Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Broccoli and beef in oyster sauce

Surprisingly, some of my friends say they aren't fond of Chinese food. I think it's one of the two greatest cuisines in the world - the other being Italian. One reason for their aversion is the prevalence of cheap takeaways - food that I am convinced Chinese people sell to us but would never eat themselves. They know what good food is.

Well, you don't have to get takeaways - Chinese food is as simple as Italian; it's mostly stir frying and you just need two or three basic condiments. My friend James complained about gloopy cornstarch - my recipe does use cornstarch, but in very moderate amounts, and I swear the resulting sauce is Not gloopy in any way.

So here's what you need:

1 pound broccoli (can be a bit more)
1/2 pound beef (for stir fry)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tea spoon chopped ginger
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
2 teaspoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon soy sauce
1.5 tablespoon oystersauce (+ 3 tablespoons of water) 
2 tablespoons sesame seed oil

(I added a lone yellow ball zucchini because it was lying forlornly on the counter. I also thought it might give the dish a nice splash of color!)

Take your beef and slice it into strips, if not sold that way. Any kind of beef will do, as long as it's not too tough and sinewy. Pour one tablespoon of the Shaoxing wine and add two teaspoons of cornstarch (don't be afraid!) Mix with your hand briefly and set aside. This should tenderize the meat a bit.

As always - chop up the ginger and garlic and make them sizzle in sesame seed oil. Turn the heat up as high as it will go, and briskly stir fry the beef. When it's half browned, add the vegetables.

Give it a good stir and toss, and pour in the wine.

Add a tiny bit of soy sauce. Just a little bit. Keep on stir frying over high heat. Wish I had a wok...

In a small bowl or cup, dissolve the 1.5 tablespoons of oyster sauce in twice as much water. Pour in and continue tossing and stirring until the broccoli are cooked but still retain a bit of crunch. If the sauce thickens too much (this might happen if you have a strong gas stove), just add a tablespoon of water at a time.

Immediately pour over a mound of freshly cooked rice, and serve.

Feeds two!


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