Top round steak comes from the hind quarter, an area of the steer that gets a lot of exercise. Consequently, a round steak tends to be lean and tough, and you usually stew or braise it in liquid for a long period of time to break down the collagen and tenderize it. However, when round steak is sliced thinly, its chewiness becomes less of an issue, so you can cook it with quicker dry methods such as frying. With thin cuts, top round steak does not require a tenderizing marinade, though you still might want to enhance the tenderness and flavor of your thin-cut top round by marinating it before you fry it.
Preparation and Handling
Pound the round steaks on both sides with a meat mallet.
Marinate the steaks for six to 12 hours with a marinade to tenderize the steak, if you want. Acidic or alcohol-based marinades, such as lime juice, lemon juice, Italian salad dressing, wine and beer, break down the tough collagen strands. Put the steaks in a sealable bag along with enough marinade to cover them. Put the steaks in the refrigerator and turn them often.
Remove the thinly sliced top round steaks from the refrigerator 15 minutes before you cook them.
Pat them dry with paper towels.
Preheat a skillet over high heat until it is hot enough to cause a drop of water to sizzle.
Swish the oil in the pan and let it heat for 20 to 30 seconds.
Place the steak on the skillet and sear it for 30 to 60 seconds.
Flip the steak over and sear the other side for 30 to 60 seconds. Be careful to not overcook thinly cut round steak; it is best when cooked rare or medium rare.
Remove the steaks from the pan and let them rest for five minutes before serving.
Slice the steak into 1/2-inch-wide, 2-inch-long strips.
Slice any vegetables you want to include in your stir fry into uniform bite-sized pieces.
Mince aromatics your recipe calls for, such as ginger and garlic.
Prepare your sauce according to your recipe or, if you prefer, use a bottled sauce. If you make your own sauce and will need to thicken it, prepare a thickening mixture by mixing 2 tbsp. cornstarch with 2 tbsp. cool water in a cup.
Preheat the wok or skillet over a high heat until it is scalding hot.
Pour in 2 tbsp. peanut oil and swish it around to cover the cooking surface.
Heat the oil for about 20 seconds.
Stir in the aromatics and fry them for 15 to 20 seconds, just until they start to brown.
Add the sliced round steak. Let it sizzle for about 10 seconds, then stir it. Continue frying and stirring until the outside of the steak is browned.
Transfer the steak to a plate.
Heat 2 tbsp. peanut oil in the wok and add the vegetables. Stir fry the vegetables for four or five minutes, stirring consistently, until they are tender-crisp.
Return the browned steak to the skillet or wok.
Stir the steak and vegetables for a minute or so until the meat is reheated.
Stir in the sauce and bring it to a boil. If you need to thicken the sauce, add the cornstarch mixture a small amount at a time, stirring constantly, until the sauce reaches the consistency you want.