Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.
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Savory Beef Chow Fun!


This is really, really good. *_* Recipe by Ken Hom, whose stuff I really like. I've used his book Quick and Easy Chinese Cooking for several years. It appears to be out of print, but he's written many other cookbooks as well.

Ingredients:

1 lb flank steak
4 tsp. light soy sauce
1 tsp. rice wine or dry sherry,
    plus 1 tablespoon (separate use)
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cornstarch
3 tbs. peanut oil
2 tbs. fermented black beans
1 tbs. finely chopped ginger
2 tbs. finely chopped garlic
3 tbs. finely sliced scallions
1 onion, finely sliced
2 tsp. dark soy sauce
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 pound rice noodles ('rice stick')
2 tablespoons oyster sauce

Procedure:

1. Slice beef into very thin slices against the grain. Mix with 2 tsp. of the light soy sauce, 1 tsp of the rice wine, sesame oil, baking soda, and cornstarch. Let this mixture marinate for 20 minutes. During this time, you can prepare the seasonings and onions, and if you are using dry rice stick, soak it.

2. Heat a wok or deep fry pan until it is very hot. Add peanut oil and heat until it smokes. Fry the meat for about 3 minutes, searing the outside. Remove to separate plate.

3. There should be about 1 1/2 tbs. oil remaining in the wok; add or remove oil as necessary. Stir-fry the garlic, black beans, ginger, scallion, and onions for about a minute. Pour in the remaining rice wine, remaining light soy sauce, the dark soy sauce, and the chicken stock. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the rice noodles and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Spoon in the oyster sauce. Mix well, return beef to the mixture, and cook for another minute.

4. Turn the mixture onto a large platter and serve at once. Makes about 4 servings.

Nutritional data per serving: Calories 424; protein 30 g; carbohydrates 20 g; fat 24 g; cholesterol 49 mg; sodium 1306 mg.


Notes:
1. One of the keys here is good ingredients. While it's possible to get pretty good soy sauce, such as Kikkoman, in most US grocery stores, decent oyster sauce, which is one of the things that makes it 'savory', is difficult to find outside the Chinatown's of major cities. I think Lee Kum Lee Premium is the best oyster sauce available in the West, and AsiaFoods.com carries it.

2. While it's possible to find bad oyster sauce in US supermarkets, it's about impossible to find fermented black beans (also known as 'Preserved Black Bean') at all. Again, I got mine from AsiaFoods.com, 'Yang Jiang' brand, which I'm told is a very good brand. It's from the PRC. About US$3.50 a pound, which if kept in the refrigerator, should last a very long time. People tell me to rinse the beans before using. I also chopped them up fairly fine. Like hot peppers, they add necessary flavor, but you don't want to bite down on a whole one. They're pretty pungent.

3. The original recipe specifies 'fresh rice noodles'. Unless you live next to a Chinatown, these will be hard to find. I used dried rice stick, soaked in very hot water until softened but still firm, about 5 minutes, then drained. Rice stick is sometimes available in US supermarkets, but if not (my local Acme stopped carrying it), AsiaFoods.com has it. I bought Chao Ching brand. I have no idea whether different brands of rice stick differ in quality, but the brand I got seems fine.

4. The meat, when stir-fried, should be seared, very quickly. You don't want the pan's heat to fall so that the meat starts to exude juice, and winds up boiling rather than searing. You may need to do the meat in two or more smaller batches, re-heating the wok in between.

5. You may need to add more oil or chicken broth, if what you're cooking at the moment gets too dry. You will also need to adjust the heat some. I had to reduce the heat on my rangetop during the three-minute stir-fry of the spice/onion mixture, to prevent burning. Your mileage may vary, and every stove will be a little different. Watch the wok closely, and experiment until you find what works for you.

6. Preparation time from start to table was about 45 minutes.

I had made this dish before, but never with the proper ingredients, i.e., authentic fermented black beans, and really good quality oyster sauce. When cooked properly, it is stunning, and I can't recommend it enough. Try it!
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