Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chinese Beef and Broccoli

This is a traditional dish found at most Chinese restaurants. It has been a favorite at our house forever, it seems. I have always loved Chinese cooking. My mother gave me my first wok when I was in college. After college, I attended some Chinese cooking classes through adult education at a community college. Then I bought my first Chinese cookbook through a cookbook book club. Jim Lee’s Chinese Cookbook has become my foundation and reference for Chinese cooking.
Since this is best served over my Foolproof Rice.
Canola oil spray
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 lb. boneless beef steak, sirloin tip or top round
2 slices fresh ginger root, shredded
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large bunch broccoli (2 – 4 heads)
1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. beef bouillon base
2 Tbsp. sherry
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup water

Season wok: Heat wok hot and dry. Coat with canola oil spray. Turn heat to very low while preparing ingredients.
Slice meat in thin strips across the grain. Set aside.
Peel and shred the ginger root. Peel and mince garlic. Set aside.
Wash broccoli and trim into spears as for recipe for Steamed Broccoli. Set aside.
Mix together sauce ingredients: sugar, cornstarch, bouillon, soy sauce, sherry, pepper and ¾ cup of water. Set aside.
Heat wok until hot. Add 1 Tbsp. of sesame oil and spread around. Add beef, ginger and garlic and stir fry until meat is lightly browned and juices are mostly evaporated. Empty beef to holding pan, scraping wok clean.
Heat wok until hot. Add 1 Tbsp. of sesame oil and spread around. Add broccoli and stir fry for three minutes. Add remaining ¼ cup water, cover and cook for four minutes. When done, broccoli should be bright jade green and tender enough to just pierce with a fork.
Add cooked meat to wok and stir fry a minute to warm it up.
Add sauce mixture to wok and stir until sauce thickens.
Turn heat to low, cover and cook two minutes more.
Serve over rice.
Serves: 4 – 6
Substitutions: If you have leftover roast beef, you can slice or shred it and add it after cooking the broccoli, just to reheat. Then you would fry the ginger and garlic with the broccoli.
I don’t always have fresh ginger or garlic cloves on hand. I have used ground ginger. Add 1 tsp. to the sauce mix. 1 Tbsp. minced garlic can be stir fried or add 1/8 tsp. granulated garlic to the sauce mix.
Sesame oil gives the best flavor. For a different flavor, substitute peanut oil. If you have neither of those, canola will do, it just won’t give much flavor.
Substitute ¼ cup of oyster sauce for the soy sauce to achieve another flavor.
If you don’t have any sherry, you can leave it out. Use it if you have it though, it gives a certain delicious flavor.
Beef bouillon base can be replaced by using hot water and dissolving a cube of beef bouillon. Or you can use 1 cup of beef broth, home made or canned.
Adding a dash or two of your favorite hot sauce to the sauce mixture will liven the flavor.
Julienned onions could be stir fried with the broccoli. Grated or ribbon cut carrot is a colorful addition also.

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