas, and it's a perfect addition to a Chinese dish. If you aren't a fan, substitute it with green beans or sliced zucchini. Turn this dish vegetarian by replacing the beef with firm tofu slices and the oyster sauce with hoisin.