Sunday, March 16, 2014

Broccoli Beef with Mushrooms and Oyster Sauce

My earliest memory of Chinese food was my mother's mid-century version of Chop Suey, a dish not authentically Asian but certainly exotic compared to our standard family fare. Cans of Chun King noodles and bean sprouts might have been part of the mix... I've never requested her old recipe though it's probably stored in her kitchen, recorded on a 3x5 card in a battered file box.

Early married dining out memories include steaming bowls of Cashew Chicken, Chow Mein and Broccoli Beef served up at various Chinese restaurants around the Eastside. Then we ventured down the hot and spicy road to Szechuan dishes, savoring the flavors of Kung Pao Chicken, Hot and Sour Soup, and the like. Seattle's ever-growing wealth of Asian restaurants beckoned and it didn't take long to branch out and embrace Korean, Japanese, Thai and Pan-Asian Fusion cuisines.  

Today, for no particular reason, that old favorite Broccoli Beef came to mind as I planned the week's menus. Fridge and pantry held the necessary components but an updated recipe was elusive. I adjusted ingredients and combined techniques from a variety of print and on-line sources to come up with the recipe below. 

Success! We enjoyed the dish, though next time I will use less beef and more broccoli, perhaps add a handful of water chestnuts to increase the crunch factor. All in all, the taste compared well with the food memory and it was fun revisiting an old favorite.


Beef, Broccoli and Mushroom Stir Fry with Oyster Sauce
Serves 4 

For the beef & marinade:
         1 lb. flank steak or sirloin
         1 Tbs. cornstarch
         1/4 tsp. sugar
         1/8 tsp. baking soda
         2 Tbs. Chinese rice wine 
For the sauce:
         2 Tbs. oyster sauce
         2 Tbs. soy sauce 
         1 tsp. peanut oil (or sesame oil)
         1 tsp. cornstarch
         1/8 tsp. white pepper
         2 Tbs. Chinese rice wine
For the stir fry:
         2 cups small broccoli, florets & thinly sliced stalks
         3 Tbs. peanut oil (or other high-heat cooking oil), separated
         2 garlic cloves, whole but smashed with the side of a knife
         2 slices fresh ginger, smashed with the side of a
         1 small yellow onion, cut into 1-inch dice
         1 Tbs. Chinese rice wine 
  1 cup mushrooms, quartered or cut in thick slices
 Sesame seeds for topping (optional)

Marinate the beef: Slice the beef thinly across the grain into strips 3" x 1/4". Stir together cornstarch, sugar, baking soda and 2 Tbs. water in a medium bowl. Add the beef and stir until coated. Rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Mix the sauce: Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl; mix well and set aside.

Blanch the broccoli: add the broccoli florets and stem pieces to a pan of boiling water and blanch until barely tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, rinse under running cold water until cool; drain again thoroughly. Set aside.

Remove the beef from the bowl, pat dry with paper towels. Heat a large, deep sauté pan over high heat until very hot, add 2 Tbs. of the peanut oil and swirl to coat. Add beef and spread out into a single layer so the pieces don't touch. Stir-fry the first side undisturbed until it's just opaque, about 1 minute; flip and continue to cook until no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Lift the beef with a slotted spoon, place in a sieve placed over a bowl to drain.

Wipe pan with paper towels and reheat over high heat. Add 1 Tbs. oil and swirl to coat. Add garlic and ginger, stir-fry just until light golden brown, 15 to 20 seconds. With slotted spoon, remove garlic and ginger, discard. Add onion and mushrooms to pan, stir-fry until just tender, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Pour in the rice wine and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the pan bottom. When the wine has evaporated, add the sauce, stir and bring to a boil. Immediately add the cooked beef, broccoli and stir-fry until the sauce boils and thickens and the beef is heated through. Transfer to a warmed bowl, top with sesame seeds if using, and serve with rice or noodles.

1 comment:

  1. Beef Broccoli never looked this good at the restaurant! I'm trying this soon.


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