Monday, 11 October 2004

Beef Stir-fry

It's one of those days, I've got some ingredients and am just too lazy to think on what to cook with it. So I have some Chinese cabbage, some beef and came to a stir fry recipe in the Chinese Cooking for Beginners by Huang Su-Huei. The preparation for the meat made me miss the butchers in Hong Kong where if you tell them to cut the beef for stir frying then they slice it oh so very thinly, almost paper thin actually. And because they're so thin, it only takes you a few minutes to cook them. Really nice. In this recipe, I suggest you use the 'premium' oyster sauce since they do taste a lot better than the regular ones.

I guess I cannot really recreate a Chinese restaurant-quality stir fry since you need a really hot stove for that. I don't know if you've seen the ones in their kitchens. It has a pedal at the bottom that as you press on it, spews out a blast of flame which actually sounds like a jet engine. You need great heat like that to quickly cook the outside and seal the juices inside of the food. It also imparts that smoky, a-tiny-bit-burnt smell and taste - I forgot how they call it in Chinese. For now, I have to make do with the 'high' setting of my electric stove.

Beef in Oyster Sauce with Vegetables

500 g  beef tenderloin or flank steak - sliced very thinly
1 Tbsp cooking wine or sherry
1 Tbsp water
1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup oil
500 g nappa cabbage (aka Chinese cabbage, pechay Baguio) or broccoli - cut into bite-sized pieces
2 green onions - cut into 1-inch pieces
9 slices of peeled fresh ginger root

3 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp cooking wine or sherry
4 Tbsp water
2 Tsp cornstarch
1 tsp sugar
dash of freshly ground black pepper
dash of sesame oil
  1. Mix cooking wine, soy sauce, cornstarch, and water. Add in sliced beef. Marinate for at least 1 hour.
  2. Precook vegetable. For nappa cabbage: heat wok and add 3 Tbsp oil; stir fry cabbage with 1/4 tsp salt until it becomes limp. For broccoli: steam for 2-3 minutes or until done. Remove to a serving dish. Set aside.
  3. Add 1 Tbsp oil to the marinated beef, mix well. Heat the wok and add the 1/3 cup oil. Stir fry beef until almost cooked. Remove from oil and set aside.
  4. Reheat wok and add 1 Tbsp oil; stir fry the green onions and ginger until fragrant.
  5. Add beef and sauce mixture. Turn heat to high and stir quickly to mix. Remove and place on top of the vegetable. Serve.

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